Book Club Report

July 2020 book club information

Tuesday, July 14 | 7:00pm

BOOK: The End of Policing by Alex Vitale

DOCUMENTARY FILM: I’m Not Your Negro narrated by Samuel L. Jackson about the history of racism in the US, inspired by James Baldwin’s unfinished manuscript Remember this House (93 min)

FEATURE FILM: Just Mercy free on Amazon

PODCAST: The Wilderness podcast: Season 2 Episodes 5 & 6

May 2020 Book Club

Our book pick for our MAY 12 online discussion is “The Great Influenza: The Story of the Deadliest Pandemic in History” by John M. Barry.  This decision was arrived at through your input in our new survey.  However, we will discuss only Parts I through V ending at page 228.  We will leave the balance for June.  Despite its length Erik assures us that a hefty reference section accounts for many of the pages.


Simultaneously we would like to watch a DOCUMENTARY: "Influenza 1918”   It is 51 minutes long and can be found on PBS


We would also like to listen to “THE WILDERNESS" and start with Season 2, THE STAKES

Let’s listen to at least one podcast to determine its usefulness and our interest.  This can be ascertained in our survey that will be conducted for our June reading/ watching / listening choices.  Personally I found the podcast on the Southeast and Stacey Abrams especially interesting.  Coincidently there was also a piece in the NY Times on April 20 “Stacey Abrams Knows the Secret to Winning the White House.”  Please contact Andree Boyer with questions:

April 2020 Book Club

The April book club meeting was held virtually via Zoom.

March 2020 Book Club - CANCELLED

The March 10 Book Club meeting has been cancelled due to concerns around the COVID-19 coronavirus.

The Book Club will meet March 10 at 7 p.m. at The Bottlehouse Brewing Company, to continue our discussion of  "DESK 88: EIGHT PROGRESSIVE SENATORS WHO CHANGED AMERICA" by SHERROD BROWN  (our US Senator!)

Book Club leader Andree Boyer shared this recent interesting encounter: 
Friday evening Sherrod Brown, his wife, Connie, his brother and sister-in-law were seated at the table next to ours in Michelson & Morley restaurant in the Student Center at Case University. I was bold enough to introduce myself on behalf of the Lakewood Democratic Club and in particular our Book Club and told them that we enjoyed “Desk 88” so much that we will be continuing our discussion of it at our March meeting. Connie said hearing that “made his day.” I also complimented her on her recent interview of author and former US Ambassador to the UN, Samantha Powers, on her book “The Education of an Idealist: A Memoir." 

January 2020 Book Club

No Book Club meeting in December.

The Book Club met Tuesday, January14 at 7 p.m. at The Bottlehouse Brewing Company, 13368 Madison, Lakewood, OH.  (Backup location is, as usual, Panera's on Detroit Avenue in Lakewood.) 


"Winners Take All: The Elite Charade of Changing the World by Anand Giridharadas (Goodreads Author)

is our book pick for January 2020.  (Published August 28, 2018) Here is info from Goodreads about our pick.  Below that please see the other books suggested and that we may want to consider for February.

"Blowout Corrupted Democracy" by Rachel Maddon

"A Warning" by Anonymous

"Desk 88: Eight Progressive Senators Who Changed America" by Sherrod Brown

"The Only Woman in the Room" by Marie Benedict



November Book Club - TALKING TO STRANGERS: What We Should Know about the People We Don't Know by Malcolm Gladwell

The Lakewood Dems Book Club 

"TALKING TO STRANGERS: What We Should Know about the People We Don't Know" by Malcolm Gladwell is our book pick for November.

We will meet TUESDAY, NOVEMBER  12 at 7 p.m. at The Bottlehouse Brewing Company, 13368 Madison, Lakewood, OH.  (Backup location is, as usual, Panera's on Detroit Avenue in Lakewood.

All are welcome! Please bring suggestions for future reads.

Review from GoodReads


In July 2015, a young black woman named Sandra Bland was pulled over for a minor traffic violation in rural Texas. Minutes later she was arrested and jailed. Three days later, she committed suicide in her cell. What went wrong? Talking to Strangers is all about what happens when we encounter people we don't know, why it often goes awry, and what it says about us.

How do we make sense of the unfamiliar? Why are we so bad at judging someone, reading a face, or detecting a lie? Why do we so often fail to 'get' other people?

