Thursday, January 28, 2016

February 2016 - A Women in the Crossfire (Syria)

Very excited that this month we'll be reading a book that shares a personal account on Syria through the book "A Woman in the Crossfire; Diaries of the Syrian Revolution, "by Samar Yazbek.
 
Here's the Book Summary:
 
A well-known novelist and journalist from the coastal city of Jableh, Samar Yazbek witnessed the beginning four months of the uprising first-hand and actively participated in a variety of public actions and budding social movements. Throughout this period she kept a diary of personal reflections on, and observations of, this historic time. Because of the outspoken views she published in print and online, Yazbek quickly attracted the attention and fury of the regime, vicious rumours started to spread about her disloyalty to the homeland and the Alawite community to which she belongs.
 
The lyrical narrative describes her struggle to protect herself and her young daughter, even as her activism propels her into a horrifying labyrinth of insecurity after she is forced into living on the run and detained multiple times, excluded from the Alawite community and renounced by her family, her hometown and even her childhood friends. With rare empathy and journalistic prowess Samar Yazbek compiled oral testimonies from ordinary Syrians all over the country.
 
These diaries will inspire all those who read them, and challenge the world to look anew at the trials and tribulations of the Syrian uprising.
 
We'll be meeting in the West Portal neighborhood on Sunday February 28 at 2pm.
 
Next Books To read:
March: Zami, A new Spelling of my Name by Audre Lorde
April: Compañeras Zapatistas Women Stories by Hilary Klein

Sunday, January 3, 2016

January 2016 - The Beauty of Humanity Movement

Welcome 2016!
 
We are starting 2016 with a discussion on Vietname through the book "The Beauty of

Humanity Movement" by Camilla Gibb.
 
Here's a Book Summary:
 
Tu’ is a young tour guide working in Hanoi for a company called New Dawn. While he leads tourists through the city, including American vets on “war tours,” he starts to wonder what it is they are seeing of Vietnam–and what they miss entirely.
 
Maggie, who is Vietnamese by birth but has lived most her life in the U.S., has returned to her country of origin in search of clues to her dissident father’s disappearance during the war. Holding the story together is Old Man Hung, who has lived through decades of political upheaval and has still found a way to feed hope to his community of pondside dwellers.
 
This is a keenly observed and skillfully wrought novel about the reverberation of conflict through generations, the enduring legacy of art, and the redemption and renewal of long-lost love.
 
We will be discussing in the Russian Hill neighborhood on Sunday January 24 at 2pm.
 
Next Books to Read:
February: A woman in the crossfires: Diaries of the Syrian Revolution by Samar Yazbek
March: Zami, A new Spelling of my Name by Audre Lorde
April: Compañeras Zapatistas Women Stories by Hilary Klein

Saturday, November 28, 2015

December 2015 - Random Family: Love, Drugs, Trouble and Coming of Age in the Bronx

We're celebrating the end of the year with a book based on true events and based in the US called "Random Family, Love, Drugs, Trouble and Coming of Age in the Bronx" by Adrian Nicole LeBlanc.
 
Here's a Book Summary:
 
In her extraordinary bestseller, Adrian Nicole LeBlanc immerses readers in the intricacies of the ghetto, revealing the true sagas lurking behind the headlines of gangsta glamour, gold-drenched drug dealers, and street-corner society. Focusing on two romances - Jessica's dizzying infatuation with a hugely successful young heroin dealer, Boy George, and Coco's first love with Jessica's little brother, Cesar - Random Family is the story of young people trying to outrun their destinies. Jessica and Boy George ride the wild adventure between riches and ruin, while Coco and Cesar stick closer to the street, all four caught in a precarious dance between survival and death. Friends get murdered; the DEA and FBI investigate Boy George; Cesar becomes a fugitive; Jessica and Coco endure homelessness, betrayal, the heartbreaking separation of prison, and, throughout it all, the insidious damage of poverty.
 
Charting the tumultuous cycle of the generations - as girls become mothers, boys become criminals, and hope struggles against deprivation - LeBlanc slips behind the cold statistics and sensationalism and comes back with a riveting, haunting, and true story.
 
We will be meeting at the Embarcadero on Sunday December 13 at 3pm - Please NOTE the Time CHANGE to one hour later than usual.
 
Next Books To Read in 2016:
Jan 2016 - The Beauty of Humanity Movement by Camilla Gibb
 
Others to stay tune for 2016
- Compañeras - Zapatistas Women Stories by Hilary Klein
- A Woman in the Crossfire Diaries of the Syrian Revolution by Samar Yazbik
- My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante, Ann Goldstein

Sunday, October 18, 2015

November 2015: Witness the Night

Very excited to read a novel set in India next. We will be discussing the book "Witness the Night" by Kishwar Desai on Sunday November 22.

