In the Library, now usually on the fourth Sunday of each month, from 12:15 to 1:30 one or two facilitators initiate our discussion of a selected topic by each presenting a 20 minute review of a relevant book from our collection, followed by questions and discussion open to all.

Sample topics are Unitarian history, defining the sacred, peace and social justice, interfaith dialogue, feminist perspectives, mysticism, science and religion.

If you’ve ever wished to explore faith matters further by reading, why not drop in on that book review circle. You’re not expected to read the book beforehand (though perhaps you will want to afterwards).

Please cast your mind ahead to the themes for our Current Season:

  • December: Revelry/Celebration
  • January: Broken and Whole
  • February: Radical Inclusion
  • March: Owning Our Story
  • April: Our Whole Lives I
  • May: Our Whole Lives II

If you wish to suggest a topic, or a book you’d like to review, please contact the coordinator by This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Past Book Talks: (Some reviewers’ names are linked to the texts of their talks.)

Date Topic Talks
January 19, 2020 Broken and Whole
December 1, 2019 Enough
  • David Chernushenko – book launch and reading from his new novel Burning Souls.
November 24, 2019 Celebration/Ritual
  • Fred Lautenschlaeger's survey of a history of Revelry and Celebration
  • Terri Palmer on Ritual: A Very Short Introduction by Barry Stephenson
October 27, 2019 Belonging
  • Ilene Cummings on Belonging: Remembering Ourselves Home by Toko-pa Turner
  • Herb Wright on The Clergyman’s Daughter by George Orwell
June 23, 2019 Climate & Creativity
  • Fred Lautenschlaeger on Justice on Earth: People of Faith Working at the Intersections of Race, Class, and the Environment by Manish Mizra-Marzetti
  • Leslie Solomonian on Drawdown Toronto by Pachamama and other climate change initiatives UUs are supporting in Toronto.
April 28, 2019 Emergence
  • Special Guest Speaker, Dr. Randolph Haluza-DeLay, Associate Professor of Sociology at The King's University, Edmonton, on his recent trip to Northern Iraq with a human rights/peace-making agency.
March 24, 2019 Balance
  • Linda Heron on Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Kimmere
  • Margaret Newall on Embers by Richard Wagamese
February 24, 2019 Endurance
  • Nancy Lee on One Native Life by Richard Wagamese
  • Gerta Moray on The Indigenous People's Atlas of Canada/li>
January 27, 2019 Intention
  • Lynn Hughes on White Fragility: Why It's so Hard for White People to Talk About Racism by Robin DiAngelo
December 16, 2018 Hope
  • Peter Brydon on Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism and Progress by Steven Pinker
  • Lisa Trentinl on Butterfly: From Refugee to Olympian, my Story of Rescue, Hope and Triumph by Yusra Mardini
November 25, 2018 Courage
  • Sue Berlove on The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk
  • Ellen Campbell on Revisiting the Empowerment Controversy: Black Power and Unitarian Universalism by Mark Morrison Reed
October 28, 2018 Abundance
  • Edafe Okporo on his new book Bed 26: A Memoir from an African Man's Asylum in the United States
  • Fred Lautenschlaeger on Justice on Earth: People of Faith Working at the Intersections of Race, Class, and the Environment by Manish Mizra-Marzetti
May 27, 2018 Embodiment
  • Peter Brydon on The Hidden Life of Trees by Peter Wohlleben
  • Ellen Campbell on Being Mortal by Atul Gawande
April 22, 2018 Change/Transformation
  • Nancy Lee on One Native Life by Richard Wagamese
  • Fred Lautenschlaeger on Sacred Economics: Money, Gift, and Society in the Age of Transition by Charles Eisenstein
