VSDC Book Club

The Vegetarian Society of DC (VSDC) Book Club meets once each month, usually the last Wednesday at 7:30 pm at a vegetarian restaurant. We alternate between fiction and nonfiction. VSDC members and friends who have read at least half the book are welcome to attend.

small group of people smiling sitting at a restaurant togetherAn RSVP is required to attend. See the DC Area Vegan Meetup site for our upcoming meeting dates and to RSVP!

To find out the location, at least one week before the meeting, leave a message for Beth on the Veg Line (202-362-VEGY, box 2), or email to bookclub@vsdc.org, or send a message via Meetup.

The VSDC Book Club celebrates 25 years in 2017!

HOW WE CHOOSE BOOKS

Book Club participants vote for two upcoming books at every other meeting: one fiction and one nonfiction. Any Book Club member can nominate a book — be prepared to participate in the discussion if it wins! We read books that are in paperback, in print, and under 400 pages. Plus, we read authors we haven’t read in the past five years (or ever).

POPULAR MEETING PLACES

RECOMMEND?

At the end of each Book Club meeting, participants vote on whether they would recommend the book — yes, no, or “other.” We started asking this question at the April 1993 meeting. Votes before then do not include everyone who participated in the discussion, and may include some who didn’t. Note the self-selection: People who do not like a book may be less likely to come to the meeting.

SELECTED BOOKS

2016

RECOMMEND?
MONTH TITLE AUTHOR YES NO Other
January Off the Reservation Glen Merzer  4 1 4
February Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End Atul Gawande  6 0 3
March My Brilliant Friend Elena Ferrante  5 0 1
April Elephant Company: The Inspiring Story of an Unlikely Hero and the Animals Who Helped Him Save Lives in World War II Vicki Croke  3 0 3
May Leaving Time Jodi Picoult  5 2 1
June The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History Elizabeth Kolbert  7 0 3
July Jerry’s Vegan Women Ben Shaberman  2  2  2
August The Most Good You Can Do: How Effective Altruism Is Changing Ideas About Living Ethically Peter Singer  8  1  3
September The Bear Went Over the Mountain William Kotzwinkle
October The Glass Castle Jeannette Walls
November Dietland Sarai Walker

2015

RECOMMEND?
MONTH TITLE AUTHOR YES NO ?
January Defiant Daughters: 21 Women on Art, Activism, Animals, and the Sexual Politics of Meat Kara Davis and Wendy Lee, eds. 3 0 4
February The Rosie Project: A Novel Graeme Simsion 3 0 1
March The Lucky Ones: My Passionate Fight for Farm Animals Jenny Brown 10 0 1
April Dog On It Spencer Quinn 3 4 3
May A Fighting Chance Elizabeth Warren 8 1 0
June The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry Gabrielle Zevin 5 0 1
July The Lusty Vegan: A Cookbook and Relationship Manifesto for Vegans and Those Who Love Them Ayinde Howell and Zoe Eisenberg 1 3 5
August The Adventures of Vivian Sharpe, Vegan Superhero Marla Rose 7 0 0
September Will Travel for Vegan Food Kristin Lajeunesse 8 1 3
October Lord of the Flies William Golding 4 1 3
November The Astronaut Wives Club Lily Koppel 4 1 4

 

2014

RECOMMEND?
MONTH TITLE AUTHOR YES NO ?
January Where’d You Go, Bernadette Maria Semple 7 0 3
February My Beloved World Sonia Sotomayor 9 0 1
March Tell the Wolves I’m Home Carol Rifka Brunt 6 0 0
April Veganomics: The Surprising Science on What Motivates Vegetarians, from the Breakfast Table to the Bedroom Nick Cooney 15 0 0
May The Chain Robin Lamont 2 2 1
June The Genius of Dogs Brian Hare and Vanessa Woods 1 0 3
July The Odds: A Love Story Stewart O’Nan 6 1 1
August Prosperity without Growth: Economics for a Finite Planet Tim Jackson 6 0 4
September The Awareness Gene Stone and Jon Doyle 1 2 2
October Animal Wise: How We Know Animals Think and Feel Virginia Morell 11 2 1
November We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves Karen Joy Fowler 6 0 0

