BRIT Reads Book Club

If you love to read and you're passionate about botany, natural history, sustainability, and other similar topics, then join us the third Monday of each month for the BRIT Reads Book Club. This informal group meets from noon - 1 pm in the BRIT Library. Bring your lunch and bring a friend and come tell us what you thought about our book of the month. No time to read but still want to hear what people have to say about a particular book? No problem! We'd love to have you!

Program Information

Time: Third Monday of each month from noon to 1pm

Room: BRIT Library

Point of Contact

Brandy Watts

BRIT Librarian

If you love to read and you're passionate about botany, natural history, sustainability, and other similar topics, then join us the third Monday of each month for the BRIT Reads Book Club. This informal group meets from noon - 1 pm in the BRIT Library. Bring your lunch and bring a friend and come tell us what you thought about our book of the month. No time to read but still want to hear what people have to say about a particular book? No problem! We'd love to have you!

Upcoming Events

A River Runs Through It and Other Stories

by Norman Maclean

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"Altogether beautiful in the power of its feeling. . . . As beautiful as anything in Thoreau or Hemingway." Alfred Kazin Chicago Tribune Book World

When Norman Maclean sent the manuscript of A River Runs through It and Other Stories to New York publishers, he received a slew of rejections. One editor, so the story goes, replied, “it has trees in it.” Forty years later, the title novella is recognized as one of the great American tales of the twentieth century, and Maclean as one of the most beloved writers of our time. The finely distilled product of a long life of often surprising rapture—for fly-fishing, for the woods, for the interlocked beauty of life and art—A River Runs through It has established itself as a classic of the American West.  Based on Maclean’s own experiences as a young man, the book’s two novellas and short story are set in the small towns and mountains of western Montana. It is a world populated with drunks, loggers, card sharks, and whores, but also one rich in the pleasures of fly-fishing, logging, cribbage, and family. These superb tales express, in Maclean’s own words, “a little of the love I have for the earth as it goes by.”

Wilding: The Return of Nature to a British Farm

by Isabella Tree

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Longlisted for the 2019 Wainwright Golden Beer Book Prize for Nature Writing

“This must be the most inspirational nature book of the year . . . a narrative of conservation, courage, vision and miracles…”  Bel Mooney, 'The Year's Best Books on Nature' - Daily Mail

In Wilding, Isabella Tree tells the story of the ‘Knepp experiment’, a pioneering rewilding project in West Sussex, using free-roaming grazing animals to create new habitats for wildlife. Part gripping memoir, part fascinating account of the ecology of our countryside, Wilding is, above all, an inspiring story of hope.

Forced to accept that intensive farming on the heavy clay of their land at Knepp was economically unsustainable, Isabella Tree and her husband Charlie Burrell made a spectacular leap of faith: they decided to step back and let nature take over. Thanks to the introduction of free-roaming cattle, ponies, pigs and deer – proxies of the large animals that once roamed Britain – the 3,500 acre project has seen extraordinary increases in wildlife numbers and diversity in little over a decade.  Wilding is an astonishing account of the beauty and strength of nature, when it is given as much freedom as possible.

Bringing It to the Table: On Farming and Food

by Wendell Berry

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Drawn from over thirty years of work, this collection joins bestsellers The Omnivore's Dilemma, by Pollan, and Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, by Barbara Kingsolver, as essential reading for anyone who cares about what they eat. The essays address such concerns as: How does organic measure up against locally grown? What are the differences between small and large farms, and how does that affect what you put on your dinner table? What can you do to support sustainable agriculture?

 

Only a farmer could delve so deeply into the origins of food, and only a writer of Wendell Berry’s caliber could convey it with such conviction and eloquence. A progenitor of the slow food movement, Wendell Berry reminds us all to take the time to understand the basics of what we ingest. “Eating is an agriculture act,” he writes. Indeed, we are all players in the food economy. For the last five decades, Berry has embodied mindful eating through his land practices and his writing. In recognition of that influence, Michael Pollan here offers an introduction to this wonderful collection that is essential reading for anyone who cares about what they eat.

Darwin Comes to Town: How the Urban Jungle Drives Evolution

by Menno Schilthusizen

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“Not only is evolution a real thing… but some of the fastest, most interesting evolving occurs right under our noses, in our cities. In Darwin Comes to Town, Menno Schilthuizen explores the ways in which animals and plants have rapidly evolved to adapt to the opportunities and exigencies of urban niches. This is a fun, witty, thoroughly informative read.”
―Robert M. Sapolsky, New York Times bestselling author of Behave: The Biology of Humans at Our Best and Worst

Darwin Comes to Town draws on eye-popping examples of adaptation to share a stunning vision of urban evolution in which humans and wildlife co-exist in a unique harmony. It reveals that evolution can happen far more rapidly than Darwin dreamed, while providing a glimmer of hope that our race toward over population might not take the rest of nature down with us.

