What we're about

"The South Florida Social Science 'social' Book Group" will focus on reading and discussing works of non-fiction from the disciplines of: history, political science, economics, philosophy, law, religion, and anything else that's thought provoking that remotely touches upon the gambit of the social sciences. For the past two years, I have successfully organized a meetup group dedicated to a fun yet rigorous discussion of literature, ("The South Florida Libation and Literature Book Group") which has brought together a diverse group of individuals with eclectic interests whom otherwise would not have met but for their love of literature. The group has met on a consistent basis, and has never had a lapse in its monthly meetings. For the past year, members within the group, and people outside it have expressed the desire to create something similar that will focus on works of non-fiction. For a long time, I was hoping someone else would start this type of group, but seeing as there is a paucity of intellectual dialogue within the social settings of South Florida, I am making it my mission to start one.

The group will meet at "The Filling Station" and will hold meetings every other month. I will pick the book for the first meeting and facilitate the discussion, but UNLIKE my other book club, the members will vote at each meeting on what to group will read and discuss at the next meeting. The member whose proposal gets the most votes will facilitate the following discussion. (Since it is South Florida, I know people are not always best with commitments, therefore, I will always have something prepared to fall back on to facilitate in a member's stead if they cannot make it the following month for whatever reasons.) Some of my members in my other book group may be a bit surprised that I am ceding control like this, but this group is meant to be different. It is meant to be more egalitarian and the members will ultimately benefit from the diversity in the discussion that will spawn from each respective facilitator.

Meetings will likely last for about two hours, and since libation will be flowing (I for one always partake) the discussion will likely at some point veer off from the facilitator's preparation, which always makes things more lively. However, out of respect for that session's facilitator, they can redirect the group back to their prepared remarks if they wish. Above all else, this group is about having fun, the joy of reading, and exposing people to non-fiction and ideas that they would not likely come across during their day to day routines. Unlike other groups, members sometimes leave feeling like they wish they could have contributed more, but one person spoke the entire time. We will make sure that a member will never leave without saying everything they wanted to about a given topic. I hope you consider joining us!

Upcoming events (4)

Discuss “American Psycho” Brett Easton Ellis

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In American Psycho, Bret Easton Ellis imaginatively explores the incomprehensible depths of madness and captures the insanity of violence in our time or any other. Patrick Bateman moves among the young and trendy in 1980s Manhattan. Young, handsome, and well educated, Bateman earns his fortune on Wall Street by day while spending his nights in ways we cannot begin to fathom. Expressing his true self through torture and murder, Bateman prefigures an apocalyptic horror that no society could bear to confront.

Discuss “Mystic River” by Dennis Lehane

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When they were children, Sean Devine, Jimmy Marcus, and Dave Boyle were friends. But then a strange car pulled up to their street. One boy got into the car, two did not, and something terrible happened -- something that ended their friendship and changed all three boys forever.

Twenty-five years later, Sean is a homicide detective. Jimmy is an ex-con who owns a corner store. And Dave is trying to hold his marriage together and keep his demons at bay -- demons that urge him to do terrible things. When Jimmy's daughter is found murdered, Sean is assigned to the case. His investigation brings him into conflict with Jimmy, who finds his old criminal impulses tempt him to solve the crime with brutal justice. And then there is Dave, who came home the night Jimmy's daughter died covered in someone else's blood.

A tense and unnerving psychological thriller, Mystic River is also an epic novel of love and loyalty, faith and family, in which people irrevocably marked by the past find themselves on a collision course with the darkest truths of their own hidden selves.

Discuss “Mystic River” Dennis Lehane

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Discuss “The Pioneers” By David McCullough

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As part of the Treaty of Paris, in which Great Britain recognized the new United States of America, Britain ceded the land that comprised the immense Northwest Territory, a wilderness empire northwest of the Ohio River containing the future states of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, and Wisconsin. A Massachusetts minister named Manasseh Cutler was instrumental in opening this vast territory to veterans of the Revolutionary War and their families for settlement. Included in the Northwest Ordinance were three remarkable conditions: freedom of religion, free universal education, and most importantly, the prohibition of slavery. In 1788 the first band of pioneers set out from New England for the Northwest Territory under the leadership of Revolutionary War veteran General Rufus Putnam. They settled in what is now Marietta on the banks of the Ohio River.

McCullough tells the story through five major characters: Cutler and Putnam; Cutler’s son Ephraim; and two other men, one a carpenter turned architect, and the other a physician who became a prominent pioneer in American science. “With clarity and incisiveness, [McCullough] details the experience of a brave and broad-minded band of people who crossed raging rivers, chopped down forests, plowed miles of land, suffered incalculable hardships, and braved a lonely frontier to forge a new American ideal” ( The Providence Journal).

Drawn in great part from a rare and all-but-unknown collection of diaries and letters by the key figures, The Pioneers is a uniquely American story of people whose ambition and courage led them to remarkable accomplishments. “A tale of uplift” ( The New York Times Book Review), this is a quintessentially American story, written with David McCullough’s signature narrative energy.

Past events (37)

Discuss “The Sportswriter” Richard Ford

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Photos (10)