Of Demons and Human Nature

MEETING LOCATION CHANGE: We now have a more permanent location for our book club! (Hooray!) Barnes and Noble Metro Center will be hosting us in their alcove, which is a nice, quiet, pleasant meeting space for us to have lively discussions. I hope you all enjoy this new venue and find it convenient!

In September we will be reading two authors, who fit the theme “Of Demons and Human Nature”: Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Tell-Tale Heart,” “The Cask of Amontillado,” and “The Pit and the Pendulum,” and Carl Sagan’s The Demon Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark.

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Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Tell-Tale Heart,” “The Cask of Amontillado,” and “The Pit and the Pendulum.”

"The Tell-Tale Heart" is a short story by Edgar Allan Poe first published in 1843. It follows an unnamed narrator who insists on his sanity after murdering an old man with a "vulture eye".

"The Pit and the Pendulum" is a short story written by Edgar Allan Poe and first published in 1842 in the literary annual The Gift: A Christmas and New Year's Present for 1843. The story is about the torments endured by a prisoner of the Spanish Inquisition, though Poe skews historical facts. The narrator of the story describes his experience of being tortured. The story is especially effective at inspiring fear in the reader because of its heavy focus on the senses, such as sound, emphasizing its reality, unlike many of Poe's stories which are aided by the supernatural.

"The Cask of Amontillado" (sometimes spelled "The Casque of Amontillado") is a short story by Edgar Allan Poe, first published in the November 1846 issue of Godey's Lady's Book.The story is set in a nameless Italian city in an unspecified year (possibly in the 18th century) and is about the narrator's deadly revenge on a friend whom he believes has insulted him. Like several of Poe's stories, and in keeping with the 19th-century fascination with the subject, the narrative revolves around a person being buried alive—in this case, by immurement.

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=145455054

 

Carl Sagan’s The Demon Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark

How can we make intelligent decisions about our increasingly technology-driven lives if we don't understand the difference between the myths of pseudoscience and the testable hypotheses of science? Pulitzer Prize-winning author and distinguished astronomer Carl Sagan argues that scientific thinking is critical not only to the pursuit of truth but to the very well-being of our democratic institutions.

Casting a wide net through history and culture, Sagan examines and authoritatively debunks such celebrated fallacies of the past as witchcraft, faith healing, demons, and UFOs. And yet, disturbingly, in today's so-called information age, pseudoscience is burgeoning with stories of alien abduction, channeling past lives, and communal hallucinations commanding growing attention and respect. As Sagan demonstrates with lucid eloquence, the siren song of unreason is not just a cultural wrong turn but a dangerous plunge into darkness that threatens our most basic freedoms.

http://www.npr.org/books/authors/138292614/carl-sagan

For additional viewing on Carl Sagan, please check out The Sagan Series on Youtube:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oY59wZdCDo0

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Reminder: We usually choose 2-3 books per month. You're welcome at our meeting whether you read all or none of the books. We read fiction, nonfiction, and plays, and usually try to cover 1 piece of classic literature monthly. We read books reviewed or mentioned on NPR, and try to mirror NPR's tone at our meetings: thoughtful, polite discussion & commentary, with no arguing or posturing, and no sacred cows or unmentioned elephants in the room.

Suggested Donation: $1, at the meeting. If you are able to make a $1 donation at the meeting, this is appreciated as it helps defray the monthly charge that Meetup.com applies to the group Organizer.

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  • Brenda C

    I really enjoyed my first experience with this group. Everyone was welcoming and we had intelligent discussion and discourse. I plan to be a regular.

    September 26, 2012

  • Judy

    A very interesting conversation witha variety of perspectives!

    September 23, 2012

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