Oliver Wolcott Library
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About OWL

Non-Fiction Book Discussion Group


When:  Second Thursday of each month from 2:00 - 3:00 p.m. New members welcome! Come to one or all meetings. Books are available at the front desk.
Where:  The Jamie Gagarin Community Room & Gallery
Facilitated by:  Caitlin Costa ccosta@owlibrary.org

2017 - 2018  Selections

December 14, 2017 - Followed by holiday get-together
Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg
by Irin Carmon

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg never asked for fame—she was just trying to make the world a little better and a little freer. But along the way, the feminist pioneer's searing dissents and steely strength have inspired millions. A lawyer and journalist, Carmon takes you behind the myth for an intimate, irreverent look at the justice's life and work. As America struggles with the unfinished business of gender equality and civil rights, Ginsburg stays fierce. And if you don't know, now you know.
Moderated by Mary 

January 11, 2018 - Paired with Fiction Book Club title by Baldwin this month. 
The Fire Next Time  *Movie will be discussed too
by James Baldwin

Published in 1963, 100 years after the Emancipation Proclamation, these two “letters” gave voice to the civil rights movement. Evoking James Baldwin's early life in Harlem and examining racial injustice, the book is personal and provocative. The documentary film I Am Not Your Negro mines Baldwin’s books, essays, letters, notes, and interviews to examine the history of race in America.
Moderated by Audrey


February 8, 2018
A People’s History of the United States
by Howard Zinn

Historian Zinn tells American history from the bottom up, throwing out the history taught in schools—with its emphasis on great men in high places—to focus on the point of view of America's women, factory workers, African-Americans, Native Americans, the working poor, and immigrant laborers. Many of our country's greatest battles were carried out at the grassroots level.
Moderated by Jeff


March 8, 2018
Great Books: My Adventures with Homer, Rousseau, Woolf, and Other Indestructible Writers of the Western World
by David Denby

Great Books: At the age of 48, David Denby returned to Columbia University and re-enrolled in two core courses in Western civilization to confront the literary and philosophical masterpieces -- the "great books" -- now at the heart of the culture wars. He leads us through a rediscovery and celebration of such authors as Homer and Boccaccio, Locke and Nietzsche, Conrad and Woolf.
Moderated by Morgan


April 12, 2018
Strangers in Their Own Land
by Arlie Russell Hochschild

Subtitled “Anger and Mourning on the American Right”, the book describes why white Tea Party people in Louisiana have allied themselves with anti-government forces, though they need government regulation to save them from pollution. There is a lack of empathy for people of color, seen as getting ahead of them in the competition for resources.
Moderated by Frances 


May 10, 2018
The Screwtape Letters
by C. S. Lewis

This religious satire is a sly and ironic portrayal of human life and foibles from the vantage point of Screwtape, a highly placed assistant to “Our Father Below.” It is written in a satirical, epistolary style and while it is fictional in format, it is being read by the Non-Fiction book group because the plot and characters are used to address Christian theological issues, primarily those to do with temptation and resistance to it.
Moderated by Laura S


June 14, 2018 - Book selection for 2018-2019 and... 
The Zookeeper’s Wife  *Movie will be discussed too
by Diane Ackerman

The keepers of the Warsaw Zoo saved many people from Nazi hands. When Germany invaded Poland, bombers devastated Warsaw and the city's zoo along with it. With most animals dead, the zookeepers began smuggling Jews into empty cages or their own villa. The zookeeper’s wife kept her unusual household afloat with an atmosphere of innocence even as Europe crumbled.
Moderated by Marie


July 12, 2018 - Paired with Fiction Book Club title Bastard out of Carolina by Dorothy Allison this month.
Hillbilly Elegy
by Diane Ackerman

The book is subtitled “A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis.” J.D. Vance grew up in a poor Rust Belt town and looks at the struggles of America’s white working class. The decline of this group, disintegrating over 40 years, is written about from the inside: what a social, regional, and class decline feels like when you were born with it hung around your neck.
Moderated by Laurie F 






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