A Program about The Children Act? Why?

“Just to be clear, Adam. You do realize that it’s for me alone to decide what’s in your best interests. If I were to rule that tchildren-acthe hospital may legally transfuse you against your wishes, what will you think?”

He was sitting up, breathing hard, and seemed to sag a little at the question, but he smiled. ‘I’d think My Lady was an interfering busybody.” (Ian McEwan, The Children Act, 117-118).

Around the World through Books’ upcoming program on Thursday, November 10, will be framed by the events of The Children’s Act by Ian McEwan. Paralegal Studies program head Susan Brewer will lead the discussion, a challenging task because:

  1. Not everyone will have read the book, and that’s okay.(But all three Reynolds Libraries have copies to lend.)
  2. Though this program is sponsored by the Multicultural Enrichment Council, it is not particularly multicultural—at least not in the sense of ethnic diversity. It is set in London, England, and the main characters are white middle-class folk of decent background and intelligence, with nobody particularly harassing them.

    susan-brewer
    Susan Brewer (not Fiona Maye)
  3. This is a book without much action or plot, and almost everybody in it wants what’s best for the others. Almost everybody. Yet it has a sense of urgency and is literally about life and death decisions.

This is a book about searching for truth, and it’s a book about judging. Fiona Maye is a high court judge who must decide whether a young man with leukemia, Adam Henry, a Jehovah’s Witness, must have the blood transfusion which he wants to refuse, but without which his treatment will surely fail. Adam is seventeen and three-quarters, still technically a minor, but well over the sixteen years at which a child’s wishes are usually considered in legal matters. His parents support his choice. The hospital has brought it to court—the doctors want to save this charming, intelligent young man. The Henrys believe that Biblical injunctions to abstain from eating blood also preclude accepting blood products into the body. Adam is prepared to die rather than disobey God.

What’s multicultural about all that? What does this book have to do with diversity and inclusion? Here are three answers; perhaps you can supply more. Or perhaps the program will give us a chance to develop other ideas—come to LTC 220 from 7-8:30 on Thursday, Nov. 10 and see.

  1. Religious convictions (or anti-convictions) are part of each person’s cultural identity. They help define our understanding of right and wrong and how things ought to be, which in turn affects how we treat each other.
  2. Even reasoned, critical thinking based on law (The Children Act is the British child protective services law, to oversimplify it), logic, and the best of intentions is affected by the context of cultural conventions, parental and social influences, and, perhaps, life’s momentous distractions. Fiona is childless and her husband is behaving badly.
  3. Fiona’s husband is behaving badly. It is accurate to say he’s being really stupid and selfish, but that sounds so judgmental. Society today has a “Don’t judge!” mantra. “Judge not, that ye be not judged (Matthew 7:1),” is quoted frequently. But what does that really mean? How can we be inclusive, kind, and respectful, and still be true to our own convictions about right and wrong?children-act-poster

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks – Around the World Through Books!

Who was Henrietta Lacks?

Her cells traveled into space. Her cells redefined 20th century modern medicine, human health, and research for the polio vaccine, cloning, in vitro fertilization, and so much more. Her cells continue to live in thousands of medical and research facilities throughout the world.

And yet, Henrietta Lacks — a native of Virginia — died in 1951.

Participate in the upcoming Book Discussion and learn how Henrietta Lacks achieved a troubling but amazing and powerful immortality through her living cells.

The winner of numerous awards and recognitions, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks brings history, humanity, science, and ethics together in a fascinating story that focuses centrally upon one woman, one life, and her transformative impact upon the world. Read more about her story , see the book display in Parham Campus library, and attend the book discussion this week!

When? Thursday, March 29 from 7:00 – 8:30 pm

Where? The Gallery, downstairs in Georgiadis Hall, Parham Campus

Food?  Light Refreshments will be served.

Around the World Through Books is a free community event sponsored by the Multicultural Enrichment Council at JSRCC.

Food for Thought…Around the World Through Books!

“Is the old adage in fact true? Are we really what we eat? …

Arguably the quintessential work of food fiction, Like Water for Chocolate…  is Laura Esquivel’s enchanting debut novel recounting the life of Tita de la Garza and her family during the Mexican Revolution. Tita, the youngest daughter of the tyrannical matriarch Mama Elena, falls deeply in love with Pedro Muzquiz. Owing to an age-old family custom, she is forced to forgo love to care for Mama Elena. Distraught and heartbroken, Tita finds companionship, solace, and meaning in her culinary toils, and her emotions mysteriously begin to season the food she prepares. As fantasy mingles with reality, Esquivel seamlessly melds mouthwatering family recipes with a timeless tale of food and love.” Neal Wyatt, Library Journal,  11/1/ 2011

Celebrate love, cooking, and chocolate with the second Around the World Through Books event on Thursday, February 16 from 5:30-7:00 p.m. in The Gallery of Georgiadis Hall, Parham Campus.  Fresh chocolates prepared by the culinary students of Chef Jesse Miller will be provided!

Take a glimpse at some of the many recipes inspired by this book posted on blogs, Cooking in Mexico  and Leite’s Culinaria … or check out a book like My Sweet Mexico from the JSRCC cookbook collection to teach yourself!

Around the World Through Books is a free community event sponsored by the Multicultural Enrichment Council at JSRCC.

And the winners are… !

This past weekend, the Library of Virginia announced their 14th annual Library of Virginia Literary Award winners, honoring both Virginia authors of  fiction and authors of non-fiction on a Virginia subject.

