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BOOK CLUBS

VM Book Clubs are run on a weekly basis for people to come together to earnestly explore and discuss ideas. VM Book Clubs are for everybody, and are run by volunteers often in cafes, community settings or in homes. The atmosphere is light, friendly and always welcoming. 
All VM Book Clubs are free, we ask is that you bring an open mind and a hunger for knowledge!

If you are interested in joining one of the existing book clubs or wish to become a volunteer at VM, please get in touch by submitting the from below. We look forward to hearing from you.

Book Club Chapters

 
Educated.jpg

Croydon, London

Every Monday from 8.00pm - 9:30pm.

Currently Reading : 

Educated by Tara Westover

Born to survivalists in the mountains of Idaho, Tara Westover was seventeen the first time she set foot in a classroom. Her family was so isolated from mainstream society that there was no one to ensure the children received an education, and no one to intervene when one of Tara's older brothers became violent. When another brother got himself into college, Tara decided to try a new kind of life. Her quest for knowledge transformed her, taking her over oceans and across continents, to Harvard and to Cambridge University. Only then would she wonder if she'd traveled too far, if there was still a way home.

EnlightenmentNow.jpg

Every Monday from 7.00pm - 9.00pm

Currently Reading : 

Enlightenment Now by Steven Pinker

Is modernity really failing? Or have we failed to appreciate progress and the ideals that make it possible?

If you follow the headlines, the world in the 21st century appears to be sinking into chaos, hatred, and irrationality. Yet Steven Pinker shows that this is an illusion - a symptom of historical amnesia and statistical fallacies. If you follow the trendlines rather than the headlines, you discover that our lives have become longer, healthier, safer, happier, more peaceful, more stimulating and more prosperous - not just in the West, but worldwide. Such progress is no accident: it's the gift of a coherent and inspiring value system that many of us embrace without even realizing it. These are the values of the Enlightenment: of reason, science, humanism and progress.

The challenges we face today are formidable, including inequality, climate change, Artificial Intelligence and nuclear weapons. But the way to deal with them is not to sink into despair or try to lurch back to a mythical idyllic past; it's to treat them as problems we can solve, as we have solved other problems in the past. In making the case for an Enlightenment newly recharged for the 21st century, Pinker shows how we can use our faculties of reason and sympathy to solve the problems that inevitably come with being products of evolution in an indifferent universe. We will never have a perfect world, but - defying the chorus of fatalism and reaction - we can continue to make it a better one.

1984.jpg

Manchester

Every Tuesday from 7.00pm - 8:30pm

Currently Reading : 

1984 by George Orwell

'Who controls the past controls the future: who controls the present controls the past'

Hidden away in the Record Department of the sprawling Ministry of Truth, Winston Smith skilfully rewrites the past to suit the needs of the Party. Yet he inwardly rebels against the totalitarian world he lives in, which demands absolute obedience and controls him through the all-seeing telescreens and the watchful eye of Big Brother, symbolic head of the Party. In his longing for truth and liberty, Smith begins a secret love affair with a fellow-worker Julia, but soon discovers the true price of freedom is betrayal.

George Orwell's dystopian masterpiece, Nineteen Eighty-Four is perhaps the most pervasively influential book of the twentieth century.

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Oxford

Every Thursday from 6:30pm - 8:30pm

Currently Reading : 

The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion

In The Righteous Mind, psychologist Jonathan Haidt answers some of the most compelling questions about human relationships:

Why can it sometimes feel as though half the population is living in a different moral universe? Why do ideas such as 'fairness' and 'freedom' mean such different things to different people? Why is it so hard to see things from another viewpoint? Why do we come to blows over politics and religion?

Jonathan Haidt reveals that we often find it hard to get along because our minds are hardwired to be moralistic, judgemental and self-righteous. He explores how morality evolved to enable us to form communities, and how moral values are not just about justice and equality - for some people authority, sanctity or loyalty matter more. Morality binds and blinds, but, using his own research, Haidt proves it is possible to liberate ourselves from the disputes that divide good people.

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Birmingham

Every Friday from 7:00pm - 8:30pm.

Currently Reading : 

Prisoners of Geography

All leaders are constrained by geography. Their choices are limited by mountains, rivers, seas and concrete. Yes, to follow world events you need to understand people, ideas and movements - but if you don't know geography, you'll never have the full picture.

