Richard Louv Last Child in the WoodsBill Gammage The Biggest Estate on EarthDavid Suzuki The LegacyNatural History of SelborneRachel Carson Silent SpringDr Seuss The Lorax

The CWCN Book Club is very much enjoyed by all who participate. It is for booklovers, bookworms, food for thought gourmets, those who appreciate the natural world, those who enjoy a debate, and those who just love having a good time.

The kettle is on, the biscuits are waiting, and the comfortable chairs are out at the CWCN Centre. Although there are intense debates surrounding each title, the atmosphere is relaxed and lots of laughter is a given part of the afternoon. This year’s program is described below. We welcome title suggestions for future sessions.  Please note, libraries are quite happy to source titles should they not be on their shelves.

Like most of our events, the CWCN Book Club is open to everyone. However, due to the nature of the club participation needs to be kept to workable numbers. We kindly ask you RSVP for sessions which take place on the third Wednesday of each month between 2:00pm and 4:00pm. A fee of $5.00 is charged per session.


Wednesday, 18th January 2017
The Last Paradise (1990) by Tom Cole
Sequel to the best known book by Cole – Hell, West and Crooked.  Cole made his name as a buffalo shooter, crocodile hunter, cattleman and outback character in Northern Australia. This book tells of his adventures and activities in PNG where he spent 30 years as crocodile hunter, coffee plantation owner and entrepreneurial developer. Cole has been dubbed ‘the original Crocodile Dundee’ for his exploits and colourful life.  The book is not only an adventure tale, but also historical account of life and development in PNG, and personal anecdotes of a colourful and dangerous life.
Wednesday, 15th February 2017
Ellis Rowan, a flower-hunter in Queensland (1990) by Judith McKay
Rowan, in her day, was well known for her artistic work as well as her travels throughout Australia, PNG, New Zealand, India, Europe, America and Cuba to illustrate the natural world.  However, like many competent women across both the artistic and scientific disciplines, Rowan’s name and her work have largely been forgotten. At the time she was fortunate to have a strong mentor.  As McKay says: ‘Ellis’s recruitment into the Baron’s army (Baron von Mueller) of flower collectors was to be a turning point in her life, for it set her path into the future.  Without the relationship with von Mueller, Ellis may have remained little more than an enthusiastic amateur … and through him she was to gain the credibility and connections that would open many doors for her’.
Wednesday, 15th March 2017
Voss (1957) by Patrick White 
Set in nineteenth-century Australia, Voss is the story of the secret passion between an explorer and a naive young woman. Voss sets out to cross the continent. As hardships, mutiny and betrayal whittle away his power to endure and to lead, his attachment to Laura gradually increases. Laura, waiting in Sydney, moves through the months of separation as if they were a dream and Voss the only reality. From the careful delineation of Victorian society to the sensitive rendering of hidden love to the stark narrative of adventure in the Australian desert, Patrick White's novel is a work of extraordinary power and virtuosity. (Vintage Classics).
Wednesday, 19th April 2017
The Hidden Life of Trees: What they feel, how they communicate (2016) by Peter Wohlleben
Foreword by Tim Flannery. This book has received some cynical reviews, however , one supporter is David Suzuki, who writes:  Life of Trees …  reveals the mind boggling properties and behaviour of these terrestrial giants. Read this electrifying book, then go out and hug a tree – with admiration and gratitude’.  More research reveals that Forest ecologist, Dr Suzanne Simard, University of British Colombia, has studied the connective relationship of fungi and trees that enable trees to share resources, communicate threats and generally take care of each other. More locally, Plant physiologist Professor Hans Lambers, University of WA, notes that trees emit chemicals that can be seen as a form of communication between trees.
Wednesday, 17th May 2017
The Shepherd's Life: A tale of the Lake District (2015) by James Rebanks
Rebanks’ family has been farming the Lake District for over 600 years and his book emerged from a series of blogs recording rural life, seasonal changes, snippets of history.  Rebanks realised there was a large interest and that his social media yuse was a way of being creative with pictures and words about their way of life.  ’ Reviewer David Craig writes: ‘his book becomes a wonderfully detailed and candid account of a life that is both individual and typical of this [a shepherd’s] role in rural society’.
