Have you ever read a book that changed the way you looked at life? And were you so struck by the characters in the book that you wanted to find more information? After finding that information were you transformed?
Libraries transform and this transforming experience is what reading has been about for the Heatherdowns Branch book discussions. And just like the entire Toledo Lucas County Public Library system (TLCPL), it has remained open to all and has been so much more than just books.
After reading the book, participants inquired about the parts that had the most impact on them. Doaa, the main character had spent days barely alive in the ocean while holding two orphaned babies for days before she was rescued.
How could she hold those babies in that water?
Her fiancée died in that water?
And while the details of Doaa’s story served as one example of immigrants fleeing Syria and the refugee crisis as a whole, book discussion participants were also curious about small things such as:
What did Doaa look like?
What kind of cultural expectations were there for her?
To answer these questions, the book discussion participants were encouraged to explore the Library’s subscription databases or connect to the TLCPL Wi-Fi network to find additional information about the author online. The Culturegrams database was especially helpful, because more information could be gathered to gain a deeper understanding of the Doaa’s culture.
Participants were fascinated by the library smartboard, as they engaged each other in questions about the history and culture of Syria. They discussed their memories about news stories of the events and commented on how much the library has to offer. The participants learned more about the main character in the book and the databases, information technology that the Library offers. They were transformed, because libraries transform.
Library Book Groups
Book groups are offered at 14 of our 20 locations. We also offer book groups on baseball, cookbooks, mystery and science fiction. If you would like to join one of the many TLCPL Book Groups, check out our Library Groups page.
After reading this blog post, you may be wondering …
When does the next Heatherdowns Branch book discussion meet?
Heatherdowns Book Discussion March 27, 2018 | 1:30 p.m. | Heatherdowns
What book will they discuss?
“The Ministry of Utmost Happiness” by Arundhati Roy
“The Ministry of Utmost Happiness” takes us on an intimate journey of many years across the Indian subcontinent—from the cramped neighborhoods of Old Delhi and the roads of the new city to the mountains and valleys of Kashmir and beyond, where war is peace and peace is war.
It is an aching love story and a decisive remonstration, a story told in a whisper, in a shout, through unsentimental tears and sometimes with a bitter laugh. Each of its characters is indelibly, tenderly rendered. Its heroes are people who have been broken by the world they live in and then rescued, patched together by acts of love—and by hope.
The tale begins with Anjum—who used to be Aftab—unrolling a threadbare Persian carpet in a city graveyard she calls home. We encounter the odd, unforgettable Tilo and the men who loved her—including Musa, sweetheart and ex-sweetheart, lover and ex-lover; their fates are as entwined as their arms used to be and always will be. We meet Tilo’s landlord, a former suitor, now an intelligence officer posted to Kabul. And then we meet the two Miss Jebeens: the first a child born in Srinagar and buried in its overcrowded Martyrs’ Graveyard; the second found at midnight, abandoned on a concrete sidewalk in the heart of New Delhi.
As this ravishing, deeply humane novel braids these lives together, it reinvents what a novel can do and can be. “The Ministry of Utmost Happiness” demonstrates on every page the miracle of Arundhati Roy’s storytelling gifts.
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