Fall ’21 Book Club Announcement
Follow the Flock: How Sheep Shaped Human Civilization
An addictively free-ranging survey of the massive impact that the humble and lovable sheep have had on human history.
From the plains of ancient Mesopotamia to the rolling hills of medieval England to the vast sheep farms of modern-day Australia, the domesticated ungulates of the genus Ovis—sheel—have been central to the human story.
Starting with our Neolithic ancestors’ first forays into sheep-rearing nearly 10,000 years ago, these remarkable animals have fed us, clothed us, changed our diet and languages, helped us to win wars, decorated our homes, and financed the conquest of large swathes of the earth. Enormous fortunes and new, society-changing industries have been made from the fleeces of sheep, and cities shaped by shepherds’ markets and meat trading.
Sally Coulthard weaves the rich and fascinating story of sheep into a vivid and colorful tapestry, thickly threaded with engaging anecdotes and remarkable ovine facts, whose multiple strands reflect the deep penetration of these woolly animals into every aspect of human society and culture.
How does “virtual” book club work?
Many of you have joined us in the past for Virtual Book Club so this will be a review, but if you are inviting a friend to join, or this is your first time thinking of joining in, please find below some common questions we’ve tried to answer ahead of time for you. We’ve also included a link to our video library where you can access past video discussions to get a sense of our format.
Facebook LIVE Videos
Where do I get my own copy of the book?
If you have a copy already, you’re ready to go! You can order it right here from
Red Stone Glen
This year we will wrap up our discussion a week before the United States celebrates Thanksgiving. This year we will be donating a percentage of the book sales to Heifer International. Our goal is to raise enough funds to gift three sheep to those in need.
The wool sheep provide is a valuable resource, providing warm clothing for families and children living in harsh environments. Entire communities depend on sheep for their livelihood. By donating sheep to a community it provides:
- Steady, dependable income
- Community sustainability
- Boosts income through sales of extra wool
- Enable families to pass on the Gift to others quickly
- Provides warm clothing and bedding for families living in harsh environments
- Nutrition through meat and milk
- Education and training
- Fertilizer for other crops
Sheep can graze the hilliest, rockiest pastures unsuitable for other livestock. A sheep donation makes a perfect gift – sheep are adaptable and are able to survive nearly anywhere in the world.
How will the book club work?
Each week we’ll read two short chapters, in preparation for discussion and sharing in our Facebook Live chat. Prior to our first meeting, review the schedule and have the first reading completed on your own in order to participate in discussions.
Do I need to have a Facebook account to participate?
No. You just need to go to our Red Stone Glen Facebook page and click on the Live link to join in the conversation. If you arrive to the page and you do not see the link blinking “LIVE” just hold tight and we’ll begin our live stream shortly.
What if I can’t make it to the Facebook Live get together?
No problem! Every Live discussion will be archived and available on our Facebook page under “videos.” Book discussion videos will be archived within 48 hours of the live broadcast once we begin.
How many times will Virtual Book Club Meet?
We’ll meet once a week for 8 weeks. Discussions will be LIVE on Wednesday evenings at 7 pm.
Where can I find discussion questions, and where can I ask my own questions?
We encourage you to ask questions and offer feedback, engaging with other book club members, in the comments section for each chapter. Our friend Deb Fingerlow will be joining us once again, posting links in the comment sections and answering questions while we are streaming live. We will continue to monitor feedback and questions for the week following.
Do I need to register to participate?
No registration is necessary for the weekly book discussion group, and there is no cost to participate. How easy is that?!
Why belong to a book club?
For the same reason we come together to learn to weave. For knowledge. For community. For connection. So, do your reading, brew a cuppa tea or coffee, and come join us. And don’t forget to share with your friends and guild members so they can join in too.
We will be meeting weekly beginning October 6th on Wednesday evenings at 7 pm. We hope that you are able to join us every week, but certainly understand if your schedule does not permit you to be there. This is the joy of this format utilizing Facebook live, if you are unable to attend live the videos are all saved for you to enjoy at a time that works best for you.
- Week 1 October 6th
- Chapter 1 – How to Get a Sheep to Stand Still- A man buried with a fox, a breastfed lamb and the secrets of ancient wee
- Chapter 2 – Wool’s Scaly Secret- A 2,400-year-old woman frozen in time, fireproof underpants and corsets for Roman soldiers
- Week 2 October 13th
- Chapter 3 – Why Some sheep are so Rooed- A mummy’s tattoos, the invention of scissors and a ram on the run
- Chapter 4 – Tough as Old Boots- Lactose intolerance, Cyclops the cheese maker and a sheep with two heads
- Week 3 October 20th
- Chapter 5 – Rhymes and Ridiculous Cures- Bumfits, black sheep and the wrong star sign
- Chapter 6 – Mr. and Mrs. Bo-Peep- Shepherd wanted, blasted sheep and the saving grace of crushed testicles
- Week 4 October 27th
- Chapter 7 – Dogs and Drovers- Come By, Corgis and Bank of Black Sheep
- Chapter 8 – Scouring and Spinning- Fairies, fleece grease and extra soft loo roll
- Week 5 November 3rd
- Chapter 9 – Knit for Victory- The world’s oldest socks, workhouses and how wool helped win the war
- Chapter 10 – ‘Sheepe Hath Payed For It All’- Wool Churches, white monks and the crime of owling
- Week 6 November 10th
- Chapter 11 – Sheep Devour People- Ghost ships, green cheese and ‘Get off my land”
- Chapter 12 – Spinning a Yarn- Fisherman’s jumpers, men in tights and a famous execution
- Week 7 November 17th
- Chapter 13 – Mills and Boom- White slavery, wool-lined coffins and ‘la maladie de Bradford’
- Chapter 14 – Up, Up and Away- Bad science, sex and sheep in space (PG-13 discussions)