June 2016: Leafing Through the Pages


Leafing Through the Pages, the members’ book discussion group of the Sterling Morton Library, has been flourishing since 2003. This current incarnation of a book discussion group at the Arboretum was launched with an exploratory meeting on March 13, 2003. At this first meeting, the attendees expressed interest in a monthly gathering to explore literature focused on the environment, gardens, plants and the land. Through the years, we’ve read, discussed and shared a rich bounty of authors, titles and ideas.

Sifting through our archival collections in pursuit of a different topic, I discovered the precursor to our contemporary group was a Nature Literature Group founded by May Theilgaard Watts. Meeting in the 1960s and 1970s, this earlier Arboretum discussion group read and discussed an equally rich series of authors including Isaac Asimov, Loren Eiseley,  Theilhard de Chardin and Aldo Leopold.

Sometimes as participants gather for Leafing Through the Pages, I like to think echoes, ideas, embers and energy swirl through our contemporary group from the past group led by Mrs. Watts. It also reminds me how through our discussions and explorations, the Arboretum and Library continue to be a place of knowledge, ideas, engagement, information and transformation.

Reading and Viewing Selections for 2016

January 14, 2016 – Millard, Candice. The River of Doubt : Theodore Roosevelt's darkest journey, 2005. [LTTP redux – previously discussed on September 13, 2007]

February 11, 2016 - Chasing Ice, 2012. (Documentary) Viewing will begin at 10:00 a.m.

March 10, 2016 – Aalto, Kathryn. The Natural World of Winnie-the-Pooh: a walk through the forest that inspired the Hundred Acre Wood, 2015.

April 14, 2016 - Hatch, Peter J. A Rich Spot of Earth : Thomas Jefferson's revolutionary garden at Monticello, 2012.

May 12, 2016 - Macdonald, Helen. H is for Hawk, 2014.

June 9, 2016 - Montgomery, Ben. Grandma Gatewood's Walk : the inspiring story of the woman who saved the Appalachian Trail, 2014.

July 14, 2016 - Abbey, Edward. Desert Solitaire : a season in the wilderness, 1968.

August 11, 2016 - Keating, Ann Durkin. Rising Up from Indian Country : the battle of Fort Dearborn and the birth of Chicago, 2012.

September 8, 2016 - Rebanks, James. The Shepherd's Life : modern dispatches from an ancient landscape, 2015.

October 13, 2016 - Muir, John. John Muir : Nature Writings: The Story of My Boyhood and Youth; My First Summer in the Sierra; The Mountains of California; Stickeen; Essays (Library of America), 1997.

November 10, 2016 - Stegner, Wallace. Angle of Repose, 1971.

December 8, 2016 – Herriot, James. All Things Bright and Beautiful, 1974.


PDF iconLeafing Through the Pages - Selections - 2003-2016 (PDF)


Quotations to ponder:

I have always imagined that Paradise will be a kind of library.

-- Jorge Luis Borges


Knowing that I loved my books, he furnished me,

From mine own library with volumes that

I prize above my dukedom.

— William Shakespeare, The Tempest


If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.

— Cicero


A good library will never be too neat, or too dusty, because somebody will always be in it, taking books off the shelves and staying up late reading them.

— Lemony Snicket


Books are a uniquely portable magic.

— Stephen King


Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested.

— Francis Bacon


Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read.

— Groucho Marx


Interested in joining?

The group meets the second Thursday of each month from 10:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. in the Sterling Morton Library. We’d welcome your interest and participation!