Tri-State FreeReaders

The Tri-State FreeReaders is a monthly book discussion group that explores religious, atheistic and scientific themes. Covering topics such as climate change, morality and purpose, the group has read the likes of Dan Barker and Naomi Klein among others. New members are always welcome.


Upcoming Discussions

Beyond Belief: My Secret Life Inside Scientology and My Harrowing Escape

by Jenna Miscavige Hill

July 21, 2016

Jenna Miscavige Hill, niece of Church of Scientology leader David Miscavige, was raised as a Scientologist but left the controversial religion in 2005. In Beyond Belief, she shares her true story of life inside the upper ranks of the sect, details her experiences as a member Sea Org—the church's highest ministry, speaks of her "disconnection" from family outside of the organization, and tells the story of her ultimate escape.


Library availability: Clermont, Hamilton, Boone, Campbell, Kenton


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Convicting the Innocent: Where Criminal Prosectutions Go Wrong

by Brandon Garrett

August 18, 2016

DNA exonerations have shattered confidence in the criminal justice system by exposing how often we have convicted the innocent and let the guilty walk free. In this unsettling in-depth analysis, Brandon Garrett examines what went wrong in the cases of the first 250 wrongfully convicted people to be exonerated by DNA testing.


Library availability: None - see Amazon or ask your library to inter-library loan it


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When Breath Becomes Air

by Paul Kalanithi

September 15, 2016

At the age of thirty-six, on the verge of completing a decade’s worth of training as a neurosurgeon, Paul Kalanithi was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer. One day he was a doctor treating the dying, and the next he was a patient struggling to live. And just like that, the future he and his wife had imagined evaporated. When Breath Becomes Air chronicles Kalanithi’s transformation from a naïve medical student “possessed,” as he wrote, “by the question of what, given that all organisms die, makes a virtuous and meaningful life” into a neurosurgeon at Stanford working in the brain, the most critical place for human identity, and finally into a patient and new father confronting his own mortality.


Library availability: Lawrenceburg (IN), Clermont, Hamilton, Boone, Campbell, Kenton


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Previous Discussions

The Boom: How Fracking Ignited the American Energy Revolution and Changed the World

by Russel Gold

June 16, 2016

First invented in 1947, hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, has not only become a major source of energy, it is changing the way we use energy, and the energy we use. It is both a threat and a godsend for the environment, and it is leading the revival of manufacturing in the United States.


Library availability: Hamilton, Kenton


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Beyond: Our Future In Space

by Chris Impey

May 19, 2016

Human exploration has been an unceasing engine of technological progress, from the first homo sapiens to leave our African cradle to a future in which mankind promises to settle another world. Beyond tells the epic story of humanity leaving home―and how humans will soon thrive in the vast universe beyond the earth.


Library availability: Hamilton, Kenton, Campbell


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Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life

by Barbara Kingsolver

April 21, 2016

Author Barbara Kingsolver and her family abandoned the industrial-food pipeline to live a rural life—vowing that, for one year, they’d only buy food raised in their own neighborhood, grow it themselves, or learn to live without it. Part memoir, part journalistic investigation, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle is an enthralling narrative that will open your eyes in a hundred new ways to an old truth: You are what you eat.


Library availability: Dearborn (Lawrenceburg), Hamilton, Clermont, Boone, Kenton, Campbell


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Religion for Atheists: A Non-believer's Guide to the Uses of Religion

by Alain De Botton

March 17, 2016

What if religions are neither all true nor all nonsense? Alain de Botton’s bold and provocative book argues that we can benefit from the wisdom and power of religion—without having to believe in any of it.


Library availability: Dearborn (Lawrenceburg), Campbell, Kenton, Clermont Hamilton counties


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Islam and the Future of Tolerance 

by Sam Harris and Maajid Nawaz

February 18, 2016

In this short book, Sam Harris and Maajid Nawaz invite you to join an urgently needed conversation: Is Islam a religion of peace or war? Is it amenable to reform? Why do so many Muslims seem drawn to extremism? What do words like Islamism, jihadism, and fundamentalism mean in today’s world?

Library Availability: Hamilton and Kenton.


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Fighting God: An Atheist Manifesto for a Religious World

by David Silverman 

January 21, 2016
"Fighting God is a firebrand manifesto from one of the most recognizable faces of atheism. In his book, Silverman-a walking, talking atheist billboard known for his appearances on Fox News-discusses the effectiveness, ethics and impact of the in-your-face-atheist who refuses to be silent." 

Library Availability: The Cincinnati library (PLCH) has started carrying Fighting God. The book released 12/1 - encourage your local library to buy it by requesting they purchase a copy!


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The Swerve: How the World Became Modern

by Stephen Greenblatt 

December 17, 2015
"One of the world's most celebrated scholars, Stephen Greenblatt has crafted both an innovative work of history and a thrilling story of discovery, in which one manuscript, plucked from a thousand years of neglect, changed the course of human thought and made possible the world as we know it." 

Library Availability: Clermont, Hamilton, Boone, Campbell, Kenton, Dearborn (Lawrenceburg) 


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The Bonobo and the Atheist: In Search of Humanism Among the Primates

by Frans de Waal 

November 19, 2015

"In this lively and illuminating discussion of his landmark research, esteemed primatologist Frans de Waal argues that human morality is not imposed from above but instead comes from within. Moral behavior does not begin and end with religion but is in fact a product of evolution." 


Library Availability: Clermont, Hamilton, Campbell 

This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. Climate

by Naomi Klein 

October 15, 2015
"In This Changes Everything Naomi Klein argues that climate change isn’t just another issue to be neatly filed between taxes and health care. It’s an alarm that calls us to fix an economic system that is already failing us in many ways. Klein meticulously builds the case for how massively reducing our greenhouse emissions is our best chance to simultaneously reduce gaping inequalities, re-imagine our broken democracies, and rebuild our gutted local economies. She exposes the ideological desperation of the climate-change deniers, the messianic delusions of the would-be geoengineers, and the tragic defeatism of too many mainstream green initiatives. And she demonstrates precisely why the market has not—and cannot—fix the climate crisis but will instead make things worse, with ever more extreme and ecologically damaging extraction methods, accompanied by rampant disaster capitalism." 

Library Availability: Clermont, Hamilton, Campbell, Boone, Kenton, Dearborn (Lawrenceburg) 

Life Driven Purpose: How an Atheist Finds Meaning

by Dan Barker 

September 17, 2015
"Former pastor Dan Barker eloquently, powerfully, and rationally discusses issues of meaning and purpose in Life Driven Purpose. Offering words of enrichment, emancipation, and inspiration, he reminds us how millions of atheists lead happy, loving, moral, and purpose-filled lives. Practicing what he preaches, he also demonstrates through his own personal journey that life is valuable for its own sake-that meaning and purpose come not from above, but from within." 

Library Availability: Hamilton, Campbell 

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