March 4, 2018 Interdependence
  • Bill Belfontaine on Scarborough: a Novel by Catherine Hernandez
  • Beth Guthrie on The Refugee/Narratives of Fugitive Slaves in Canada by Benjamin Drew
January 28, 2018 Prophecy
  • Herb Wright on No Is Not Enough by Naomi Klein
  • Terri Palmer on Henry David Thoreau's 1849 pamphlet Civil Disobedience
December 17, 2017 Presence
  • Sorlie Madox on The Enjoyment of Tea by Sen Genshitsu
  • October 27: Belonging Lynn Hughes on The Spark: A Mother's Story of Nurturing Genius by Kristine Barnett
November 26, 2017 Identity
  • Helen Kong on One Day We'll All Be Dead And None Of This Will Matter by Scaachi Koul
  • Kimberly Watson on The Saturated Self: Dilemmas of Identity in Contemporary Lifes by Kenneth Gergen
October 28, 2017 Healing
  • Jack Dodds on My People, Myself by Mary Lawrence
  • Ahmed Elham on The Kite Runner edited by Khaled Hosseini
September 24, 2017 Promise/Covenant
  • Peter Hughes on Walking Together by Conrad Wright
  • Gerta Moray on Turning Point: Essays on a New Unitarian Universalism edited by Frederic Muir (ed)
May 28, 2017 Compassion
  • Gillian Burton on The Force of Kindness: Change Your Life with Love and Compassion by Sharon Salzberg
April 23, 2017 Resistance
  • Claude Marchand on Two Years Eight Months and Twenty-Eight Nights by Salman Rushdie
March 26, 2017 Simplicity
  • Lynn Hughes on The Simple Life: Plain Living and High Thinking in America Culture by David Shi
  • Danielle Webber on Everyday Spiritual Practice: Simple Pathways for Enriching Your Life by Scott W. Alexander
February 19, 2017 Love and Justice
  • Nancy Lee on In This Together: Fifteen Stories of Truth and Reconciliation edited by Danielle Metcalfe-Chenail
  • Bill Belfontaine on The Book of Forgiving by Desmond Tutu
January 22, 2017 Creation
  • Fred Lautenschlaeger on Active Hope: How to Face the Mess We're in without Going Crazy by Joanna Macy and Chris Johnstone
  • Ruth Tait on The Innovators: How a Group of Hackers, Geniuses, and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution by Walter Isaacson
December 4, 2016 Expectation
  • Lynn Hughes on Christ for Unitarian Universalists by Scotty McLennan
  • Gerta Moray on Mystical Landscapes exhibit at Art Gallery of Ontario
November 6, 2016 Blessing
  • Lorraine Wilson on Blessings: Prayers and Declarations for a Heartful Life by Julia Cameron
  • Herb Wright on The Memoirs of Hadrian by Marguerite Yourcenaar
October 2, 2016 Letting Go
  • Judy Magney on Learning To Fall - The Blessings of an Imperfect Life by by Philip Simmons
  • Terri Palmer onThe Waste Makers by Vance Packard
September 11, 2016 Invitation
  • Peter Hughes on introductions to UUism
May 1, 2016 Tradition
  • Lynn Hughes on Thoreau as Spiritual Guide and Emerson as Spiritual Guide by Barry Andrews
  • Carol Damioli on the essay Western Secularity by Charles Taylor in Rethinking Secularism, edited by Craig Calhoun et al
April 3, 2016 Revelation
  • Michael Battenberg on The Search for Meaning: A Short History by Dennis Ford
  • Peter Hughes on Revelations: Visions, Prophecy, and Politics in the Book of Revelation by Elaine Pagels
March 6, 2016 Renewal
  • Ellen Campbell on The Selma Awakening by Mark Morrison-Reid
  • Lorraine Wilson on Our Grandchildren Redesigned: Life in the Engineered Society of the Future by Paulette Regan
February 7, 2016 Reconciliation
  • Jeanne VanBronkhorst on her new book Dreams at the End of Life
  • Lee Doran on Unsettling the Settler Within by Paulette Regan
January 10, 2016 Resilience
  • Claude Marchand on An Joseph Anton: A Memoir (2013) by Salmon Rushdie
