Called the work of "a mesmerizing storyteller with deep compassion and memorable prose" (Publishers Weekly) and the book that, "anyone interested in natural history, botany, protecting nature, or Native American culture will love," by Library Journal, Braiding Sweetgrass is poised to be a classic of nature writing. As a botanist, Robin Wall Kimmerer asks questions of nature with the tools of science. As a member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation, she embraces indigenous teachings that consider plants and animals to be our oldest teachers. Kimmerer brings these two lenses of knowledge together to take "us on a journey that is every bit as mythic as it is scientific, as sacred as it is historical, as clever as it is wise” (Elizabeth Gilbert). Drawing on her life as an indigenous scientist, a mother, and a woman, Kimmerer shows how other living beings offer us gifts and lessons, even if we’ve forgotten how to hear their voices.
2020-21: How to Be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi
"'The only way to undo racism is to consistently identify and describe it -- and then dismantle it.' Ibram X. Kendi's concept of antiracism reenergizes and reshapes the conversation about racial justice in America -- but even more fundamentally, points us toward liberating new ways of thinking about ourselves and each other. In How to Be an Antiracist, Kendi asks us to think about what an antiracist society might look like, and how we can play an active role in building it. In this book, Kendi weaves an electrifying combination of ethics, history, law, and science, bringing it all together with an engaging personal narrative of his own awakening to antiracism. How to Be an Antiracist is an essential work for anyone who wants to go beyond an awareness of racism to the next step: contributing to the formation of a truly just and equitable society." - Provided by publisher
In Marbles we see Ellen riding the “rollercoaster” of mania and depression and through the power of her illustrations, we are able to live it with her. How did you find the experience of living these major ups and major downs?
Did you appreciate the visual aspects of this book? Do you think the format of a graphic novel is more or less effective for a memoir than for a fictional account? How is it different than a memoir written in prose?
Does the book remind you of an aspect of your own life? A particular event? A person – like a friend, family member, co-worker, etc.?
Can you point to specific passages/panels that struck you personally? Why?
Did Marbles change your perspective on bipolar disorder and/or mental illness generally? If so, how? If not, why not?
Most of us have a mental image of what therapy IS in a normative sense. How did Marbles challenge (or reaffirm) your personal image of what therapy is supposed to look like?
Ellen spends a great deal of time exploring the connection between her art and her illness – in fact, it is in some ways the central theme of the book. What do you make of this exploration? Do you think there is a connection between great art and mental illness?
Ellen gave a powerful description of the long, lengthy, and expensive process of finding the best management for her bipolar disease. It is also clear that she is lucky to have strong family ties and sound financial standing. How might her story have been different if she weren’t in such a supported position?
Have you read other memoirs or stories about bipolar disorder (or mental illness generally)? How does Marbles compare to them?
Ellen has been accused of being an “oversharer” in reviews of this book. Do you agree? Why or why not?
Would you share Marbles with people in your life? Why or why not?