The Cast Iron Forest: A Natural and Cultural History of the North American Cross Timbers

by Richard V. Francaviglia

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Winner, Friends of the Dallas Public Library Award, Texas Institute of Letters, 2001

A complex mosaic of post oak and blackjack oak forests interspersed with prairies, the Cross Timbers covers a north-south belt of southern Kansas, eastern Oklahoma, and North Central Texas. Home to Native Americans over several thousand years, the Cross Timbers became a barrier to westward expansion in the nineteenth century, until roads and railroads opened it up to farmers and ranchers, coal miners, and modern city developers, all of whom changed its character in far-reaching ways.

This landmark book fully describes the natural environment of the Cross Timbers and the role that people have played in transforming the region. Richard Francaviglia opens with a natural history that discusses the region's geography and geology, vegetation, and climate. He then traces the interaction of people and the landscape, from the earliest Native American inhabitants and European explorers to the developers and residents of today's ever-expanding cities and suburbs. Many historical and contemporary maps and photographs illustrate the text.

The Paper Garden: An Artist Begins Her Life’s Work at 72

by Molly Peacock

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"Like collage itself, The Paper Garden is carefully layered--part fascinating biography . . . part gripping memoir, . . . accompanied by dozens of vivid photo reproductions. Beautifully written and rendered." – “Maclean’s”


Artist Mary Granville Delany (1700-1788) bloomed in her 70’s, when she embarked on her life’s work- -creating 985 life-size botanical prints now held by the British Museum.  Some consider her the first mixed media collage artist because she employed paint, paper, and flower parts.  Nothing like it had been seen before. As she tracks the extraordinary life of Mary Delany, internationally acclaimed poet Molly Peacock weaves in delicate parallels in her own life and, in doing so, creates a profound and beautiful examination of the nature of creativity and art. This gorgeously designed book, featuring thirty-five full-color illustrations, is to be devoured as voraciously as one of the court dinners it describes.  

Flower Confidential: The Good, the Bad, and the Beautiful in the Business of Flowers

by Amy Stewart

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“Engaging and scrupulously reported”  Constance Casey for The New York Times

Award-winning author Amy Stewart takes readers on an around-the-world, behind-the-scenes look at the flower industry and how it has sought—for better or worse—to achieve perfection.  Stewart traveled the world for a year to research the $40 billion dollar cut-flower industry. She tracks down the hybridizers, geneticists, farmers, and florists working to invent, manufacture, and sell flowers that are bigger, brighter, and sturdier than anything nature can provide.  At every turn she discovers the startling intersection of nature and technology, of sentiment and commerce. The author also raises environmental issues related to the trade, as well as the concerns of florists. 

Remarkable Creatures

by Tracy Chevalier

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“Chevalier admirably weaves historical figures and actual events into a compelling narrative.”
—San Francisco Chronicle 

Remarkable Creatures is a beautifully written book about two remarkable women, Mary Anning and Elizabeth Philpot. A fictional account based on real-life characters and events, Remarkable Creatures is set in the early 1800's in the coastal town of Lyme Regis, England.  Mary Anning, born in a poor family, was from an early age fascinated by the fossils that could then be picked up on the beaches.  Her discoveries of fossils leads to conflict with the religious authorities in town and friendship with Elizabeth Philpot, a woman of higher social class who is also fascinated by the fossils. Their relationship strikes a delicate balance between fierce loyalty, mutual appreciation, and barely suppressed envy. Ultimately, in the struggle to be recognized in the wider world, Mary and Elizabeth discover that friendship is their greatest ally.

The Lochsa Story: Land Ethics in the Bitterroot Mountains

By Bud Moore

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"Bud Moore's The Lochsa Story is epic. It's an autobiography, a history, and a manifesto; a massive work of nonfiction incorporating folklore and ecology." --Zach Dundas, Missoula Independent

This story chronicles the history of the Bitterroot Mountains, the preservation of forest landscapes, early Native Americans, the Lewis and Clark Trail, and Bud Moore's life as the last of the mountain men to live there and join the U.S. Forest Service. He became Head Ranger of Powell Ranger District, Chief of the Forest Service Region in Missoula, Montana, the leading authority on fire management and smoke-jumpers of the northwestern forests and the system of fire lookouts and fire suppression.   Moore is profoundly dedicated to the forest and all of the natural elements, including people, that make it whole. He believes anyone who works with the land must have a feel for it. "When in doubt, go slow," he advises. "Be humble. Learn from your mistakes."

Past Events