If you've ever wondered why Putin is so obsessed with Crimea, why the USA was destined to become a global superpower, or why China's power base continues to expand ever outwards, the answers are all here.

In ten chapters (covering Russia; China; the USA; Latin America; the Middle East; Africa; India and Pakistan; Europe; Japan and Korea; and the Arctic), using maps, essays and occasionally the personal experiences of the widely travelled author, Prisoners of Geography looks at the past, present and future to offer an essential insight into one of the major factors that determines world history.

It's time to put the 'geo' back into geopolitics.

Previously Read

 

The Sane Society

Social psychologist Erich Fromm’s seminal exploration of the profound ills of modern society, and how best to overcome them

One of Fromm’s main interests was to analyze social systems and their impact on the mental health of the individual. In this study, he reaches further and asks: “Can a society be sick?” He finds that it can, arguing that Western culture is immersed in a “pathology of normalcy” that affects the mental health of individuals.

In The Sane Society, Fromm examines the alienating effects of modern capitalism, and discusses historical and contemporary alternatives, particularly communitarian systems. Finally, he presents new ideas for a re-organization of economics, politics, and culture that would support the individual’s mental health and our profound human needs for love and freedom.

Plato's Phaedo

The Phaedo is acknowledged to be one of Plato's greatest masterpieces, showing him both as a philosopher and as a dramatist at the height of his powers. For its moving account of the execution of Socrates, the Phaedo ranks among the supreme literary achievements of antiquity. It is also a seminal document for many ideas deeply ingrained in western culture, and provides one of the best introductions to Plato's thought.

Long Walk to Freedom

Place holder

Prisoners of Geography

All leaders are constrained by geography. Their choices are limited by mountains, rivers, seas and concrete. Yes, to follow world events you need to understand people, ideas and movements - but if you don't know geography, you'll never have the full picture.

If you've ever wondered why Putin is so obsessed with Crimea, why the USA was destined to become a global superpower, or why China's power base continues to expand ever outwards, the answers are all here.

In ten chapters (covering Russia; China; the USA; Latin America; the Middle East; Africa; India and Pakistan; Europe; Japan and Korea; and the Arctic), using maps, essays and occasionally the personal experiences of the widely travelled author, Prisoners of Geography looks at the past, present and future to offer an essential insight into one of the major factors that determines world history.

It's time to put the 'geo' back into geopolitics.

The Tao of Pooh

Is there such thing as a Western Taoist? Benjamin Hoff says there is, and this Taoist's favourite food is honey. Through brilliant and witty dialogue with the beloved Pooh-bear and his companions, the author of this smash bestseller explains with ease and aplomb that rather than being a distant and mysterious concept, Taoism is as near and practical to us as our morning breakfast bowl.

Romp through the enchanting world of Winnie-the-Pooh while soaking up invaluable lessons on simplicity and natural living.

Beginnings of Learning

Krishnamurti, who founded schools in India, the USA and England to further his beliefs, presents lively and often intimate exchanges on practical and philosophical issues in the interests of teaching children to meet educational demands without conforming to conventional values. 'The subjects range from learning how to sit still with a quiet mind to coping with individuals - or discovering how to live sanely in an insane world' Sunday Telegraph 'Many of the discussions are concerned with a highly relevant problem: how to help children to meet the educational demands of their society without conforming to its conventional values' Observer

Bhagavad Gita by Nick Sutton

Krishnamurti, who founded schools in India, the USA and England to further his beliefs, presents lively and often intimate exchanges on practical and philosophical issues in the interests of teaching children to meet educational demands without conforming to conventional values. 'The subjects range from learning how to sit still with a quiet mind to coping with individuals - or discovering how to live sanely in an insane world' Sunday Telegraph 'Many of the discussions are concerned with a highly relevant problem: how to help children to meet the educational demands of their society without conforming to its conventional values' Observer

Land of the Seven Rivers

Did ancient India witness the Great Flood? Why did the Buddha give his first sermon at Sarnath? How did the Europeans map India?

Combining scholarship with sparkling wit, Sanjeev Sanyal sets out to explore how India's history was shaped by its geography--answering questions you may have never thought to ask. Moving from geological and genetic origins to present-day Gurgaon,Land of the Seven Rivers is riveting, wry and full of surprises.

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