  • Lee Doran on Antifragile: Things That Gain From Disorder by Nassim Nicholas Taleb (2011)
December 6, 2015 Wonder
  • Stephanie Gannon on An Altar in the World (2010) by Barbara Brown Taylor
  • Gerta Moray on Walden by David Henry Thoreau
November 1, 2015 Integrity
  • Beth Guthrie on The Deserter's Tale by war resister Josh Key (with the help of Lawrence Hill)
  • Gilbert Salgado on The Inconvenient Indian by Thomas King (2012)
October 18, 2015 Grace
  • Tanya Cothran on Everyday Grace: Having Hope, Finding Forgiveness And Making Miracles by Marianne Williamson
  • Claude Marchand on Long Walk to Freedom by Nelson Mandela
September 13 2015 Promise
  • Lynn Hughes on A House for Hope by John Buehrens and Rebecca Ann Parker in Rethinking Secularism, edited by Craig Calhoun et al
  • Peter Hughes on Walking Together by Conrad Wright
May 3, 2015 Story/Stories
  • Fred Lautenschlaeger on Aesop's Fables
  • Claude Marchand on The Truth About Stories (2003) by Thomas King
April 12, 2015 Sustainability
  • Doug Campbell on The End of Growth: Adapting to Our New Economic Reality (2011) by Richard Heinberg
  • Peter Brydon on This Changes Everything by Naomi Klein
March 1, 2015 Freedom
  • Tanya Cothran on The Spirit and Forms of Freedom in On Being Human Religiously by James Luther Adams
February 8, 2015 Evolution
  • Curtis Murphy on Revolutionaries: Unlocking the Cultural and Spiritual Potential of Science's Greatest Idea by Carter Phipps
  • Michael Battenbergon The Third Chimpanzee: The Evolution and Future of the Human Animal (1992, repr 2005) by Jared Diamond
January 11, 2015 Character
  • Daniel Deller on The Soul’s Code by James Hilman
  • Peter Hughes on Character from Emerson’s Essays, Second Series (1844)
December 14, 2015 Embodiment
  • Ben Robins on Body, Spirit and Democracy by Don Hanlon Johnson
  • Gerta Moray on Out of Time: The Pleasures and Perils of Ageing (2013) by Lynn Segal
November 2, 2014 Vulnerability
October 5, 2014 Awakening
  • Lorraine Wilson on Awakening by Surya Das
  • Avril Siddle on For Joshua by Richard Wagamese
September 7, 2014 Kinship
  • Peter Hughes on Universalism: A Family Religion from the Journal of UU History
  • Lynn Hughes on Marmee and Louisa by Eve LaPlante
June 1, 2014 Play
  • Louise Joseph on Stories of the Spirit, Stories of the Heart by Kornfield & Feldman
May 4, 2014 Honesty
  • Doug Campbell on The Secular Conscience: Why Belief Belongs in Public Life by Austin Dacey
  • Daniel Deller on Days of Destruction by Chris Hedges
April 6, 2014 Wonder
March 2, 2014 Knowing
  • Doug Campbell on How the Idea of Religious Toleration Came to the West by Perez Zagorin
  • Peter Hughes on Three Prophets of Religious Liberalism: Channing-Emerson-Parker by Conrad Wright.
February 2, 2014 Passion
January 5, 2014 Discipline
  • Tanya Cothran on Simply Pray by Eric Walker Wikstrom.
  • Meghan Edmonds on Buddhism Without Beliefs by Stephen Batchelor.
November 3, 2013 Courage
  • Michael Battenberg on The Courage To Be by Paul Tillich.
  • Gillian Burton on A Year to Live (1998) by Steven Levine.
October 6, 2013 Purpose
  • Ted Wood on A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose (2006) by Eckhart Tolle.
  • Gerta Moray on The Prophethood of All Believers (1985) by James Luther Adams.
September 9, 2013 Listening
  • Janice Tait on Ego, hunger and aggression (1969) by Nahlah Ayed.
  • Faye Perkins on Here If You Need Me by Kate Braestrup.
June 9, 2013 Perspectives on the Middle East
  • Claude Marchand on A Thousand Farewells by Nahlah Ayed, and The World As It Is by Chris Hedges.
May 5, 2013 Outstanding Unitarian Women
  • Lynn Hughes on The Lives of Margaret Fuller: A Biography by John Matteson.
