The Fields Pond Book Group meets monthly on Thursday nights at 6:30 p.m. At press time, all meetings were still being conducted via Zoom, facilitated by professional librarian Joyce Rumery. Please contact Joyce directly at firstname.lastname@example.org to be added to the mailing list for the Zoom meeting links and any in-person meeting updates.
Here are the titles and synopses for September through November.
October 8, 2020
Heinrich, Bernd. White feathers, the nesting lives of tree swallows. 2020. 218 pages
Heinrich is sparked one early spring day by a question: Why does a pair of swallows in a nest-box close to his Maine cabin show an unvarying preference for white feathers— not easily available nearby—as nest lining? He notices, too, the extreme aggressiveness of “his” swallows toward some other swallows of their own kind. And he wonders, given swallows’ reputation for feistiness, at the extraordinary tameness and close contact he experiences with his nesting birds.
November 12, 2020
Gaudet, John. Papyrus: The Plant that Changed the World: From Ancient Egypt to Today’s Water Wars. 2014. 271 pages.
From ancient Pharaohs to 21st Century water wars, papyrus is a unique plant that is now the fastest growing plant species on earth. It produces its own “soil”—a peaty, matrix that floats on water—and inspired the fluted columns of the ancient Greeks. In ancient Egypt, the papyrus bounty from the Nile delta provided not just paper for record keeping—instrumental to the development of civilization—but food, fuel and boats. Disastrous weather in the 6th Century caused famines and plagues that almost wiped out civilization in the west, but it was papyrus to the rescue. Today, it is not just a curious relic of our ancient past, but a rescuing force for modern ecological and societal blight. In an ironic twist, Egypt is faced with enormous pollution loads that forces them to import food supplies, and yet papyrus is one of the most effective and efficient natural pollution filters known to man. Papyrus was the key in stemming the devastation to the Sea of Galilee and Jordan River from raging peat fires, and the papyrus laden shores of Lake Victoria—which provides water to more than 30 million people— will be crucial as the global drying of the climate continues.