2013

RECOMMEND?
MONTH TITLE AUTHOR YES NO ?
January The Bond Wayne Pacelle 6 0 0
February Gilead Marilynne Robinson 1 0 3
March Rin Tin Tin Susan Orlean 8 0 2
April Dandelion Wine Ray Bradbury 5 0 2
May Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking Susan Cain 13 0 1
June Three Bags Full Leonie Swann 3 0 1
July Wild Cheryl Strayed 15 0 0
August The Weird Sisters Eleanor Brown 3 1 3
September Infidel Ayaan Hirsi Ali 3 1 1
October How It All Began Penelope Lively 5 0 0
November Finding Ultra: Rejecting Middle Age, Becoming One of the World’s Fittest Men, and Discovering Myself Rich Roll 16 1 1

2012

RECOMMEND?
MONTH TITLE AUTHOR YES NO ?
January The Straight Man Richard Russo 2 0 1
February The Tiger: A True Story of Vengeance and Survival John Vailllant 12 0 0
March When the Killing’s Done T.C. Boyle 2 6 2
April Moonwalking with Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything Joshua Foer 9 0 1
May Netherland Joseph O’Neill 2 2 1
June Animal Impact: Secrets Proven to Achieve Results and Move the World Caryn Ginsberg 11 0 0
July Lolly Willowes Sylvia Townsend Warner 3 0 1
August Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen  Christopher McDougall 13 0 1
September The Submission Amy Waldman 4 1 0
October Transition Chaz Bono 5 0 0
November The Marriage Plot Jeffrey Eugenides 2 0 0

2011

RECOMMEND?
MONTH TITLE AUTHOR YES NO ?
January Eating Animals Jonathan Safran Foer 15 0 1
February Sag Harbor Colson Whitehead 6 0 1
March No One Would Listen: A True Financial Thriller Harry Markopolos 11 0 0
April The Vampire and The Vegan Merlene Alicia Vassall 10 0 2
May Farm Sanctuary: Changing Hearts and Minds About Animals and Food Gene Baur 7 0 0
June Let the Great World Spin Colum McCann 2 0 2
July The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks Rebecca Skloot 8 0 0
August The Imperfectionists Tom Rachman 6 3 0
September Just Kids Patti Smith 7 0 1
October Anthill E.O. Wilson 4 0 1
November The World Peace Diet Will Tuttle 4 1 3

2010

RECOMMEND?
MONTH TITLE AUTHOR YES NO ?
January The Great Man Kate Christensen 10 0 3
February A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier Ishmael Beah 9 0 0
March Stoner John Williams 5 0 1
April Animals Make Us Human Temple Grandin 7 1 3
May The Elegance of the Hedgehog Muriel Barbery 5 1 2
June The Geography of Bliss Eric Weiner 11 1 3
July The Heart is a Lonely Hunter Carson McCullers 5 0 1
August Your Inner Fish: A Journet into the 3.5 Billion Year History of the Human Body Neil Shubin 4 0 1
September The Art of Racing in the Rain Garth Stein 2 2 2
October A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail Bill Bryson 9 0 0
November The Lovely Bones Alice Sebold 6 2 1

2009

Recommend?
MONTH TITLE AUTHOR YES NO ?
January Nim Chimpsky: The Chimp Who Would Be Human Elizabeth Hess 5 0 0
February The Beautiful Things That Heaven Bears Dinaw Mengestu 9 0 1
March In Praise of Slowness: Challenging the Cult of Speed Carl Honore 7 3 1
April The Dogs of Babel Carolyn Parkhurst 4 1 2
May Around the World on Two Wheels: Annie Londonderry’s Extraordinary Ride Peter Zheutlin 5 0 0
June Flowers for Algernon Daniel Keyes 4 1 0
July Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein 5 0 1
August Rabbit, Run John Updike 2 1 3
September Three Cups of Tea: One Man’s Mission to Promote Peace… One School at a Time Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin 14 1 0
October Olive Kitteridge Elizabeth Strout 5 0 3
November The Vegan Monologues Ben Shaberman 16 0 3

2008

Recommend?
MONTH TITLE AUTHOR YES NO ?
January Pleasurable Kingdom Jonathan Balcombe 9 0 0
February Water for Elephants Sara Gruen 3 0 0
March Never Cry Wolf: Amazing True Story of Life Among Arctic Wolves Farley Mowat 9 0 0
April The Tempest William Shakespeare 7 0 2
May Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life Barbara Kingsolver 5 1 0
June A Long Fatal Love Chase Louisa May Alcott 3 1 1
July The Travels of a T-Shirt in the Global Economy: An Economist Examines the Markets, Power, and Politics of World Trade Pietra Rivoli 10 0 0
August Tales of the City Armistead Maupin 7 0 0
September How Starbucks Saved My Life Michael Gates Gill 10 0 0
October Caucasia Danzy Senna 5 1 1
November The World Without Us Alan Weisman 8 0 0

