'Praying for Sheetrock' BookTalk: The Advocates for Human Rights' book club recommends this timely book about voting rights
FFI: Join The Advocates for a panel discussion on voting rights, both in a contemporary and historical context.
What: Book Group: "Praying for Sheetrock" by Melissa Fay Greene grapples with issues of voting rights and disenfranchisement that still plague our society today. This book is a must-read before the upcoming election!
When: Sept. 11, 2012, Noon - 1 p.m.
Where: The Advocates for Human Rights, 330 - 2nd Ave. S., Suite 800, Minneapolis
The Advocates for Human Rights book club focuses on literature that deals with some of life's most pressing questions and complex social issues. The group started in 2010 and meets about five times a year, over lunch, at The Advocates' office in downtown Minneapolis.
What book by a woman have you recently read?
"They Poured Fire on Us From the Sky" co-authored by Judy A. Bernstein and three of the "Lost Boys from Sudan." The book chronicles heartbreaking stories of the children's exposure to, and flight from, civil war. Threaded throughout are passages that show the goodness in humanity, even in the midst of brutality.
What book by a woman recently sparked a great discussion?
"Sarah's Key" by Tatiana de Rosnay tells the story of a journalist who uncovers the story of a Sarah, a girl swept up in the Vel' d'Hiv' roundup in Paris during World War II. The book is about personal trials, as well as atrocities that shook the world community. It sparked a discussion of the Holocaust, which was the catalyst for the drafting of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. We talked about the lasting impact of trauma during war, and after a war has ended, after people find safety or escape persecution, physical, mental and emotional scars remain. "What is our responsibility today?" After all this time after the horror of World War II and a vow to never again let this happen, we have failed to create an international response to genocide.
What book would your group most recommend?
"Do They Hear You When You Cry" by Fauziya Kassindja is a true story of one of the landmark cases that decided how courts deal with women fleeing female genital mutilation (FGM). It is also a story of the U.S. detention system, revealing truths so shocking they will surely alter the reader's perceptions of what we stand for as a country.
"I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings" by Maya Angelou and "What the Body Remembers" by Shauna Singh Baldwin are also on our "Recommended Reads" book list for 2012.
What questions have you discovered that incite the best discussion?
The Advocates makes a point of writing its own discussion questions and posting them on its website so that individuals can take its book lists and human rights discussion guides to their own book clubs.
One of the magical things about literature is that we are able to be inside of another person's experience, and it is human nature to try to connect to that. Articulating how we associate while reading a book allows us to better understand our own relationship to the content, and offers glimpses of others' responses, which can build empathy and illuminate new ways of seeing the world and each other.