Most exciting for us here at JSRCC is the Library of Virginia Literary Award for Non-Fiction winner, Rebecca Skloot, for her book The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, a wonderful piece of research and writing on the fascinating human story behind the development of the HeLa cell for cancer research. This book will be featured in our third Around the World Through Books event of the 2011-2012 year on Thursday, March 29th.

Other winners include Earl Hamner, who received the Lifetime Achievement Award, and is the beloved author of  The Homecoming; a Novel About Spencer Mountain.  Belle Boggs, another Virginia native, received the Emyl Jenkins Sexton Literary Award for Fiction for Mattaponi Queen: Stories, a beautifully written collection of short stories set on Virginia’s Mattaponi Indian Reservation and in the surrounding counties.

Jan Karon was the winner of the People’s Choice Award in Fiction for In the Company of Others, one of her many popular novels about Father Tim. In this recent book, he is off to Ireland for a 64th birthday celebration for his wife, Cynthia.

Read these award-winning books and more at your JSRCC Libraries!

Tonight at 5:00 PM – Around the World Through Books!

Around the World Through Books kicks off its first book discussion of the year on October 13 with Andre Dubus III’s House of Sand and Fog  – now is the time to get started reading the book!

“Colonel Massoud Amir Behrani was once a powerful and respected officer in the Shah of Iran’s air force. Having fled the country with his family, he works by day spearing trash on California highways and by night as a clerk in a convenience store while deceiving his family into believing that he has a loftier job. Now, willing to risk the modest remainder of his fortune to restore his family’s dignity, he buys a small house at a county auction, planning to sell it again for three or four times what he paid. But the house has been auctioned because of a bureaucratic error, and Behrani’s fragile plans are jeopardized when Kathy Nicolo, the owner of the house, begins to protest the sale. A recovering alcoholic and addict, Kathy is desperate to regain her only tie to stability—her home. In doing so, she enlists the help of Deputy Sheriff Lester Burdon, a married man who has fallen precipitously in love with her. As Kathy and Lester become obsessed with seeking justice by whatever means possible, the three characters converge on an explosive collision course.

Combining unadorned realism with profound empathy, House of Sand and Fog is a devastating exploration of the American Dream gone awry.”                                                                                                                                                    Knopf-Doubleday Reading Group Center website

Don’t miss the discussion of this book on Wednesday, October 13, 2011 at Parham Campus! The event will be held in The Gallery, Room 101 in Georgiadis Hall from 5:00-6:30 pm. (PLEASE NOTE EARLIER TIME) Refreshments will be served.

Copies of House of Sand and Fog are available for checkout  at all JSRCC libraries.

Around the World Through Books is a free community event sponsored by the Multicultural Enrichment Council at JSRCC.

Around the World Through Books- First Event!

Around the World Through Books kicks off its first book discussion of the year on October 13 with Andre Dubus III’s House of Sand and Fog  – now is the time to get started reading the book!

“Colonel Massoud Amir Behrani was once a powerful and respected officer in the Shah of Iran’s air force. Having fled the country with his family, he works by day spearing trash on California highways and by night as a clerk in a convenience store while deceiving his family into believing that he has a loftier job. Now, willing to risk the modest remainder of his fortune to restore his family’s dignity, he buys a small house at a county auction, planning to sell it again for three or four times what he paid. But the house has been auctioned because of a bureaucratic error, and Behrani’s fragile plans are jeopardized when Kathy Nicolo, the owner of the house, begins to protest the sale. A recovering alcoholic and addict, Kathy is desperate to regain her only tie to stability—her home. In doing so, she enlists the help of Deputy Sheriff Lester Burdon, a married man who has fallen precipitously in love with her. As Kathy and Lester become obsessed with seeking justice by whatever means possible, the three characters converge on an explosive collision course.

Combining unadorned realism with profound empathy, House of Sand and Fog is a devastating exploration of the American Dream gone awry.”                                                                                                                                                    Knopf-Doubleday Reading Group Center website

Don’t miss the discussion of this book on Wednesday, October 13, 2011 at Parham Campus! The event will be held in The Gallery, Room 101 in Georgiadis Hall from 5:00-6:30 pm. (PLEASE NOTE EARLIER TIME) Refreshments will be served.

Copies of House of Sand and Fog are available for checkout  at all JSRCC libraries.

Around the World Through Books is a free community event sponsored by the Multicultural Enrichment Council at JSRCC.

A Thousand Years of Good Prayers

 “From the bustling heart of Beijing, to a fast-food restaurant in Chicago, to the barren expanse of Inner Mongolia, A Thousand Years of Good Prayers reveals worlds both foreign and familiar, with heartbreaking honesty and in beautiful prose.”

From Bookjacket, A Thousand Years of Good Prayers

The stories in this collection, set in China and among Chinese-Americans in the United States, will give you insights into the lives of people  in one of the most important of the new “global cultures”. Join several Chinese JSRCC students in a book discussion led by Hong Wu of Parham Campus Library. Learn both about the author, Yiyun Li, and the challenges faced by contemporary Chinese and Chinese-Americans.

Where and When: Thursday, April 7 at The Gallery, downstairs in Georgiadis Hall, Parham Campus from 5-6:30 p.m. (New time!)

Refreshments will be provided.

Around the World Through Books is a free community event sponsored by the Multicultural Enrichment Council of JSRRC.

Hope to see you there!