  • Gerta Moray on Daughter of Boston: The Extraordinary Diary of a Nineteenth-Century Woman by Caroline Healey Dall.
April 28, 2013 Confronting Death
  • Wanda Morris on Death with Dignity: The Case for Legalizing Physician-Assisted Dying and Euthanasia by Robert Orfali.
  • Jeanne VanBronkhorst on Dying Well: Peace and Possibilities at the End of Life by Ira Byock.
April 7, 2013 Life Strategies
  • Stan Yack on The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable by Nassim Nicholas Taleb.
  • Margaret Rao on Navigating the Coming Chaos: A Handbook for Inner Transition by Carolyn Baker.
March 3, 2013 Meditation and the Brain
  • Lorraine Wilson on The Mind's Own Physician: A Scientific Dialogue with the Dalai Lama on the Healing Power of Meditation by Jon Kabat-Zinn.
  • Gillian Burton on Train Your Mind, Change Your Brain: How a New Science Reveals Our Extraordinary Potential to Transform Ourselves by Sharon Begley.
February 3, 2013 Powers of the Unconscious
  • Mary Armstrong discusses her book Trauma Therapist, A Memoir of Healing and Transformation.
  • Gillian Bramwell on Subliminal: How Your Unconscious Mind Rules Your Behaviour by Leonard Mlodivnow.
January 6, 2013 Anthropology of Religion
  • Michael Battenberg on Religion Explained by Pascal Boyer.
  • Jack Dodds on In Gods We Trust: The Evolutionary Landscape of Religion by Scott Atran.
December 2, 2012 The Basis of Morality
  • Fred Lautenschlager on The Righteous Mind by Jonathan Haidt.
  • Doug Campbell on Can We Be Good Without God? by Rob Buckman.
November 4, 2012 The Historic Jesus
  • Peter Hughes on Did Jesus Exist? by Bart Ehrman.
  • Eleanor Johnston on The Meaning of Mary Magdalene: Discovering the Woman at the Heart of Christianity by Cynthia Bourgeault.
June 3, 2012 Liberal Religion Before Alain De Botton
  • Peter Hughes on A People’s History of Unitarian Universalism by John Buehrens.
  • Doug Campbell on God's Dog: Conversations With Coyote by Webster Kitchell.
May 6, 2012 Between Hope and Dismay
  • Claude Marchand on The Better Angels of Our Nature by Stephen Pinker.
  • Doug Campbell on Time for Outrage by Stephane Hessel.
April 1, 2012 Spiritual Journeys
  • Lorraine Wilson on My Spiritual Journey by Dalai Lama.
  • Diane Wagner on My Stroke of Insight: A Brain Scientist's Personal Journey by Jill Bolte Taylor.
March 11, 2012 Religion, Philosophy and Neuroscience
  • Gill Bramwell on Braintrust: What Neuroscience Tells Us About Morality by Patricia S. Churchland.
  • Ted Wood on Why God Won't Go Away, Brain Science & The Biology of Belief by Andrew Newberg, Eugene D'Aquili and Vince Rause.
February 5, 2012 Reflections in Captivity by Social Activists
  • Elizabeth Guthrie on Captivity: 118 Days in Iraq and the Struggle for a World Without War by James Loney.
  • Janet Hall on Even Silence Has an End: My Six Years of Captivity in the Colombian Jungle by Ingrid Betancourt.
January 8, 2012 Unitarians on the Political Path
  • Carl Baar on Stephen Fritchman: The American Unitarians and Communism: A History with Documents by Charles Eddis.
  • Margaret Vandenbrouke on The Spirit Level: Why More Equal Societies Almost Always Do Better by Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett.
December 4, 2011 Unitarian Insights From Science
  • Fred Lautenschlaeger on his new publication The God Deception - Our Sun shines Light on the Path Towards Peace among Abrahamic Religions.
  • Gerta Moray on Emerson: The Mind on Fire by Robert D. Richardson Jr.
November 6, 2011 Our Histories
  • Lynn Hughes on Guarding Sacred Embers: Reflections on Canadian Unitarian and Universalist History [published in 2011 by the Canadian Unitarian and Universalist Historical Society].
