Wednesdays, October 18, November 19, January 18
Driggs Branch, 6:30 p.m.
Explores the what ifs, whys, and why nots of science and technology from a humanities perspective. Join us to read and discuss the personal, social, environmental, and ethical implications of our modern advancements.
Registration is required. Books and theme materials will be available the second week of September at both library branches. You can also register at Alta Branch Library. Please include your email address if you would like to receive reminders.
Mama’s Last Hug is a fascinating exploration of the rich emotional lives of animals, beginning with Mama, a chimpanzee matriarch who formed a deep bond with biologist Jan van Hooff. Her story and others like it—from dogs “adopting” the injuries of their companions, to rats helping fellow rats in distress, to elephants revisiting the bones of their loved ones—show that humans are not the only species with the capacity for love, hate, empathy, and other emotions. Frans de Waal opens our hearts and minds to the many ways in which humans and other animals are connected.
Wednesday, November 19: Klara and the Sun, Kazuo Ishiguro
Here is the story of Klara, an Artificial Friend with outstanding observational qualities, who, from her place in the store, watches carefully the behavior of those who come in to browse, and of those who pass on the street outside. She remains hopeful that a customer will soon choose her. Klara and the Sun is a thrilling book that offers a look at our changing world through the eyes of an unforgettable narrator. Readers will end up grappling with questions about automation, empathy, caregiving, love and whether a person can be effectively replaced by a machine. What responsibility will humans have for the “well-being” of these machines? Readers might forever think differently about the word “robot.”
Suzanne Simard, a pioneer on the frontier of plant communication and intelligence, brings us into her world, the intimate world of the trees, in which she brilliantly illuminates the fascinating and vital truths of how trees, living side by side for hundreds of years, have evolved, how they learn and adapt their behaviors, recognize neighbors, compete and cooperate with one another with sophistication, characteristics ascribed to human intelligence, traits that are the essence of civil societies–and at the center of it all, the Mother Trees: the mysterious, powerful forces that connect and sustain the others that surround them. As Simard writes of her scientific quest, she writes of her own journey, making us understand how deeply human scientific inquiry exists beyond data and technology, that it is about understanding who we are and our place in the world.
Let’s Talk About It brings together humanities scholars and adult readers in public libraries to read and discuss fine literature which explores topics such as American values, history, and culture. Program participants expand their reading interests, meet new people, and explore important cultural issues in the context of their own lives and the lives of others. Program speakers are educators or experts in various humanities fields. These scholars enjoy meeting avid readers in Idaho’s communities while gaining new perspectives on literature that helps them enrich their teaching and research.
This program is brought to you by your local library in partnership with Alta Branch Library and the following organizations: