Join SPARK Museum’s Book Club to discuss some of the most fascinating inquiries into the world and its mysteries as we experience them. We believe that at the heart of science is inspiration and curiosity and reading is one of the most enriching and enlightening ways to engage with new ideas, reacquaint ourselves with the past, and inspire us to move into the future as change-makers.
The SPARK Book Club will meet virtually, and explore a variety of science related themes, including stories about the people, the discoveries, the struggles, and the life-changing innovations that brought us to today’s modern world. Book Club discussions take place quarterly giving you plenty of time to really dive into the reading list this year. The meetings will be an opportunity for community members to join together in a virtual space to discuss the quarter’s book. You are welcome to join one or all the discussions and participation is free but registration for discussions is required.
2021 Reading List
The Human Cosmos: Civilization and the Stars
By Jo Marchant
Jo Marchant’s spellbinding parade of the ways different cultures celebrated the majesty and mysteries of the night sky is a journey to the most awe inspiring view you can ever see – looking up on a clear dark night. That experience and the thoughts it has engendered have radically shaped human civilization across millennia. The cosmos is the source of our greatest creativity in art, in science, in life.
Virtual Discussion: Wednesday, June 23rd, 6:00 pm – 7:30 pm
The Invention of Miracles: Language, Power, and Alexander Graham Bell’s Quest to End Deafness
By Katie Booth
The Invention of Miracles is an astonishingly revisionist biography of an American icon, revealing the extraordinary true genesis of the telephone and its connection to another, far more troubling legacy of Bell’s: his efforts to stamp out American Sign Language. Weaving together a dazzling tale of innovation with a moving love story, the book offers a heartbreaking look at how heroes can become villains and an enthralling account of the deaf community’s fight to reclaim a once-forbidden language.
Virtual Discussion: Wednesday, September 22nd, 6:00 pm – 7:30 pm
Registration will be available soon
Brilliant: The Evolution of Artificial Light
By Jane Brox
Brilliant is a haunting evocation of human lives, offers a sweeping view of a surprisingly revealing aspect of human history – from the stone lamps of the Pleistocene to the LEDs embedded in fabrics of the future. Jane Brox plumbs the class implications of light – who had it, who didn’t – through the many centuries when crude lamps and tallow candles constricted waking hours. She convincingly portrays the hell-bent pursuit of whale oil as the first time the human desire for light thrust us toward an environmental tipping point. Only decades later, gas street lights opened up the evening hours to leisure, which changed the ways we live and sleep and the world’s ecosystems.
Virtual Discussion: Wednesday, December 15th, 6:00 pm – 7:30 pm
Registration will be available soon
The Alchemy of Us: How Humans and Matter Transformed One Another
Ainissa Ramirez examines eight inventions – clocks, steel rails, copper communication cables, photographic film, light bulbs, hard disks, scientific labware, and silicon chips – and reveals how they shaped the human experience. Ramirez tells the stories of the woman who sold time, the inventor who inspired Edison, and the hotheaded undertaker whose invention pointed the way to the computer. She describes, among other things, how our pursuit of precision in timepieces changed how we sleep; how the railroad helped commercialize Christmas; and how a young chemist exposed the use of Polaroid’s cameras to create passbooks to track black citizens in apartheid South Africa.
Virtual Discussion: Wednesday, March 24th, 6:00 pm – 7:30 pm
Where to Buy the Books.
We always recommend buying books from independent book sellers. The links above will take you to Village Books in Bellingham, Washington. If you purchase through them you also support SPARK! You could also purchase through Amazon Smile and support a non-profit of your choice.
Who Can Join?
This book club is open to anyone interested in joining! Our reading selection is curated for adults but teens are welcome to join! This club is probably not the best for children. More questions? Contact us!
Stay Up to date!
Sign up for our Newsletter to stay up to date on upcoming discussion dates. Also, make sure to register for the discussions you are interested in attending to get the reminder e-mail and some amazing book club exclusive content!