2007

RECOMMEND?
MONTH TITLE AUTHOR YES NO ?
January The Jane Austen Book Club Karen Jay Fowler 2 1 3
February For the Prevention of Cruelty: the history and legacy of animal rights activism in the United States Diane L. Beers 3 0 1
March The Heidi Chronicles, Uncommon Women and Others, and Isn’t It Romantic Wendy Wasserstein 8 0 1
April Harvest for Hope: A Guide to Mindful Eating Jane Goodall 3 0 0
May Slaughterhouse-Five Kurt Vonnegut 9 0 1
June Night Elie Wiesel 7 0 0
July Timbuktu Paul Auster 5 0 1
August The Mating Mind: How Sexual Choice Shaped the Evolution of Human Nature Geoffrey Miller 2 1 0
September Black Beauty Anna Sewell 4 0 1
October Voodoo Science: The Road from Foolishness to Fraud Robert Park 5 0 0
November Unsafe Harbor: A Rachel Porter Mystery Jessica Speart 2 5 3

2006

RECOMMEND?
MONTH TITLE AUTHOR YES NO ?
January Confessions of an Economic Hit Man John Perkins 10 0 2
February Rubyfruit Jungle Rita Mae Brown 12 1 1
March The Beak of the Finch: A Story of Evolution in Our Time Jonathan Weiner 5 0 2
April Lost in the City Edward P. Jones 8 1 1
May Bayou Farewell: the rich life and tragic death of Louisiana’s cajun coast Mike Tidwell 6 0 0
June The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time Mark Haddon 10 0 1
July Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood Marjane Satrapi 7 0 0
August Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close Jonathan Safran Foer 7 0 0
September Banker to the Poor: micro-lending and the battle against world poverty Muhammad Yunus 5 0 0
October Sammy’s Hill Kristin Gore 2 0 2
November Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books Azar Nafisi 4 1 3
December VSDC Holiday Event

2005

Recommend?
MONTH TITLE AUTHOR YES NO ?
January The Awakening Kate Chopin 2 1 2
February Silent Spring Rachel Carson 7 0 0
March West of the Jordan Laila Halaby 2 2 1
April Dominion Matthew Scully 4 0 0
May Nathan Coulter Wendell Berry 0 2 0
June Red Tails in Love: A Wildlife Drama in Central Park Marie Winn 5 0 0
July The Kite Runner Khaled Hosseini 8 0 0
August Among the Bears: Raising Orphaned Cubs in the Wild Benjamin Kilham 1 2 0
September Like Life: Stories Lorrie Moore 0 2 2
October The Tipping Point: how little things can make a big difference Malcolm Gladwell 8 2 2
November The Inn at Lake Devine Elinor Lipman 8 0 1
December VSDC Holiday Event

2004

Recommend?
MONTH TITLE AUTHOR YES NO ?
January Old Books, Rare Friends: two literary sleuths and their shared passion Leona Rostenberg, Madeleine Stern 4 1 0
February River, Cross My Heart Breena Clarke 5 1 1
March Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America Barbara Ehrenreich 8 0 1
April The Red Pony John Steinbeck 3 0 2
May Globalization and Its Discontents Joseph E. Stiglitz 7 2 1
June How to be Good Nick Hornby 9 1 1
July Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things William McDonough, Michael Braungart 4 0 0
August Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress Sijie Dai 5 1 0
September Strange Fruit: The Biography of a Song David Margolick 5 2 2
October Tell Me a Riddle Tillie Olsen 0 2 2
November Wild Health: how animals keep themselves well and what we can learn from them Cindy Engel 4 0 1
December VSDC Holiday Party

2003

Recommend?
MONTH TITLE AUTHOR YES NO ?
January Ethics into Action: Henry Spira and the Animal Rights Movement Peter Singer 6 0 0
February Headlong: A Novel Michael Frayn 1 0 1
March The Botany of Desire: A Plant’s-Eye View of the World Michael Pollan 5 0 0
April Disgrace J.M. Coetzee 7 1 0
May The Tao of Pooh Benjamin Hoff 11 0 0
June Mrs. Dalloway Virginia Woolf 5 1 1
July The Wilderness World of John Muir John Muir 6 0 0
August The Nanny Diaries Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus 4 1 1
September All of One Peace, Essays on Nonviolence Colman McCarthy 8 0 0
October Interpreter of Maladies Jhumpa Lahiri 8 0 0
November Pilgrim at Tinker Creek Annie Dillard 1 0 2
December Readings by group: Share something up to 3 minutes long

