Sunday, November 24, 2013

WOW Book Club - December 2013 - Love InshAllah

Let's celebrate our final WOW Book Club discussion this December 2013, which is taking place on a SATURDAY - please don't forget!

Our final discussion will focus on Love InshAllah: The Secret Love Lives of American Muslim Women, short stories collected by Nura Maznavi & Ayesha Mattu - both local authors!

Here's a Book Summary:
In this groundbreaking collection, American Muslim women writers sweep aside stereotypes to share their real-life tales of flirting, dating, longing, and sex. Their stories show just how varied the search for love can be—from singles' events and college flirtations to arranged marriages, all with a uniquely Muslim twist.

These heartfelt tales are filled with passion and hope, loss and longing. One follows the quintessential single woman in the big city as she takes a chance on a Muslim speed-dating event. Another tells of a shy student from a liberal college town who falls in love online and must reveal her secret to her conservative family. A third recounts a Southern girl who surprises herself by agreeing to an arranged marriage, unexpectedly finding the love of her life.

These compelling stories of love and romance create an irresistible balance of heart-warming and tantalizing, always revealing and deeply relatable.

We will be meeting Saturday December 14 @ 2pm at Cafe Murano in the Lower Pacific Heights neighbourhood.

Exhibits on Kibbutz History at Contemporary Jewish Museum, San Francisco

Today's discussion included perspectives on displacement, finding one's own identity, adaptability, survivor's mode and others, among a context of the final days of British occupation of Palestine in 1946.
A focal topic in our discussion was life in a kibbutz and how it has developed to current times - fortunately, there was a suggestion to encourage readers to go to the Contemporary Jewish Museum, which has two exhibits on the kibbutz - one exhibit ends in January 2014 and the other in July 2014!
Find more information at this link:
Contemporary Jewish Museum is near the POWELL Muni/BART station at 736 Mission Street (between 3rd and 4th street).

Friday, November 22, 2013

November 2013: When I lived in Modern Times

Thanks to everyone who came to the book discussion on Sri Lanka - now we're going to the Middle East region (London, Palestine, Israel) and discuss next When I lived in Modern Times by Linda Grant.

Here's a Book Summary:
In the spring of 1946, Evelyn Sert stands on the deck of a ship bound for Palestine. For the twenty-year-old from London, it is a time of adventure and change when all things seem possible.

Swept up in the spirited, chaotic churning of her new, strange country, she joins a kibbutz, then moves on to the teeming metropolis of Tel Aviv, to find her own home and a group of friends as eccentric and disparate as the city itself. She falls in love with a man who is not what he seems when she becomes an unwitting spy for a nation fighting to be born.

When I Lived in Modern Times is "an unsentimental coming-of-age story of both a country and a young immigrant . . . that provides an unforgettable glimpse of a time and place rarely observed."

Winner of the Orange Prize for Fiction!

We'll be meeting at Cumaica coffeeshop at 200 Clement Street in the Inner Richmond neighborhood on Sun Nov 24 @ 2pm

Final WOW Book of 2013:

Saturday, December 14 2013: Love Inshallah; The Secret Love Lives of American Muslim Women by Nura Maznavi and Ayesha Mattu

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

October 2013: On Sal Mal Lane

After a long break, we'll be traveling to Sri Lanka, discussing the book "On Sal Mal Lane" by Ru Freeman in October 2013.

Here's a Book Summary:
In the tradition of In the Time of the Butterflies and The Kite Runner, a tender, evocative novel about the years leading up to the Sri Lankan civil war

On the day the Herath family moves in, Sal Mal Lane is still a quiet street, disturbed only by the cries of the children whose triumphs and tragedies sustain the families that live there. As the neighbors adapt to the newcomers in different ways, the children fill their days with cricket matches, romantic crushes, and small rivalries. But the tremors of civil war are mounting, and the conflict threatens to engulf them all.

In a heartrending novel poised between the past and the future, the innocence of the children—a beloved sister and her overprotective siblings, a rejected son and his twin sisters, two very different brothers—contrasts sharply with the petty prejudices of the adults charged with their care. In Ru Freeman’s masterful hands, On Sal Mal Lane, a story of what was lost to a country and her people, becomes a resounding cry for reconciliation.

We'll be meeting in the DogPatch neighbourhood at Cup of Blues - 900 22nd street (between Indiana & Minnessota St) on Sunday October 13 at 2pm.

Next Reading:

November - When I lived in Modern Times by Linda Grant

Sunday, July 21, 2013

August 2013: WOW Book Club - Daughters who walk this path

Traveling to Nigeria, our next WOW Book Club discussion will focus on the book "Daughters who walk this Path" by Yejide Kilanko, in her first novel.

