Third Wednesdays, 7:30 to 9:00 p.m., Clara Barton Room

UUCM's Book Group always welcomes new members! Join us for thoughtful conversation about some of today's most intriguing books.

Book Group choices for 2016-2017:

October 19 - The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown

Daniel James Brown’s robust book that tells the story of the University of Washington’s 1936 eight-oar crew and their epic quest for an Olympic gold medal, a team that transformed the sport and grabbed the attention of millions of Americans. The sons of loggers, shipyard workers, and farmers, the boys defeated elite rivals first from eastern and British universities and finally the German crew rowing for Adolf Hitler in the Olympic games in Berlin, 1936.

The emotional heart of the story lies with one rower, Joe Rantz, a teenager without family or prospects, who rows not for glory, but to regain his shattered self-regard and to find a place he can call home. The crew is assembled by an enigmatic coach and mentored by a visionary, eccentric British boat builder, but it is their trust in each other that makes them a victorious team. They remind the country of what can be done when everyone quite literally pulls together—a perfect melding of commitment, determination, and optimism.  

This has been a popular book, so those who have read it or would like to are invited to join us for a thoughtful discussion.

November 16 - Better Living Through Criticism by A.O. Scott; discussion led by Nani Ranken

Few could explain, let alone seek out, a career in criticism. Yet what A.O. Scott, the New York Times film critic, shows in Better Living Through Criticism is that we are, in fact, all critics: because critical thinking informs almost every aspect of artistic creation, of civil action, of interpersonal life.

With penetrating insight and warm humor, Scott shows that while individual critics–himself included–can make mistakes and find flaws where they shouldn’t, criticism as a discipline is one of the noblest, most creative, and urgent activities of modern existence.

Using his own film criticism as a starting point–everything from his infamous dismissal of the international blockbuster The Avengers to his intense affection for Pixar’s animated Ratatouille–Scott expands outward, easily guiding readers through the complexities of Rilke and Shelley, the origins of Chuck Berry and the Rolling Stones, the power of Marina Abramovich and "Ode on a Grecian Urn."

Drawing on the long tradition of criticism from Aristotle to Susan Sontag, Scott shows that real criticism was and always will be the breath of fresh air that allows true creativity to thrive. “The time for criticism is always now,” Scott explains, “because the imperative to think clearly, to insist on the necessary balance of reason and passion, never goes away.”

December - No meeting

January 18 - The UnAmericans by Molly Antopol

February 15 - Circling the Sun by Paula McLain

March 15 - Bad Dirt: Wyoming Stories 2 by Annie Proulx

April 19 - The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

Questions?  Email Nani Ranken.