2002

Recommend?
MONTH TITLE AUTHOR YES NO ?
January I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings Maya Angelou 3 0 1
February Me Talk Pretty One Day David Sedaris 4 1 0
March Girl with a Pearl Earring Tracy Chavalier 1 0 1
April Living Among Meat Eaters: The Vegetarian’s Survival Handbook Carol J. Adams 2 0 2
May The Edible Woman Margaret Atwood 2 2 1
June The Parrot’s Lament: and other true tales of animal intrigue, intelligence, and ingenuity Eugene Linden 2 2 0
July Blitzcat Robert Westall 5 0 1
August Fast Food Nation Eric Schlosser 7 0 0
September The Jungle Upton Sinclair 3 0 0
October The Battle for God Karen Armstrong 0 0 3
November Ishmael Daniel Quinn 4 3 0
December Readings by group: Share something up to 3 minutes long

2001

Recommend?
MONTH TITLE AUTHOR YES NO ?
January The Chosen Chaim Potok 12 1 0
February Through a Window Jane Goodall 6 0 0
March After the Blue Russel Like 1 2 2
April Sex on the Brain: the biological differences between men and women Deborah Blum 1 1 1
May Regeneration Pat Barker 3 0 1
June Rattling the Cage: Toward Legal Rights for Animals Steven Wise 0 0 3
July Waiting Ha Jin 4 0 1
August Into the Wild Jon Krakauer 6 1 3
September A Home at the End of the World Michael Cunningham 4 0 0
October How I Became Hettie Jones Hettie Jones 5 0 0
November Sunshine Rider: The First Vegetarian Western Ric Lynden Hardman
December Readings by group: Share something up to 3 minutes long

2000

Recommend?
MONTH TITLE AUTHOR YES NO ?
January The Rarest of the Rare Diane Ackerman 5 0 0
February Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone J. K. Rowling 3 0 0
March Thoughts Without a Thinker: psychotherapy from a Buddhist perspective Mark Epstein 10 2 1
April Women of Sand and Myrrh Hanan Al-Shaykh 1 1 1
May Stonewall Martin Duberman 3 0 0
June My Year of Meats Ruth Ozeki 3 0 1
July A Tribe Apart: A Journey into the Heart of American Adolescence Patricia Hersch 6 0 1
August The Hundred Secret Senses Amy Tan 6 0 0
September Waiting to Forget Margaret Moorman 4 0 0
October To Kill a Mockingbird Harper Lee 9 0 0
November The Orchid Thief Susan Orlean 4 1 0
December Readings by group: Share something up to 3 minutes long

1999

Recommend?
MONTH TITLE AUTHOR YES NO ?
January The God of Small Things Arundhati Roy 2 1 3
February Toxic Sludge is Good for You! Lies, Damn Lies and the Public Relations Industry John Stauber, Sheldon Rampton 11 0 0
March Animal Husbandry Laura Zigman 6 0 0
April Cultivating the Mind of Love Thich Nhat Hanh 3 2 3
May Animal Farm George Orwell 13 0 0
June Desert Solitaire Edward Abbey 4 2 4
July The Dispossessed Ursula LeGuin 5 2 1
August The Call of Service: A Witness to Idealism Robert Coles 3 2 2
September How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents Julia Alvarez 0 3 1
October The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down: a Hmong child, her American doctors, and the collision of two cultures Anne Fadiman 5 2 1
November A Cry for Self-Help Jaqueline Girdner 0 3 2
December Readings by group: Share something up to 3 minutes long

1998

Recommend?
MONTH TITLE AUTHOR YES NO ?
January None to Accompany Me Gordimer 2 0 4
February The Snow Leopard Matthiessen 1 4 2
March True Story: A Comedy Novel Maher 4 3 0
April Spontaneous Healing Weil 7 1 0
May On the Road Kerouac 8 0 0
June Long Quiet Highway: Waking Up America Goldberg 5 0 0
July Martha Quest Lessing 2 0 1
August The Dreaded Comparison: Human and Animal Slavery Spiegel 7 0 2
September Enormous Changes at the Last Minute Paley 1 3 1
October The Starship and the Canoe Brower 7 0 0
November Food for the Gods Berry 6 0 2
December Readings by group: Share something up to 3 minutes long