October Book Club is “This is America: The Case for the Nation” by Jill Lepore



We met TUESDAY, OCTOBER 8, 2019 at 7:30 p.m. at The Bottlehouse Brewing Company,

13368 Madison, Lakewood, OH, 44107 (Back up location is Panera’s on Detroit Avene).

At a time of much despair over the future of liberal democracy, Jill Lepore makes a stirring case for the nation in This America, a follow-up to her much-celebrated history of the United States, These Truths.

With dangerous forms of nationalism on the rise, Lepore, a Harvard historian and New Yorker staff writer, repudiates nationalism here by explaining its long history—and the history of the idea of the nation itself—while calling for a “new Americanism”: a generous patriotism that requires an honest reckoning with America’s past.

Lepore begins her argument with a primer on the origins of nations, explaining how liberalism, the nation-state, and liberal nationalism, developed together. Illiberal nationalism, however, emerged in the United States after the Civil War—resulting in the failure of Reconstruction, the rise of Jim Crow, and the restriction of immigration. Much of American history, Lepore argues, has been a battle between these two forms of nationalism, liberal and illiberal, all the way down to the nation’s latest, bitter struggles over immigration.






September Book Club: "The Hidden Life of Trees" by Peter Wohlleben

September 10, 2019 -- Lakewood Dems Book Club Meeting


"THE HIDDEN LIFE OF TREES" by Peter Wohlleben Is our choice for September 10 discussion.  

We meet at The Bottle House Brewing Company, 13368 Madison, in Lakewood at 7 p.m.
(Backup location is Panera's on Detroit in Lakewood.)


Opinion of Timothy Egan in the NYT June 8, 2018:  ".....And the winning argument here is simple: Trees are a vast source of wealth. A single national forest, the 1.7-million-acre Mount Baker-Snoqualmie east of Seattle, may be worth more in total value than the annual revenue of Amazon, the world’s largest online retailer, according to a recent study by the Wilderness Society.  ....   The clean water, timber, cultural and recreation opportunities of this one forest deliver more economic value than all of the failing American coal industry. The entire outdoor recreation sector generates at least $373 billion in gross domestic product, more than the gas, oil and mining industry, the government reported this year.    ....   The president is a fossil fool. but beyond that he has never taken the view that extends to the world that Ivanka’s grandchildren will inherit. His bias for dirty 19th-century energy is based on pleasing a coal industry that has gone from employing 883,000 people in the 1920s to barely 50,000 now. If the free-market philosophy were still the bedrock principle of governing Republicans, coal would be left to the creative destruction of capitalism."

From Goodreads:

"The Hidden Life of Trees: What They Feel, How They Communicate – Discoveries from a Secret World

(The Mysteries of Nature Series #1)


Peter Wohlleben


Tim Flannery (Foreword)

Jane Billinghurst (Goodreads Author) (Translator)

Suzanne Simard

 4.06  ·   Rating details ·  22,894 ratings  ·  3,329 reviews

In The Hidden Life of Trees, Peter Wohlleben shares his deep love of woods and forests and explains the amazing processes of life, death, and regeneration he has observed in the woodland and the amazing scientific processes behind the wonders of which we are blissfully unaware. Much like human families, tree parents live together with their children, communicate with them, ...more "

August Book Club: "Humans: A Brief History of How We F*cked It All Up" by Tom Phillips

AUGUST 13, 2019 -- Lakewood Dems Book Club Meeting

For our Tuesday, August 13 meeting we will discuss  "HUMANS: A BRIEF HISTORY OF HOW WE F*CKED IT ALL UP" by Tom Phillips.

Goodreads assigns it over 4 stars.  Hopefully it will provide a little comic relief!

We will meet at The Bottlehouse Brewing Company, 13368 Madison, in Lakewood at 7 p.m.  (Backup location is Panera's on Detroit in Lakewood).


Also please bring suggestions for future reads.

Future meeting book club dates: 

Tuesday, Sept. 10

Tuesday, Oct. 8

Tuesday, Nov. 12

Tuesday, Dec. 10

July 2019 - The Warmth of Other Suns

For our Tuesday, July 9 meeting we continued discussing  "THE WARMTH OF OTHER SUNS" by Isabel Wilkerson.


Judge Gayle Williams-Byer agreed to join us.


