American Library in Paris Book Group

Explorations at the Limits of our Knowledge

Tuesdays, 17h00–18h30 (Full)

This book group explores various corners of science and technology usually outside of our normal day-to-day concerns and activities. For the Spring of 2024 we will continue with five additional books on aspects on the outer edges of life sciences. The first book by Adam Frank leads off with a review of myths and facts about the state of our knowledge of the existence of alien life in the universe (or already on Earth?!). The next selection by Quinn Slobodian takes us into the deep,dark world of “off-shore” finance and how it is used by the wealthy and major corporations to avoid paying their fair share of taxes and other nefarious schemes.  The third topic explores what science tells us about free-will, with a book by Robert Sapolsky, who was on our list a while back with Behave. For our fourth book Thomas Halliday takes us on a paleontological  journey through our planet’s deep past, describing at each stop an unrecognizable earth, its denizens, and what happened to them. Our final selection by Matt Richtel interweaves cutting-edge science with the intimate stories of four individual patients as a means of explaining what’s known so far about the intricate biology of our immune systems. 

Led by Maurice Lanman and Laurie Calvet.

Reading List

  • The Experience Machine: How Our Minds Predict and Shape Reality by Andy Clark
  • Crack-Up Capitalism: Market Radicals and the Dream of a World Without Democracy by Quinn Slobodian
  • The Little Book of Aliens by Adam Frank  
  • Determined: A Science of Life without Free Will by Robert Sapolsky
  • Otherlands: A Journey Through Earth’s Extinct Worlds by Thomas Halliday
  • An Elegant Defense: The Extraordinary New Science of the Immune System by Matt Richtel

Meeting Dates

  • 16 January 
  • 20 February
  • 19 March
  • 23 April
  • 21 May
  • 25 June