Here's a Book Summary:

Spirited and intelligent, Morayo grows up surrounded by school friends and family in busy, modern-day Ibadan, Nigeria. An adoring little sister, their traditional parents, and a host of aunties and cousins make Morayo's home their own. So there's nothing unusual about her charming but troubled cousin Bros T moving in with the family. At first Morayo and her sister are delighted, but in her innocence, nothing prepares Morayo for the shameful secret Bros T forces upon her.

Thrust into a web of oppressive silence woven by the adults around her, Morayo must learn to fiercely protect herself and her sister from a legacy of silence many women in Morayo's family share. Only Aunty Morenike—once shielded by her own mother—provides Morayo with a safe home and a sense of female community that sustains her as she grows into a young woman in bustling, politically charged, often violent Nigeria.

We'll be meeting in NOPA neighborhood at the Matching Half Cafe on Sunday August 25 @ 2pm!

Next Books to Read:
On Sal Mal Lane by Ru Freeman (Sri Lanka)
When I lived in Modern Times by Linda Grant (Israel)

Sunday, June 30, 2013

WOW Book Club - July 2013: The Bonesetter's Daughter

Now in July summer, we're heading to a Chinese-American tale for perhaps a lighter fiction novel with The Bonesetter's Daughter by Amy Tan. 

Here's a Book Summary:
Ruth decides to move in with her ailing mother, LuLing Young and while tending to her discovers the story LuLing wrote in Chinese, of her tumultuous life growing up in a remote mountain village known as Immortal Heart. LuLing tells of the secrets passed along by her mute nursemaid, Precious Auntie; of a cave where dragon bones are mined and where Peking Man was discovered; of the crumbling ravine known as the End of the World, where Precious Auntie’s bones lie, and of the curse that LuLing believes she released through betrayal…

Set in contemporary San Francisco and pre-war China, The Bonesetter’s Daughter is an excavation of the human spirit. With great warmth and humour, Amy Tan gives us a mesmerising story of a mother and daughter discovering together that what they share in their bones through history and heredity is priceless beyond measure.

We'll be meeting in the Potrero Hill neighborhood on Sunday July 21 at 2pm at the The Thinker's Cafe.

Next Book to Read:
Daughters who walk this path - Yejide Kilanko (Nigeria)

Monday, May 27, 2013

WOW Book Club: Don't be Afraid Gringo - June 2013

Our next book club discussion will focus on Honduras through the book "Don't be Afraid, Gringo" by Elvia Alvarado (translator - Media Benjamin).
Here's a book summary:

The award-winning oral history of Elvia Alvarado, a courageous campesina (peasant) activist in Honduras, the poorest country in Central America. Trained by the Catholic Church to organize women's groups to combat malnutrition, Alvarado began to question why campesinos were malnourished to begin with. Her growing political awareness, her travels by foot over the back roads of Honduras, and her conversations with people frm all over the country have given her insights into the internal workings of her society that far surpass those of the majority of campesinos who have never ventured outside their villages.

Working as a campesino organizer, Alvarado has led dangerous land recovery actions in an effort to enforce the national land reform laws. As a result of these activities, she has been harassed, jailed, and tortured at the hands of the Honduran military.

We'll be meeting on Sunday June 23 at Spiro Coffee in the Van Ness neighborhood!

Next Book to Read:
July 2013: The Bonesetter's Daughter by Amy Tan (China)

Saturday, May 11, 2013

WOW Book Club - May 2013: Outcasts United

We'll be reading a true story in "Outcasts United: A Refugee Team, An American Town" by Warren St. John.

Here's a book summary:
The extraordinary tale of a refugee youth soccer team and the transformation of a small American town.

Clarkston, Georgia, was a typical Southern town until it was designated a refugee settlement center in the 1990s, becoming the first American home for scores of families in flight from the world’s war zones—from Liberia and Sudan to Iraq and Afghanistan. Suddenly Clarkston’s streets were filled with women wearing the hijab, the smells of cumin and curry, and kids of all colors playing soccer in any open space they could find. The town also became home to Luma Mufleh, an American-educated Jordanian woman who founded a youth soccer team to unify Clarkston’s refugee children and keep them off the streets. These kids named themselves the Fugees.

Outcasts United follows a pivotal season in the life of the Fugees and their charismatic coach. Warren St. John documents the lives of a diverse group of young people as they miraculously coalesce into a band of brothers, while also drawing a fascinating portrait of a fading American town struggling to accommodate its new arrivals. 

Please join the discussion on Sunday May 26 at 2pm at the Sacreds Grounds Coffee House in the NOPA neighborhood.

