Everyone is welcome at the BBC. There is no membership process or fee. BBC gathers on the first Wednesday of January, March, May, September, and November at Spezia in midtown Omaha to share a Dutch-treat meal and lively discussion.
The BBC selections trend toward history and science and are chosen by consensus following four simple guidelines. The book must be recently published, available in paperback, and have received critical acclaim. The person nominating a book must have already read the book. Experts are sometimes invited to guide the discussion or provide background.
Recent history selections include, EVER CAUGHT, by Dr. Erica Armstrong Dunbar, a creative nonfiction account of George and Martha Washington’s pursuit to recapture a runaway slave; WILL OF THE WORLD, by Stephen Greenblatt, a study on the connections between the plays and sonnets and the historic events of the Elizabeth period; and BOMBER COMMAND, by Max Hastings, a historical account of the British air war over Germany in WWI.
Science books have often led to discussions of current events and policy. LAB GIRL, by Hope Jahren, is a story of botany but the author’s personal experiences provoked an engaged discussion about male dominance in science and the #metoo movement. Dr. Mary Ann Vinton, associate professor and director of environmental science at Creighton University led the discussion. THE INVENTION OF NATURE, by Andrea Wulf, a deep dive into the late nineteenth century of scientific exploration, led to a discussion about climate change.
THE MAP THAT CHANGED THE WORLD: WILLIAM SMITH AND THE BIRTH OF MODERN GEOLOGY, by Simon Winchester, garnered an extended discussion on scientific paradigms and the adequacy of contemporary science education. Dr. Robert Shuster, chairperson of UNO Geology provided background. RED: PASSION AND PATIENCE IN THE DESSERT, by Terry Tempest Williams, a field guide to the red rock country of Utah and the National Parks, raised issues about policy and the delicate balance between preservation and access.
The BBC was founded in 2009 as a quirky offshoot of the (now defunct) UNO Lifelong Learning Initiative as a way to link up mature readers with great books. The UNO College of Public Affairs and Community Service continues to endorse the BBC and provide website support for its operation. Founding members include Robert Runyon, retired dean, UNO library, and Melanie Kiper, community service specialist, Center for Public Affairs Research. Terry Haney, philanthropist and graduate of UNO, is a BBCer. Former members include the late Graham Lusk, MIT graduate and lover of the arts, and the late Loren Kruse, former state senator.
BBC is registered with The Bookworm where BBC members receive a 20% discount on selections. (BTW, The Bookworm has over 100 registered book clubs, including several in-house. If the selections or meeting times of the BBC do not work for you, check out other book clubs.)
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