Monthly Book Group at Couth Buzzard

By Dick Gillett

Would you like to know what a group of seniors in the Phinney Ridge area might be reading these days? Books on aging, right?

Dancing Fish and Ammonites coverWell, sure—books like Embracing Life, by David Goff, or The Healthy Aging Brain, by Louis Cozolino, a book that looks into the neuroscience of the brain (said to be readable for non-scientists), or Dancing Fish and Ammonites, by Penelope Lively.

On the second Wednesday of each month, the Phinney Village book group meets at 11am at Couth Buzzard Books (8310 Greenwood Avenue). Surrounded by cozy bookshelves and sipping coffee, the group meets for a little over an hour and instead of selecting a book to read together over a period of time, we go around the table and report on what we’re reading or what we’ve recently read. With 10 or 12 of us generally present, there’s enough time for a brief report from each person and questions or comments.  In March, this group will celebrate its first anniversary! As one who came aboard last April, I find myself astonished at the range and depth of books we are collectively reading.

"All the Light We Cannot See" book coverThis month, for example, Roger reported on a World War II historical novel, All the Light We Cannot See, by Anthony Doerr. This tale centers on a blind French girl and a German boy whose paths collide during the war years. Next, Don (a confessed “map nut”) reported on the book, Strange Maps: An Atlas of Cartographic Curiosities. One of the book’s global maps portrays countries’ sizes in proportion to the number of languages spoken there. Which place do you think would be the largest?* (You can likely guess the size of the U.S. )  In the brief discussion of this book, Terry asked a great question of the group: What will happen to our young people who navigate only by GPS?

Do you want serious history? In previous months, Marian reported on Indian Summer: The End of the British Empire by Alex Kunzelman and Terry reported on a book on Afghanistan under British rule. This month Tom reported on The Philosophical Breakfast Club by Laura J. Snyder. This book relates the story of four young students in the 19th century at England’s Cambridge University. Inspired by the philosopher Francis Bacon, they sought to promote the use of science for the public good and ended up designing the first mechanical computer.

"Strange Maps" book coverWe’ve also heard about books about books—and they’re more interesting than you might think. Marguerite reported on a book about the history of libraries, The Library at Night, leading to comments about Andrew Carnegie’s passion for building libraries, including a number of them here in Seattle. Don shared Bound in Venice, by Alessandro Marzo Magno, about the first book printed—only five centuries ago in Venice.

But lest the hour get too weighty intellectually, Marguerite offered Dial C for Chihuahua, a hilarious mystery by Waverly Curtis in which a Spanish-speaking Chihuahua detective shines a light on human foibles!

To learn more, you can email our convener, Nancy Spangler: nancyespangler@gmail.com.

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