The Bottlehouse Brewing Company, 13368 Madison, in Lakewood at 7 p.m.  (Backup location is Panera's on Detroit in Lakewood)

In June we met to discuss Parts One, Two and Three of the book; this discussion will cover Parts Four and Five, Epilogue, documentation, etc.


June Update

We all  — new and original book club members — were glad to discuss the very important issues raised in “The Common Good” by Robert Reich on May 15 when we met. 

Come join us to discuss “Thanks, Obama” by David Litt on Tuesday, June 12 from 7 PM to 9 PM.  We meet at the Bottle House Brewery and Mead Company at 13368 Madison Ave., Lakewood, Ohio 44107


This memoir was featured at the recent book signing right here in Cleveland at Happy Dogs Cafe.  We look forward to another engaging discussion.  All are welcome.

About the book:

More than any other presidency, Barack Obama’s eight years in the White House were defined by young people – twenty-somethings who didn’t have much experience in politics (or anything else, for that matter), yet suddenly found themselves in the most high-stakes office building on earth. David Litt was one of those twenty-somethings [and] he became one of the youngest White House speechwriters in history.

With nearly a decade of stories to tell, Litt makes clear that politics is completely, hopelessly absurd.  But it’s also important. He remains a believer in the words that first drew him to the Obama campaign: “People who love this country can change it.”

Book Report: Fire and Fury

Lakewood Democrats Book Club met Monday, March 5th at Panera on Detroit.  An enthusiastic discussion followed on the current book, Fire and Fury by Michael Wolf.  

This month’s book provided a look inside the Trump White House during the first 100 days.  The author painted a picture of what it was like based on input from people working there.   Some members found this to be an easy read with extraordinary details about past news items.  The discussion covering the first half of the book continued for two hours.  


Sampling of discussion topics:

The book did not provide new learning but rather insight about daily events.

We discussed the potential impact of reality TV and celebrity worship on future elections.

Some were astonished to learn that a transition team was lacking.

Loyalty seemed to be the only qualification for obtaining high level appointments.

Chaos seemed to rule day due to several camps competing for the president’s attention and overall lack of coordination.

One member expressed concern about policy exposure from mass exodus of talent the first year.

Someone expressed surprise at the typographical errors the book contained in the rush to publish.

A few members were optimistic that Mueller investigation will result in additional indictments.

One member was surprised by the lack of repercussion based on continuing accusations fielded towards this administration.

Democrats must act on this opportunity to highlight what we stand for.  Stop playing defense and go on the offensive to gain seats.

One member was dismayed at the president’s admiration for unethical practices.

Some were concerned about the potential for future election interference by Russian Bots and anonymous social media attacks.

The group concluded that it may take a generation to dig out of the mess left behind.

The best use of information learned by this reading is to keep reinforcing that this is not normal.

Suggestion for a new book was Yes We Still Can to focus on ways Democrats can fight back.

Book Report: Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow

The Lakewood Democratic Book Club met on Monday February 5, 2018 at 6:30 p.m. to discuss the book “Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow.” The following is a synopsis of that discussion.


Unlike other authors we have read, Yuval Noah Harari does not particularly advocate saving our planet per se.  Rather he warns about the very real possibility of the destruction of the human race and possibly of all organic life forms. He argues we are oblivious to the dangers big data increasingly pose. Both artificial intelligence and biotechnology use the same underlying mathematical algorithms.  This could he argues “collapse(s) the barrier between animals and machines”.   Their merger could spell our doom.


The  majority of us really liked the book because again it was an eye-opener. The author was invited to lecture and to participate in panel discussions at the recent World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland so it would seem he is on to something important.


Two of us did not like the book at all and refused to finish it.   We all agreed that this was a very uncomfortable even upsetting book.


Two of us prepared long lists of quotes to discuss but, of course, we only got to a few of those.  For instance, from Chapter 8 (The Time Bomb in the Laboratory) discussion of over reliance on artificial intelligence.  Ïn the twenty-first century we might witness the creation of a massive new unworking class:  people devoid of any economic, political or even artistic value, who contribute nothing to the prosperity, power and glory of society.  This useless ‘class' will not merely be unemployed — it will be unemployable” and from Chapter 3 (The Human Spark) “Corporations, money and nations exist only in our imaginations.  We invented them to serve us; why do we find ourselves sacrificing our lives in their service?"  triggered a discussion about the value, the distribution, and the nature of work. What will be its place in the future?  Why work?  Why is work so precious?  One of us mentioned that the notion of a guaranteed living stipend already exists.  