  • Janice Tait on Invisible Influence: Claiming Canadian Unitarian and Universalist Women's History ed. Jean Pfleiderer, Heather Fraser Fawcett, and Kathy S. Sage
June 5, 2011 Spiritual Autobiography
  • Lynn Hughes on The Confessions of St. Augustine by Patricia S. Churchland.
  • Gerta Moray on Hundreds and Thousands: the Journals of Emily Carr.
May 1, 2011 National Memory and Social Justice
  • Ronnie Rusk on Long Shadows by Erna Paris by Patricia S. Churchland.
    This book explores how countries manipulate their history, confront painful episodes in their past and try to resolve a sense of guilt and responsibility by bringing about justice.
  • Alan Brand on I Shall Not Hate by Dr. Izeldeed Abuelaish.
    This book argues for implementing tolerance as an alternative to trying to invent justice.
April 3, 2011 Myth and Insight
  • Janice Tait on Women, Androgynes, and Other Mythical Beasts by Wendy Doninger O’Flaherty .
    This book examines conceptions of the relationship between women and men as expressed in the animal symbols and sexual metaphors of Hindu mythology.
  • Lorraine Wilson on The Sh'ma and Its Blessings by Dr. Izeldeed. Abuelaish, an intriguing look at 2.000 years of insight and commentary on the oldest and best known Jewish prayer.
March 6, 2011 Ethics in a Secular Age
  • Fred Lautenschlaeger on The Moral Landscape: How Science Can Determine Human Values by Sam Harris.
  • Sarah Sackville McLauchlan on The End of Ethics in a Technological Society by Lawrence E. Schmidt.
January 9, 2011 Economics and Social Justice
  • Camla Draven on Economics for Everyone by Jim Stanford.
  • Peter Brydon on Empires of Food: Feast, Famine and the Rise and Fall of Civilizations by Evan D.G. Fraser and Andrew Rimas.
June 13, 2010 Buddhist Perspectives
  • Chris Moore on How To Know Yourself by the Dalai Lama.
  • Peter Brydon on Empires of Food: Feast, Famine and the Rise and Fall of Civilizations by Evan D.G. Fraser and Andrew Rimas.
May 2, 2010 Feminism
  • Janice Tait on ReVisions: Seeing Torah Through a Feminist Lens by Rabbi Elise Goldstein.
  • Kate Chung on Raging Grannies
April 11, 2010 Environment and Global Social Issues
  • Claude Marchand on Plan B 4.0: Mobilizing to Save Civilization by Lester Brown.
March 7, 2010 Unitarians and Reformation History
  • Marvin Anderson on Divided by Faith: Religious Conflict and the Practice of Toleration in Early Modern Europe by Benjamin J. Kaplan.
  • Peter Hughes previews his forthcoming book Declaratio: A Revelation of Jesus Christ Son of God by Matteo Gribaldi (previously attributed to Michael Servetus).
February 7, 2010 Meditation and the Brain
  • Lorraine Wilson on My Grandfather's Blessings: Stories of Strength, Refuge and Belonging by Rachel Naomi Remen.
January 10, 2010 Is There Moral Progress?
  • Doug Campbell on Long Shadows: Truth, Lies and History by Erna Paris, a book that confronts the 20th century's worst tragedies.
  • Larry Wulff on In Between: Memoir of an Integration Baby by Mark Morrison-Reed.
December 6, 2009 Liberal Islam
  • Lynn Hughes on on a book of essays on Muslim liberals.
  • Gerta Moray onWestern Muslims and the Future of Islam by Tariq Ramadan.
November 6, 2009 Science and Soul
  • Gill Bramwell onThe Constant Fire: Beyond the Science vs. Religion Debate by Adam Frank.
  • Lorraine Wilson onThe Spiritual Brain: A Neuroscientist's Case for the Existence of the Soul by Mario Beauregard and Denyse O'Leary.
October 4, 2009 Faith and Service
  • June Sanderson on a biography of Lotta Hitschmanova.
  • Eryl Court on a biography of Lester Pearson.
