All St. Paul Reads 2016: Flight Behavior

News | January 1, 2016

Flight Behavior, a novel from American author and biologist Barbara Kingsolver, is the 2016 All St. Paul Reads selection.

Discussion about the book, set in an Appalachian town in Tennessee, will take place on Thursday, Feb. 4, at 6-8 p.m., in the Library Commons. An old-fashioned church supper, courtesy of the Book Corner, will begin the evening. Sign up here, or outside the Book Corner. The event is free.

Flight Behavior tells the story of Dellarobia Turnbow, a young mother trapped in rural poverty, who discovers millions of monarch butterflies glowing like a “lake of fire” in a pasture. That vision and its aftermath become a wake-up call about climate change for an Appalachian community. It also marks the beginning of a new life for the main character.

“A small shift between cloud and sun altered the daylight and the whole landscape intensified, brightening before her eyes. The forest blazed with its own internal flame. ‘Jesus,’ she said, not calling for help. She and Jesus weren’t that close, but putting her voice in the world because nothing else present made sense. The sun slipped out by another degree, passing its warmth across the land and the mountain seemed to explode with light.”

Dellarobia, Kingsolver says in an interview with NPR, “takes it as a miracle and she turns around and marches back and picks up her kids and tries to keep this a secret.” But the secret comes out.

“Half the people there think it’s a miracle from God and the other half think it’s a very disastrous consequence of climate change. And scientists come in and tourists and the media and all kinds of people trying to exploit the opportunity,” Kingsolver said.

The book is a New York Times bestseller and Washington Post Best Book of the Year. Flight Behavior is available for purchase in the Book Corner.

Dinner and Discussion

Thursday, February 4, 6-8 p.m.

Gather in the Library Commons for dinner and discussion focused on faith, climate change, and poverty. Dinner, courtesy of the Book Corner, will begin the evening. Sign up online at:, or outside the Book Corner.

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