Thursday, November 29, 2007

South End Library Book Group: Awesome

On Monday I sped-read Barack Obama's memoir for the book discussion at South End Library. The book was much better than I expected. Obama wrote it 12 years ago, when he had just finished up being president of the Harvard Law Review, so it isn't a smarmy political rah-rah book. It's a memoir, written before thoughts of Presidency, so it is incredibly* honest and revealing. I only got to p. 70 ish, but I'm continuing to read it each night... at regular speed.

The book discussion was awesome. There were 16 or 17 of us total, the perfect number. I was a little anxious because I was late (got lost), and it's embarrassing to walk into a group that's already seated and talking. Well, I got there, and there was food! The group does a little potluck, um, yum, so I'll know to bring something next time. We got settled and jumped right into reactions to the book. Like the best book groups, people were opinionated but respectful, full of humor, and willing to address complicated issues. The discussion leaders were excellent moderators and kept the discussion lively yet focused. It was like being in a really cool English class.

Obama's book was part of the South End Library's "African and African-American Authors at the South End Branch" series; the next book is Freshwater Road by Denise Nicholas on Dec 17. I don't like fiction, but I'll read it so I can be part of this group again. By the way, the Ferg is retooling their website, so maybe in the future there will be a way for me to give you the calendar link and have the info about the event show up without you having to click dates or links yourself.

If you go to the library, be aware that it's in the CTE Building. When I drove up at night, the place did not look like a library. It was dark out, and the library is set back from the road, in what looks like an industrial building. All I saw was a tall chainlink fence and a blocky building. I was confused, but then I spotted the CTE sign, which the South End library site had mentioned. The library itself is quite cozy.

*When I say "incredibly" honest, I'm not using that adverb (it is an adverb) lightly. I mean to say that it's hard to believe that such a book exists, that a politician exists who would share ideas about himself like this. It's like... I actually know what he believes in. How's that for a novel idea?

Speaking of novels, here's a description of the next book from the Ferg site:
"Celeste Tyree, a young black collegian, leaves Michigan for Mississippi in the summer of 1964 to help found a Freedom School and a voter registration project. As Freedom Summer unfolds, Celeste confronts not only the political realities of race and poverty in this tiny town, but also truths about herself and her own family."
and, "New participants welcome. No registration necessary." It's at 7 pm!


Anonymous said...

What are they reading next?

Anonymous said...

Duh, huh. It's right there! What an ass I am!