At the end of October 2019 we began exploring what direction Book Club might take knowing that 2020 could be consumed by a national election. Our year of reading with Jenna Wolf would be coming to an end - a year of female authors from diverse backgrounds telling compelling stories that we had lively conversations about. Some of the texts would become our favorite reads in 2019. All 12 books fostered "a deeper sense of empathy not only between the pages of a book, but in each other and the greater community at large."
For 2020, we reached out to our friend, Alisa Braithwaite, a scholar, writer, and literature teacher to see if she would be interested in shaping Book Club knowing she co-founded the Humanities Workshop
, exploring pressing issues affecting our community through a humanist lens. We asked her what topics she felt might be relevant to the 2020 election year and she immediately responded, "Climate Change". We're thrilled to introduce you to former crochet instructor and 2020 gh Book Club leader: Alisa.
I’m very excited to be leading the Gather Here Book Club in 2020! I’ve worked as a scholar, writer, and teacher for the last twenty years, and throughout my career I have focused on authors who forced their way into the literary canon by representing the voices of those who had been silenced. More recently, I have turned my efforts to reasserting the importance of the humanities in the education of our children. While STEM fields may help children to solve problems, the humanities helps them to understand them. To that end, my colleague and I began The Humanities Workshop, a consortium of secondary schools that explores social justice issues through the lens of the humanities.
With this year’s book club I hope to feed three birds with one seed: get us thinking about perspectives that are not always privileged, remind us of the importance of the humanities (and literature in particular!) in fighting for social justice, and prepare us for the challenge of the upcoming election season. How will we receive all of this intellectual nourishment? Through a deep dive into the most pressing issue of our time: the climate crisis. Regardless of who wins in November, we are all still responsible for the future of our planet, the home my students will inherit. The books we read will not only make the urgency clear but also show why it matters from a variety of perspectives. This crisis is understood not just through the studies of white male scientists or the rhetoric of white male politicians. Rather, and more importantly, it is understood through all the rest of us in our daily lived experiences. We will begin this January with Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Elizabeth Kolbert and the reissue of her environmental classic Field Notes from a Catastrophe. Originally a series of articles in the New Yorker published in 2005, the book (which now has additional chapters from 2015) will act as our primer for understanding where we stand now.
I’m so looking forward to beginning this literary journey with you!
2020 Book Club will meet on the last Monday of the month (unless it's a holiday) at 6:30 PM. We kick off 2020 on Monday, January 27 at 6:30 PM. Join us.