23Sp G – Annals of the Former World

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  • Wk1 Annals of the Former World
     April 19, 2023
     1:30 pm - 3:30 pm
  • Wk2 Annals of the Former World
     April 26, 2023
     1:30 pm - 3:30 pm
  • Wk3 Annals of the Former World
     May 10, 2023
     1:30 pm - 3:30 pm
  • Wk4 Annals of the Former World
     May 17, 2023
     1:30 pm - 3:30 pm

When: Wednesdays, 1:30 – 3 :30 PM | April 19, 26 and May 10, 17
Where: Zoom
Instructor & Facilitator: Paul Hague

Beginning in Spring 2023 and for as long as it takes, we will be reading and discussing John McPhee’s Annals of the Former World, an excellent survey of North American geology. We will meet on Wednesday afternoons not scheduled for American Novel Reading Group discussions.

Annals of the Former World is comprised of five books previously published by John McPhee: Basin and Range, In Suspect Terrain, Rising from the Plains, Assembling California, and Crossing the Craton, all of which had been serialized in The New Yorker before being published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux. McPhee was awarded a Pulitzer Prize for General Nonfiction in 1999 and a Gold Medal by the Geological Society of America for Annals of the Former World, which provides clear, engaging descriptions of the geology of the North American continent and of several of the geologists
who investigated aspects of it.

The book is available in paperback from Amazon and local bookstores, as well as used bookstores and such websites as Better World Books and Powell’s for less expensive copies. Before our first class, please read “A Narrative Table of Contents” and to the top of p. 42 of “Basin and Range.” This will be an interesting journey across North America’s I-80 corridor. Through the mind and craft of John McPhee we will learn about the geology of our planet and how we have come to know it.

Paul Hague is a retired geologist who spent many years conducting geophysical surveys to illuminate what lies beneath. He first joined LINEC back in the early 2000s and, believe it or not, taught a course on Joyce’s Ulysses. After departing for several years to teach school, he returned a few years ago to enjoy the courses offered and present a few on geology. Always eager to learn something new and to satisfy a curious and skeptical mind, he will stick around to see what develops.


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