Sunday, March 20, 2011

28 - Stories of AIDS in Africa by Stephanie Nolen

Let's return to the continent of Africa and read stories from 28 - Stories of AIDS in Africa by Stephanie Nolen.

Here's a book summary:
According to UNAIDS, the number of HIV-infected people in Africa is 28 million. But Nolen, veteran Toronto Globe & Mail Africa bureau chief, doesn't believe it: after nine years of reporting on the epidemic, she thinks that number is conservative. Here she offers 28 searing portraits of Africans affected by the deadly virus. 

Scattered across the continent from the slums of Lagos, Nigeria, to the bush in southern Zambia, these Africans present a mosaic of a continent in crisis and a collective cry for help. With a seasoned journalist's finesse, Nolen effortlessly weaves technical information—health statistics, disease data, NGO reports—into these deeply intimate glimpses of people often overlooked in the flood of contemporary media.

We'll be discussing this book in the Lower Haight neighborhood at Oakside Cafe on Sun April 17, 2011 at 2pm.

May - The Divine Husband by Francisco Goldman - this is quite a long book, so when you have a chance to start reading this book after April's read, I recommend an early head start.
Happy Reading!

Complexities surrounding a generation of a Palestine family

This story beautifully written by Susan Abulhawa brought us the insights of an emotional journey of Amal Abulheja. Starting from the ancestral history of her grandfather and the origins of the family's land to contemporary USA where Amal manages to settle in exile, after growing up in a refugee camp in Jenin. 

The richness of Amal's childhood as she befriends Huda, plays the messenger role for her brother Yousef as he delivers love letters to his girlfriend Fatima, questions her mother Dalia's love and lives a daily morning ritual with her father Baba as they read books together, fostering the importance of education that will be prevalent for the rest of her life. Living in an unpredictable environment where life can be taken so quickly, every moment Amal lives is deepened and seized. Her internal conflicts rises as she starts losing one by one her family and it's hard to stop reading what will come next in her life. 

This generational story is a page turner where Abulhawa weaves effectively historical facts and story-telling culminating into a wonderful precious read, reminding us that some of us on the planet are still living in high-risk conflict zones.

Mornings in Jenin by Susan Abulhawa

Our next book club is going to be focusing on the Israel-Palestine conflict through the book "Mornings in Jenin" by Susan Abulhawa. 
Here's a book summary:
Abulhawa’s debut novel is a powerful portrayal of what might be labeled the “other side” of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, the viewpoint of Palestinian refugees uprooted in 1948, when Israel became a state. Such as the Abulheja family, who were forced from the village of Ein Hod to a refugee camp in Jenin.
We meet twin brothers Ismael, who is kidnapped by an Israeli soldier and raised Jewish, and Yousef, who becomes filled with hatred and joins the PLO. Through the eyes of Amal, their sister born in Jenin in 1955, we travel through three decades of conflict, starting in June 1967 and the Six Days’ War, during which Jenin is bombed.