May 3, 2009 The Anthropology of Religion
  • Chiara Catterwell on the University of Toronto’s current course offering on this interesting topic.
April 5, 2009 Social Action – Heeding the Call
  • Kate Chung on Off Our Rockers – and into Trouble: The Story of the Raging Grannies by Alison Acke and Betty Brightwell.
  • Steve Watson on Hope and Despair: My Struggle to Free My Husband, Maher Arar by Mario Monia Mazigh.
March 1, 2009 The Challenge Of Atheism – Some Recent Replies
  • Gerta Moray on I Don’t Believe in Atheists (2008) by Chris Hedges.
  • Doug Campbell on Dawkins' GOD: Genes, Memes, and the Meaning of Life by Alister E. McGrath.
February 1, 2009 What Does the Environment Want?
  • Janice Tait on The Revenge of Gaia by James Lovelock.
  • John Cummings on Heat: How to Stop the Planet From Burning by George Monbiot. [Recent books like An Inconvenient Truth explain what we're doing to cause global warming and the catastrophes it will soon cause. Heat is devoted entirely to answering the question “What do we do to stop it?”]
January 4, 2009 Spirituality and Healing
  • Lorraine Wilson on Kitchen Table Wisdom: Stories That Heal by Rachel Naomi Remen.
  • Gillian Burton on When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult by Pema Chodron.
December 7, 2008 The Art of Union with Reality – A Discussion of Mysticism
  • Lynn Hughes on Practical Mysticism by Evelyn Underhill.
  • Ronnie Rusk on Daoism, A Beginner’s Guide by James Miller.
November 2, 2008 Scientific Hypotheses on Religion
  • Michael Battenberg on Reinventing the Sacred: A New View of Science, Reason and Religion by Stuart Kauffman [Kauffman is a complexity theorist out of Calgary who is interested in the evolution of complex systems].
  • Gill Bramwellon The God Gene: How Faith Is Hardwired Into Our Genes by Dean H. Hamer.
October 6, 2008 Discovering Unitarian History
  • Peter Hughes, editor of the new online Dictionary of Unitarian and Universalist Biography, talks about this publication.
  • Gerta Moray on Unitarians in Canada by Philip Hewett (2nd ed. 1995).
May 4, 2008 Claims of Justice and the Environment
  • Margaret Rao on Blessed Unrest, How the Largest Movement in the World Came into Being and Why No One Saw It Coming by Paul Hawken.
April 6, 2008 What Does Buddhism Offer Unitarians?
  • Janice Tait on Buddha by Karen Armstrong.
  • Lorraine Wilson on Embracing the Beloved: Relationship as a Path of Awakening by Stephen and Ondrea Levine.
February 10, 2008 The Challenge Of Non-Violence and Pacifism
  • Lynn Gordon Hughes on Christian Non-Resistance (1846) by Adin Ballou. [Adin Ballou was a 19th century Unitarian whose writings inspired Tolstoy and Gandhi.]
  • Gerta Moray on on Angela Gordon and Tobias T. Gibson, “The Fist of Pacifism,” from Justice and Violence: Political Violence and Cultural Transformation, edited by Allan Eickelmann et al.
January 6, 2008 Problems with ‘God’
  • Rod McLeod on God is not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything by Christopher Hitchens.
  • Sue McLeod on Letter to a Christian Nation by Sam Harris.
December 9, 2007 Meeting Other Faiths
  • Doug Campbell on Encountering God: A Spiritual Journey from Bozeman to Banaras by Diana Eck.
  • Ellen Campbell on The World's Religions by Huston Smith.
November 4, 2007 The Unfolding of the Sacred in Women
  • Gilliam Bramwell on The Feminine Face of God: The Unfolding of the Sacred in Women by S. R. Anderson & P. Hopkins.
  • Niki de Villiers on The Politics of Women’s Spirituality by Charlene Spretnak.
October 7, 2007 Why Read Unitarian History?
  • Gerta Moray on For Faith and Freedom: A Short History of Unitarianism by Charles A. Howe.
  • Marcia Bell on a book on USA Unitarians/Transcendentalists.