There is a non-fiction reading group that meets monthly (mostly) on the first Monday of each month. For Sept. 11th, we have chosen “Why Does the World Exist?: An Existential Detective Story” by Jim Holt.
“Why is there a world rather than nothing at all?” remains the darkest and most enduring of all metaphysical mysteries. Following in the footsteps of Christopher Hitchens, Roger Penrose, and even Stephen Hawking, Jim Holt now enters this fractious debate with his lively and deeply informed narrative that traces the latest efforts to grasp the origins of the universe. The slyly humorous Holt takes on the role of cosmological detective, suggesting that we might have been too narrow in limiting our suspects to Yahweh vs. the Big Bang. Tracking down an eccentric Oxford philosopher, a Physics Nobel Laureate, a French Buddhist monk who lived with the Dalai Lama, and John Updike just before he died, Holt pursues unexplored angles to this cosmic puzzle. As he pieces together a solution–one that sheds new light on the question of God and the meaning of existence–he offers brisk philosophical asides on time and eternity, consciousness, and the arithmetic of nothingness.
In the past, the group has read a wide variety of non-fiction titles, ranging from science (Brief answers to the Big Questions by Steven Hawking), the natural world (What It’s Like to Be a Bird by David Allen Sibley, An Elephant in my Kitchen by Francoise Malby-Anthony), memoirs (Educated by Tara Westover, Becoming by Michelle Obama), and social issues (Caste, the Origins of Our Discontents by Isabel Wilkerson, and This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate by Naomi Klein).
If you are interested in joining the group, contact email@example.com and we will add you to the distribution list for voting and the Zoom link for the meeting. All are welcome.
Those involved in the group are sent a list of books with descriptions for consideration in future discussions. We have multiple votes that can be used all for one book or spread out among several. The book with the highest number of votes is chosen.