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Suggestions for our Oct. & Nov. non-fiction discussion 
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I have been reluctant in joining this thread for a couple of reasons. I know we all want something that will spark conversation and discussion, but some of the suggestions are so deep that I get a headache just thinking about them. Yes, feel free to call me stupid if you like. I know I probably should stay with the fiction section, but I know that they are "lighter" selections that we could discuss. For instance, biographies or something of the like.

I personally can not read anything on 9/11 due to personal reasons. I have a family member who had to clear out the bodies at Ground Zero. Everytime I hear anything about it, I remember his story and begin to cry. I can't begin to tell you how awful his story is.

With all that said, if it seems that I am whining little newbie then so be it. It's just my opinion.



Mon Sep 22, 2008 11:01 am
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I think there are some excellent options this quarter.

Here are my selections:

1. Roger Gottlieb's, Greener Faith: Religious Environmentalism and Our Planet's Future: Global in scope, addressing key philosophical, ethical, political, economic and religious dimensions of ecological sustainability; providing careful case studies and rich examples from multiple religious traditions and cultural contexts; offering a powerful critique of religious fundamentalism, global consumerism and nationalist militarism. A great mix of science and religion, ethics and social policy, environmentalism and industrial planning, every day choices and possible disasters, and a hopeful plea for change.

2. Ian McNeely's, Reinventing Knowledge: From Alexandria to the Internet : Looks like a very enjoyable read about, well, just about everything! A specialists expertise in any one area won't be required, and a great deal of knowledge about, well, knowledge will be explored. Interesting and engaging sweeping history covering most things that all of us can find intriguing.

3. Andrew Bacevich's, The Limits of Power: The End of American Exceptionalism : This guy is smart and able to tell the truth about American abuses in ways that avoid oversimplification and tired cliches. I saw him on Amy Goodman's Democracy Now and Bill Moyer's Journal...two excellent interviews that shake the fundamentals of our entire political, economic and military endeavors. Very much in the genre of Noam Chomsky, but without all that anti-Chomsky baggage.



Mon Sep 22, 2008 11:43 am
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Dissident Heart wrote:
I've suggested Booktalk read Gottlieb's "A Greener Faith: Religious Environmentalism and Our Planet's Future" in the past, and have found little success in getting much support for it. Actually, there was a time at Booktalk when to even suggest a book like Gottlieb's was anathema to the mission of the site....somewhere in the annals you can find how the contentious conversation unfolded. Still, I'm hoping to find a smattering of smart readers who are interested in a very fine piece of scholarship that, I think, engages the most important issues of our contemporary world...environmental ethics, economic practice, industrial planning and how to redirect the course of impending ecological devastation: with a central focus upon how religion can and does provide solutions...at least as far as religious environmentalism participates on the local and world stages. This book will not debate the existence of God, nor will it offer reasons for why God exists: it will offer multiple examples of how religious individuals and communities mobilize the transformation of their traditions and lifestyles into something more ecologically responsible and caring of the earth. It will not argue that one religion is better than the rest, or that all are the same: it will show ways that different religions are struggling to be more environmentally accountable and politically engaged in shaping saner ecological policies. All readers, religious or not, will be challenged to find new ways of living that reconnects individuals to communities and to their ecosystems...in more moral and, yes, even spiritual ways. The book is also a powerful critique of religious fundamentalism, corporate globalization, and blind consumerism... carefully identifying the ways in which these interconnected threats converge upon our lives and the planet in devastating ways. It is a book about solutions: showing countless examples from across the planet and from the many world religions where lives can change, practices can develop, and fundamental alteration to planetary damage can cease. I hope more are interested in the book. I think it will be worth all of our efforts to read it.

The question, out of all the excellent and interesting books suggested, is which would provoke the most interesting and useful conversation? The thing I like about A Greener Faith, as DH describes it, is that it provides a rationalist critique of religion but without the problem of atheism, which is that atheism has no theory of value. As well, A Greener Faith provides a basis to link the intellectual discussion to the problem of climate change. A Greener Faith gets my vote.



Mon Sep 22, 2008 4:44 pm
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As a practical matter, I'll probably participate only if one my suggestions is chosen. While that may sound picky, there are many books sitting on my bookshelf that I'm really eager to get through, and the bar is pretty high for any additional books.

The only other book I'd consider is The Limits of Power. This interview with the author makes me interested in reading more.



Tue Sep 23, 2008 8:45 am
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