“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 the 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:
Not everyone will have read the book, and that’s okay.(But all three Reynolds Libraries have copies to lend.)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
Cindy Conner, a former Reynolds Horticulture instructor, has generously donated a copy of her new book Seed Libraries: and other means of keeping seeds in the hands of the people. This is the first book to cover the topic of seed libraries published in the United States.
Cindy’s daughter, Betsy Trice, currently teaches Sustainable Agriculture at Reynolds and started the community seed library which is housed at our Goochland Campus Library. Cindy had mentioned it in her previous book, Growing a Sustainable Diet and her editor at New Society Publishers urged her to write a book on seed libraries. This February the book was published.
Cindy traveled the country visiting various seed libraries and documented how they work, where they are housed and how they are managed.
According to the book’s back cover Cindy’s book includes:
Step-by-step instructions for setting up a seed library
A wealth of ideas to help attract patrons and keep the momentum going
Examples of existing libraries and other types of seed-saving partnerships
There is increasing interest in how and where our food is grown and it all starts with having control over the seeds we plant. Many gardeners want to grow and eat food that comes from seeds that are not genetically modified. There is also interest in heirloom varieties of vegetables.
More people are gardening and even those with small yards or balconies are planting in containers. There are some good books available that address how to save and store seeds, but this is the first book that describes how to share them. It is a most welcome addition to our library.
The Yellow Birds is a war novel by Kevin Powers. Powers is a Richmond native who attended James River High School. Enlisting in the army at age seventeen, he later served a year in Iraq as a machine gunner. He was stationed in Mosul and Tal Afar in 2004 and 2005. After his honorable discharge he came home and studied at Virginia Commonwealth University. He then went off to the University of Texas at Austin, where he was a Michener fellow in poetry. He’s won a bunch of awards and now works in New York.
He published his first novel in 2012. The Yellow Birds is a study in contradiction. It tells of the dreariness and horror of an urban war, but the narrative is poetic and beautiful. It is the story of young Private Bartle and his younger buddy Private Murphy. They just want to survive. When they’re on watch, they are desperate to stay awake. They’re soldiers; they talk like solders; they curse like soldiers.
Kevin Powers is coming to Reynolds on Thursday, November 6, to read from The Yellow Birds and his new book of poetry, Letters Composed During a Lull in the Fighting (A few winners of the drawing will receive the poetry instead of the novel). After the reading, he will answer questions from the audience and stay to sign copies of his books. The event will begin at 7 p.m. in Lipman Auditorium. All are welcome; please come.
This program is an Around the World through Books event, sponsored by the Multicultural Enrichment Council.
All three Reynolds campus libraries have copies of The Yellow Birds to lend for two weeks; Parham Campus Library has it as an audiobook.
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
“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!