Content Detail

Leafing Through the Pages meets on the second Thursday of every month from 10:00 a.m. until noon. (Please note: The December 2024 discussion will be held on December 5th.) This group explores works of fiction and non-fiction relating to natural history, ecology, and gardens. Participants are encouraged to read each month’s selection prior to the gathering to fully share in the discussion. (For a full discussion history, please click here).

If you would like more information about Leafing Through the Pages, contact Rita Hassert at or 630-719-2430.

2023 Discussion List

January 12, 2023 – Burnett, Frances Hodgson. The Secret Garden (1911) AND Unearthing the Secret Garden: the Plants and Places That Inspired Frances Hodgson Burnett by Marta McDowell, 2021. Note: Meeting via Zoom

February 9, 2023 – Sheldrake, Merlin. Entangled Life: How Fungi Make Our Worlds, Change Our Minds and Shape Our Futures (2020) AND the following articles by Andrew Hipp, senior scientist in plant systematics and Herbarium director:

March 9, 2023 – Simard, Suzanne. Finding the Mother Tree: Discovering the Wisdom of the Forest (2021) AND the following article by Kim Shearer, curator of collections and manager of new plant development:

April 13, 2023 – The Biggest Little Farm, 2018. (Film – viewing and discussion)

May 11, 2023 – Yong, Ed. An Immense World: How Animal Senses Reveal the Hidden Realms Around Us, 2022.

June 8, 2023 – Sciolino, Elaine. The Seine: the River that Made Paris, 2020.

July 13, 2023 – Attenborough, David. A Life on Our Planet: My Witness Statement and a Vision for the Future, 2020.

August 10, 2023 – Montgomery, Sy. The Soul of an Octopus: a Surprising Exploration into the Wonder of Consciousness, 2015.

September 14, 2023 – Weidensaul, Scott. A World on the Wing: the Global Odyssey of Migratory Birds, 2021.

October 12, 2023 – Wohlleben, Peter. The Heartbeat of Trees: Embracing Our Ancient Bond with Forests and Nature, 2019.

November 9, 2023 – Isaacson, Walter. The Code Breaker: Jennifer Doudna, Gene Editing, and the Future of the Human Race, 2021.

December 14, 2023 – Winn, Raynor. The Salt Path, 2018.


2024 Discussion List

January 11, 2024 – De Gracia, Naira. The Last Cold Place: a field season studying penguins in Antarctica, 2023.

February 8, 2024 – McDowell, Marta. Gardening Can Be Murder: how poisonous poppies, sinister shovels, and grim gardens have inspired mystery writers, 2023. Note: Meeting via Zoom

March 14, 2024 – Cooper, Christian. Better Living Through Birding: notes from a Black man in the natural world, 2023.

April 11, 2024 – The Gardener, 2018. (Film – viewing and discussion)

May 9, 2024 – Dungy, Camille T. Soil: the story of a Black mother’s garden, 2023.

June 13, 2024 – Sevigny, Melissa L. Brave the Wild River: the untold story of two women who mapped the botany of the Grand Canyon, 2023.

July 11, 2024 – King, Dean. Guardians of the Valley: John Muir and the friendship that saved Yosemite, 2023.

August 8, 2024 – Buck, Rinker. Life on the Mississippi: an epic American adventure, 2022.

September 12, 2024 – Ackerman, Jennifer. What an Owl Knows: the new science of the world’s most enigmatic birds, 2023.

October 10, 2024 – Kimmerer, Robin Wall. Gathering Moss: a natural and cultural history of mosses, 2003.

November 14, 2024 – Dykman, Sara. Bicycling with Butterflies: my 10,201-mile journey following the monarch migration, 2021.

December 5, 2024 – Poetry Cabaret – At this gathering, each participant is invited to share a nature-related poem. Note: date change.


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