1997

Recommend?
MONTH TITLE AUTHOR YES NO ?
January The Wedding Dorothy West 9 0 2
February Paula Isabel Allende 5 0 0
March Paddy Clark Ha Ha Ha Doyle 2 0 2
April The Saturated Self: Dilemmas of Identity in Contemporary Life Gergen 0 4 1
May The Here and Now Cohen 2 2 1
June The Jew in the Lotus: A Poet’s Rediscovery of Jewish Identity in Buddhist India Kamenetz 3 2 2
July Open Secrets Munro 2 2 0
August Amazing Grace: The Lives of Children and the Conscience of a Nation Kozol 6 0 0
September Candida Shaw 4 0 1
October The Invisible Partners: how the male and female in each of us affects our relationships Sanford 2 5 0
November I Should Have Stayed Home: The Worst Trips of the Great American Writers Rapoport & Castanera, editors 4 0 0
December Readings by group: Share something up to 3 minutes long

1996

Recommend?
MONTH TITLE AUTHOR YES NO ?
January My Own Country Verghese 4 0 2
February The Garden of Eden Hemingway 5 1 1
March Making Movies Lumet 5 0 0
April The Love Letter Schine 2 0 0
May Emotional Intelligence Goleman 1 1 1
June Animal Dreams Kingsolver 5 0 0
July Between Heaven and Earth: A Guide to Chinese Medicine Beinfield & Korngold 0 0 3
August Pride and Prejudice Austen 6 1 0
September Jaguar: one man’s battle to establish the world’s first jaguar preserve Rabinowitz 5 0 0
October Tracks Erdrich 0 0 3
November Animal Liberation Singer 6 0 0
December Readings by group: Share something up to 3 minutes long

1995

Recommend?
MONTH TITLE AUTHOR YES NO ?
January Midnight’s Children Rushdie 0 1 3
February The Things They Carried O’Brien 9 0 0
March The Shipping News Proulx 6 2 2
April The Myth of Male Power Farrell 2 5 4
May The Catcher in the Rye Salinger 8 0 0
June The Autobiography of a Face Grealey 8 0 0
July Monsignor Quixote Green 2 3 2
August Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil: A Savannah Story Berendt 4 1 3
September Crossing to Safety Stegner 3 0 2
October In an Antique Land Ghosh 2 0 2
November Ladder of Years Tyler 2 3 1
December Readings by Group: Share something up to 3 minutes long

1994

Recommend?
MONTH TITLE AUTHOR YES NO ?
January Riding the Iron Rooster Theroux 5 1 0
February Love in the Time of Cholera Garcia Marquez 4 0 0
March Powershift Toffler 2 2 1
April Beloved Morrison 6 0 0
May Enzyme Nutrition Howell 6 2 2
June The Easy Way Out McCauley 4 1 0
July Ageless Body, Timeless Mind Chopra 3 1 1
August The Education of Little Tree Carter 4 0 2
September Defending the Devil Nelson 8 0 0
October The Great Gatsby Fitzgerald 12 0 0
November Animal Happiness Hearne 0 8 0
December The Measure of Our Success Edelman 5 1 6

1993

Recommend?
MONTH TITLE AUTHOR YES NO ?
January How Can I Help? Dass 3 4 0
February A Thousand Acres Smiley 6 0 0
March A Return to Love Williamson 0 5 1
April Nice Work Lodge 3 3 1
May The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People Covey 5 3 2
June Damage Hart 7 4 2
July Healing and the Mind Moyers 3 1 0
August Like Water for Chocolate Esquival 6 1 1
September Earth in the Balance Gore 4 1 0
October Postcards Proulx 2 1 0
November Your Money or Your Life Dominquez & Robin 4 2 0
December Readings by Group

1992

Recommend?
MONTH TITLE AUTHOR YES NO ?
February Organizational Meeting
March The State of the World Brown 2 3 0
April Watership Down Adams 5 1 0
May Beyond Beef Rifkin 2 3 0
June Vox Baker 0 6 0
July You Just Don’t Understand: conversations between women and men Tannen 4 1 1
August Halfway Home Monette 4 1 1
September The Revolution Within Steinem 0 3 1
October Waiting to Exhale McMillan 2 5 0
November A Turn in the South Naipaul 2 3 1
December Scum Singer 2 2 2