Next Book to Read:
June 2013 - Don't be Afraid, Gringo by Elvia Alvarado (Medea Benjamin - translator) - Honduras

Saturday, April 27, 2013

WOW Book Club: An American Radical

We're coming back to the US this month to look into a personal memoir of a US political prisoner, Susan Rosenberg in the book An American Radical: A Political Prisoner in my own Country.

Here's a Book Summary:
On a November night in 1984, Susan Rosenberg sat in the passenger seat of a U-Haul as it swerved along the New Jersey Turnpike. At the wheel was a fellow political activist. In the back were 740 pounds of dynamite and assorted guns.
Raised on New York City's Upper West Side, Rosenberg had been politically active since high school, involved in the black liberation movement and protesting repressive U.S. policies around the world and here at home. At 29, she was on the FBI's Most Wanted list. While unloading the U-Haul at a storage facility, Rosenberg was arrested and sentenced to an unprecedented 58 years for possession of weapons and explosives.

Rosenberg served 16 years in some of the worst maximum-security prisons in the United States before being pardoned by President Clinton as he left office in 2001. Now, in a story that is both a powerful memoir and a profound indictment of the U.S. prison system, Rosenberg recounts her journey from the impassioned idealism of the 1960s to life as a political prisoner in her own country, subjected to dehumanizing treatment, yet touched by moments of grace and solidarity. 

We'll be meeting in SOMA neighborhood on Sunday April 28 at 2pm at the Sightglass Coffee Bar.

Next Books to read:
May 2013: Outcasts United by Warren St. John
June 2013: Don't be afraid Gringo by Elvia Alvarado

Saturday, March 2, 2013

WOW Book Club March 2013: Equal of the Sun

From colonial Rhodesia, we travel further into the past towards Iran in 1576, where we'll be discussing the book "Equal of the Sun" by Anita Amirrezvani.

Here's a Book Summary:
Legendary women—from Anne Boleyn to Queen Elizabeth I to Mary, Queen of Scots—changed the course of history in the royal courts of 16th-century England. But few people know of the powerful women in the Muslim world, who formed alliances, served as key advisers to rulers, lobbied for power on behalf of their sons, and ruled in their own right. 

In Equal of the Sun, Anita Amirrezvani’s gorgeously crafted tale of power, loyalty, and love in the royal court of Iran, she brings one such woman to life, Princess Pari Khan Khanoom Safavi. Iran in 1576 is a place of wealth and dazzling beauty. But when the Shah dies without having named an heir, the court is thrown into tumult. Princess Pari, the Shah’s daughter, knows more about the inner workings of the state than almost anyone, but the princess’s maneuvers to instill order after her father’s sudden death incite resentment and dissent. 

Based loosely on the life of Princess Pari Khan Khanoom, Equal of the Sun is a riveting story of political intrigue and a moving portrait of the unlikely bond between a princess and a eunuch.

Come join us on Sunday March 24th at 2pm, at the Red Victorian Peace Center at 1665 Haight Street to discuss this book! At 3pm, there will be an event at the BookSmith featuring the author Anita Amirezvanni who's promoting her latest book!

Next Read:
April 2013: An American Radical by Susan Rosenberg (US)
May 2013: Outcasts United by Warren St. John (US)
June 2013: Don't be afraid Gringo by Elvia Alvarado (Honduras)

Saturday, January 19, 2013

WOW Book Club: February 2013

Join us for a book discussion set in Zimbabwe, formerly called Rhodesia in Nervous Conditions by Tsitsi Damgarembga.

Here's a Book Summary:
This stunning first novel, set in colonial Rhodesia during the 1960s, centers on the coming of age of a teenage girl, Tambu, and her relationship with her British-educated cousin Nyasha. Tambu, who yearns to be free of the constraints of her rural village, especially the circumscribed lives of the women, thinks her dreams have come true when her wealthy uncle offers to sponsor her education. But she soon learns that the education she receives at his mission school comes with a price. 

At the school she meets the worldly and rebellious Nyasha, who is chafing under her father's authority. Raised in England, Nyasha is so much a stranger among her own people that she can no longer speak her native language. Tambu can only watch as her cousin, caught between two cultures, pays the full cost of alienation.

We'll be meeting in the Fisherman's Wharf neighborhood at Black Point Cafe on February 17 at 2pm.

Next Books to Read:
March: Equal of the Sun - Anita Amirrezvanni (Iran)
April: An American Radical - Susan Rosenberg (US)
May: Outcasts United - Warren St. John (US)
June: Don't be afraid Gringo - Elvia Alvarado (Honduras)