Wednesday, 21st June 2017
Salt: A world history (2003) by Mark Kurlansky
In his fifth work of nonfiction, Mark Kurlansky turns his attention to a common household item with a long and intriguing history: salt. The only rock we eat, salt has shaped civilization from the very beginning, and its story is a glittering, often surprising part of the history of humankind. A substance so valuable it served as currency, salt has influenced the establishment of trade routes and cities, provoked and financed wars, secured empires, and inspired revolutions.  Populated by colourful characters and filled with an unending series of fascinating details, Salt by Mark Kurlansky is a supremely entertaining, multi-layered masterpiece. (
Wednesday, 19th July 2017
The Invention of Nature: The adventures of Alexander von Humboldt, the lost hero of science (2015) by Andrea Wulf
Although Humboldt’s breakthrough ideas about nature and the environment are now well accepted, his name has largely been forgotten.  Wulf’s book reclaims his achievements and demonstrates his contribution to environmental thinking.  Humboldt perceived ‘nature as an interconnected global force … discovered similarities between climate zones across the world and predicted human-induced climate change. He turned scientific observation into poetic narrative, and his writings inspired naturalists and poets such as Darwin, Wordsworth and Goethe but also politicians such as Jefferson.. Wulf traces Humboldt’s influences through the great minds he inspired in revolution, evolution, ecology, conservation, art and literature [and] brings this lost hero to science and the forgotten father of environmentalism back to life’.
Wednesday,  16th August 2017
Children’s books of your  choice
There are many books nurturing an early love of nature. This sessions will allow us to gather information and talk about children’s favourites and gems which lead young readers to be intrigued by the natural world around them. If this is an early step to create future guardians, even better. This book club session is also intended to provide ideas for the children’s section of CWCN’s  library.
Wednesday, 20th September 2017
Tom Petrie’s reminiscences of early Queensland (dating from 1837) by Constance Campbell Petrie (First published 1904).
These stories first appeared in the Queenslander in the form of articles, many of which referred to the Aboriginal People. These articles were then recorded and published by his daughter, Constance Campbell Petrie, in 1904. This book also provides a brief sketch of the early days of the colony of Queensland from 1837, through the eyes of Tom Petrie.
From early childhood Tom played with and grew up alongside the Aboriginal people of Brisbane and later came to be considered an authority on the Aboriginal people and in this book there is a wide range of interesting and important information about them, including some vocabulary words.
Wednesday, 18th October 2017
The Brother Gardeners: Botany, empire and the birth of an obsession (2008) by Andrea Wulf
Another brilliant Wulf book. This is the story of intrepid plant hunters, friends, rivals, enemies - united by a passion for flora and whose correspondence, collaborations and squabbles make for a riveting human tale which is set against the backdrop of the emerging empire, the uncharted world beyond and London as the capital of science. Wulf may have ignored the negative effects and consequences of transplanting non-native species which at the time nobody considered, but this book is a highly enjoyable ‘biography’ of the quintessential English garden which is in fact a treasure trove of global history.
Wednesday, 15th Nov 2017
Favourite Nature Poetry - Your Selection
For the last book club session of the year participants are invited to choose and present their personal favourites—individual poems or  collections. Previous book club poetry session followed that pattern. They were all highly enjoyable afternoons with surprising gems from Australia and other countries introduced and (re)discovered ranging from Brisbane urban poet Robert Hughes to Pablo Neruda to Judith Wright and William Wordsworth. We expect nothing less during our November session.


 CWCN Book Club 2017.pdf



CWCN Book Club Program 2014

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