Here's a Book Summary:
In a small town in the heart of India, a young girl is found tied to a bed inside a townhouse where 13 people lie dead. The girl is alive, but she has been beaten and abused. She is held in the local prison, awaiting interrogation for the murders she is believed by the local people to have committed.

We will be meeting in the Richmond neighborhood on Sunday November 22 at 2pm.

Next Books to Read:
December: Random Family: Love, Drugs, Trouble, and Coming of Age in the Bronx by Adrian Nicole LeBlanc

Stay tune for books to read in 2016! 
Includes:
  • The Beauty of Humanity Movement by Camilla Gibb 
  • Compañeras - Zapatistas Women Stories by Hilary Klein 
  • A Woman in the Crossfire Diaries of the Syrian Revolution by Samar Yazbik
  • Everything I never told you by Celest Ng 
  • My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante, Ann Goldstein

October 2015 - What Tears Us Apart

This month of October we'll be discussing the book "What Tears Us Apart" by Deborah Cloyed.
 
Here's a Book Summary:

 
Love lives in the most dangerous places of the heart
 
The real world. That's what Leda desperately seeks when she flees her life of privilege to travel to Kenya. She finds it at a boys' orphanage in the slums of Nairobi. What she doesn't expect is to fall for Ita, the charismatic and thoughtful man who gave up his dreams to offer children a haven in the midst of turmoil.
 
Their love should be enough for one another-it embodies the soul-deep connection both have always craved. But it is threatened by Ita's troubled childhood friend, Chege, a gang leader with whom he shares a complex history. As political unrest reaches a boiling point and the slum erupts in violence, Leda is attacked and forced to put her trust in Chege, the one person who otherwise inspires anything but.
 
In the aftermath of Leda's rescue, disturbing secrets are exposed, and Leda, Ita and Chege are each left grappling with their own regret and confusion. Their worlds upturned, they must now face the reality that sometimes the most treacherous threat is not the world outside, but the demons within.
 
We will be meeting on Sunday October 18 at 2pm in the Alamo Square neighborhood.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

WOW Book Club - September 2015

We are now going to Afghanistan through the view of an American woman in our September WOW book club discussion, with the book "Kabul Beauty School" by Deborah Rodriguez
 
Here's a Book Summary:


 
Soon after the fall of the Taliban, in 2001, Deborah Rodriguez went to Afghanistan as part of a group offering humanitarian aid to this war-torn nation. Surrounded by men and women whose skills–as doctors, nurses, and therapists–seemed eminently more practical than her own, Rodriguez, a hairdresser and mother of two from Michigan, despaired of being of any real use. Yet she soon found she had a gift for befriending Afghans, and once her profession became known she was eagerly sought out by Westerners desperate for a good haircut and by Afghan women, who have a long and proud tradition of running their own beauty salons. Thus an idea was born.
 
With the help of corporate and international sponsors, the Kabul Beauty School welcomed its first class in 2003. Well meaning but sometimes brazen, Rodriguez stumbled through language barriers, overstepped cultural customs, and constantly juggled the challenges of a postwar nation even as she learned how to empower her students to become their families’ breadwinners by learning the fundamentals of coloring techniques, haircutting, and makeup.
 
Yet within the small haven of the beauty school, the line between teacher and student quickly blurred as these vibrant women shared with Rodriguez their stories and their hearts: the newlywed who faked her virginity on her wedding night, the twelve-year-old bride sold into marriage to pay her family’s debts, the Taliban member’s wife who pursued her training despite her husband’s constant beatings. Through these and other stories, Rodriguez found the strength to leave her own unhealthy marriage and allow herself to love again, Afghan style.
 
We will be meeting on Sunday September 27 at 2pm in the Castro neighborhood at the Hearth Coffee Roasters.
 
Next Book to Read:

 
October - What tears us apart by Deborah Cloyed (Kenya)
 
November - Witness the Night by Kishwar Desai (India)
 
December - The Beauty of Humanity Movement by Camila Gibb (Vietnam)

Saturday, August 1, 2015

August 2015: Island of a Thousand Mirrors

Happy Summer Time!
 
In August we'll be visitng Sri Lanka to discuss a book written by local Bay Area author Nayomi Munaweera called Island of a Thousand Mirrors.
 
Here's a Book Summary: 

 
Island of a Thousand Mirrors follows the fate of two families, one Tamil, one Sinhala as they straddle opposite sides of the long and brutal Sri Lankan civil war.
 
Narrated by the eldest daughter of each family, the story explores how each woman negotiates war, migration, love, exile, and belonging. At its root, it s a story of a fragmented nation struggling to find its way to a new beginning.
 
See you on Sunday August 16 at 2pm, at Crossroads Cafe in the SoMA area at Delancy and Brannan Street.
 
Next Book To Read:
September - Kabul Beauty School by Deborah Rodriguez