Technology is supposed to serve mankind.  Technology is not being used to democratize the social good.  Why are we slaves to technology?  Our economy is driven by growth. We need to manage growth.  We are not correcting quickly enough.   We perceive efficiency as a positive component of our society, but is it?  From Chapter 3 (The Human Spark)  "It is dangerous to trust our future to market forces, because these forces do what’s good for the market rather than what’s good for humankind or for the world.”


(Chapter 11, The Data Religion) reminded us of the possible perils that the indiscriminate use of the internet of all things and our eagerness to share our health status, our likes and dislikes on all components of our lives from trivial to life changing on Facebook and other social media could very well bring about.   "Present-day democratic structures just cannot collect and process the relevant data fast enough and most voters don’t understand biology and cybernetics well enough to form any pertinent opinions.” “The algorithms know the underlying neurological reasons of how a person will vote.”  (Chapter 8, Time Bomb in the Laboratory) ”The shifting of authority from humans to algorithms is happening all around us, not as a result of some momentous governmental decision, but due to a flood of mundane personal choices.”


A comment was made to the effect that this would appear to be a logical consequence of the warnings in “The All New Don’t Think of an Elephant” by George Lakoff, that we have already read and which was written, according to the author,  specifically for Democrats to help them cope with the faster and faster changing world in which we live.


Our next book is “Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House” by Michael Wolff.  We will meet twice to allow people enough time to get through the book and so more people can attend.


Part I Discussion on Monday, March 5 at 6:30 p.m. at Panera’s, 14701 Detroit Avenue, Lakewood


Part 2 Discussion on Tuesday, March 20 at 7:00 p.m. at Bottle House Brewing Company, 13368 Madison Avenue, Lakewood

February Update

Hello Fellow Readers,

  1. This is a reminder that we will be meeting (finally!) Tuesday, February 5 at The Bottle House Brewing Company at 6:30 p.m. to talk about "Homo Deus A Brief History of Tomorrow" by Yuval Noah Harari.  It seems like we picked a very significant book!

  2. Please suggest titles for our future reading Agenda at the meeting.


Also, in the unlikely event the  Bottle House is closed as it was once before we will go across the street to the café on the north east corner.

I hope you have all enjoyed the holidays.  I am looking forward to seeing you.

- Andree Boyer, Book Club chair

Book Club report: The Sixth Extinction

By Andree Boyer

This is hard to write.
I was distraught.  
One of us bravely documented some of the information.
One of us described the book as traumatizing and was counting on meeting.
Strangely enough the book wasn’t hard to read.  The knock out punch delivered in the final pages is our collective indifference.   Devastating.

We did indeed meet to discuss "The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History" by Elizabeth Kolbert on November 6th at the noisy Woodstock cafe across the street from The Bottle House Brewing Company, our usual venue.  The latter was unexpectedly closed.

This book is a well documented work by an adventurous knowledgeable journalist about the 5 global extinctions geologists and other scientists recognize and about the 6th one we are collectively hell bent on bring about.  Her purpose is "to convey”— the excitement (!?!)— as well as the horror" of what we are doing  — namely, “IN PUSHING OTHER SPECIES TO EXTINCTION, HUMANITY IS BUSY SAWING OFF THE LIMB ON WHICH IT PERCHES.”  (She quotes Stamford ecologist Paul Ehrlicih from a sign in the Hall of Biodiversity).

Even as we learn at a faster and faster pace we are simultaneously destroying ecosystem after ecosystem that supports life, and let me be clear, selfishly, human life.

Perhaps most disturbing is the objective almost detached way the author presents this material based on her information and interactions with experts as she joined them scuba diving, mountain climbing, even exploring suburban creeks in New Jersey.

Fortunately one of our readers reminds us "Isn’t the whole point of trying to peer into the future so that, seeing dangers ahead, we can change course to avoid them?

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Contact Us 

PO Box 771263

Lakewood, OH 44107

Club meetings are on the LAST Thursday of the month 

The Women's Club Pavilion

Lakewood Park 14532 Lake Avenue
Doors Open - 6:30pm

Program/Meeting - 7:00pm

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