A book club can have several goals at once, including the social aspect of getting together with others in a relaxed setting and the focused activity of discussing various elements of a particular book that everyone in the group has (mostly) read. A recent survey by BookBrowse of over 5,500 individuals engaged in book clubs across the country reported that survey responders highlighted both the value of discussion focused on the chosen book AND the social nature of the group. This year, we plan to choose books that can connect us to the natural world around us, inviting a shared experience. For the upcoming session of our yearlong CHWB Book Club, join Dr. Annette Kelly, an avid reader and founder and recently retired Board President of Neighbors Network, who aims to help you do both!
For our March selection, we will be reading “Vesper Flights” by Helen Macdonald. To kick off our conversation, we are pleased to also welcome Dr. Daisy Fiore, the Education Coordinator at the Birds of Prey Center, and a special feathered friend!
“Vesper Flights” has been called a transcendent collection of essays about the human relationship to the natural world. Author Helen Macdonald brings together a collection of her best loved essays, along with new pieces on topics ranging from nostalgia for a vanishing countryside to the tribulations of farming ostriches to her own private vespers while trying to fall asleep. Meditating on notions of captivity and freedom, immigration and flight, Macdonald invites us into her most intimate experiences: observing songbirds from the Empire State Building as they migrate through the Tribute of Light, watching tens of thousands of cranes in Hungary, seeking the last golden orioles in Suffolk’s poplar forests. She writes with heart-tugging clarity about wild boar, swifts, mushroom hunting, migraines, the strangeness of birds’ nests, and the unexpected guidance and comfort we find when watching wildlife. By one of this century’s most important and insightful nature writers, “Vesper Flights” is a captivating and foundational book about observation, fascination, time, memory, love and loss and how we make sense of the world around us.
Special Note: Participants are asked to borrow or purchase the featured book prior to the program’s start date. Book clubs work well when participants have read the book, but this is not a requirement. Being open to the opinions and reflections of others is important, as is staying on topic. Other elements of a “good” discussion: making room for everyone who wishes to speak, being attentive when others are speaking, not interrupting, or arguing, and encouraging less talkative members to join in.
This program is presented by Dr. Annette Kelly and is hosted by the Winter Park Health Foundation.
About the Presenters:
Annette Kelly recently retired as the board president of Neighbors Network, a local non-profit, whose mission is the independence, engagement, and connectedness of older adults in our community. She is also a retired nurse practitioner and nursing professor with experience locally as the former CEO of the Alzheimer’s Association. She was the former assistant professor of Nursing at Florida Southern College. Kelly is an avid reader who has been married 58 years and enjoys spending time with her four children and four grandchildren.
Dr. Daisy Fiore has been working with animals since 2012. She has held nearly every job in zoos and aquariums from docent to keeper to curator. She holds bachelor’s degrees in anthropology, ecology and evolutionary biology, a master’s in biological anthropology, and a doctorate in anthrozoology. Her passion is finding ways humans and wildlife can live in harmony for the enrichment of everyone’s lives. She joined the team at the Audubon Center for Birds of Prey in 2022 as the Education Coordinator and has deeply enjoyed spreading the word about these amazing Florida natives and how we can all work together to preserve them.