Brigham City Carnegie Library

Brigham City Carnegie Library
26 East Forest Street
Brigham City, UT 84302
435-723-5850

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  Library Programs - Adult Book Group:

"Give Me Your Tired, Your Poor": Immigration in a Time of Controversy

A Reading/Discussion Series

A Tender Struggle: Story of a MarriageJanuary 4, 2018. Thursday, 7 P.M. - A Tender Struggle: A Story of a Marriage by Krista Bremer. Led by Kathryn MacKay, WSU.

Fifteen years ago, Krista Bremer, a California-bred feminist, surfer, and aspiring journalist, met Ismail Suayah, sincere, passionate, kind, yet from a very different world. One of eight siblings born in an impoverished fishing village in Libya, Ismail was raised a Muslim--and his faith informed his life. When Krista and Ismail made the decision to become a family, she embarked on a journey she never could have imagined, an accidental jihad: a quest for spiritual and intellectual growth that would open her mind and, more important, her heart.

 

How the Garcia Girls Lost Their AccentsFebruary 1, 2018. Thursday, 7 P.M. - How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents by Julia Alvarez. Led by Azenett Garman, WSU.

It's a long way from Santo Domingo to the Bronx, but if anyone can go the distance, it's the Garcia girls. Four lively Latinas plunge from a pampered life of privilege on an island compound into the big-city chaos of New York, where they embrace all that America has to offer.

 

The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar WaoMarch 1, 2018. Thursday, 7 P.M. - The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz. Led by Jeffrey Richey, WSU.

Oscar is a sweet but disastrously overweight ghetto nerd who--from the New Jersey home he shares with his old world mother and rebellious sister--dreams of becoming the Dominican J.R.R. Tolkien and, most of all, finding love. But Oscar may never get what he wants. Blame the fuku--a curse that has haunted Oscar's family for generations, following them on their epic journey from Santo Domingo to the USA. Encapsulating Dominican-American history, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao opens our eyes to an astonishing vision of the contemporary American experience and explores the endless human capacity to persevere--and risk it all--in the name of love.

 

Stealing Buddha's DinnerApril 5, 2018. Thursday, 7 P.M. - Stealing Buddha's Dinner by Bich Minh Nguyen. Led by Greg Lewis, WSU.

As a Vietnamese girl coming of age in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Nguyen is filled with a rapacious hunger for American identity, and in the pre-PC-era Midwest (where the Jennifers and Tiffanys reign supreme), the desire to belong transmutes into a passion for American food. More exotic- seeming than her Buddhist grandmother's traditional specialties, the campy, preservative-filled "delicacies" of mainstream America capture her imagination.

In Stealing Buddha's Dinner, the glossy branded allure of Pringles, Kit Kats, and Toll House Cookies becomes an ingenious metaphor for Nguyen's struggle to become a "real" American, a distinction that brings with it the dream of the perfect school lunch, burgers and Jell- O for dinner, and a visit from the Kool-Aid man. Vivid and viscerally powerful, this remarkable memoir about growing up in the 1980s introduces an original new literary voice and an entirely new spin on the classic assimilation story.

 

Girl in TranslationMay 3, 2018. Thursday, 7 P.M. - Girl in Translation by Jean Kwok. Led by Julian Chan, WSU.

When Kimberly Chang and her mother emigrate from Hong Kong to Brooklyn squalor, she quickly begins a secret double life: exceptional schoolgirl during the day, Chinatown sweatshop worker in the evenings. Disguising the more difficult truths of her life-like the staggering degree of her poverty, the weight of her family's future resting on her shoulders, or her secret love for a factory boy who shares none of her talent or ambition-Kimberly learns to constantly translate not just her language but herself back and forth between the worlds she straddles.

Through Kimberly's story, author Jean Kwok, who also emigrated from Hong Kong as a young girl, brings to the page the lives of countless immigrants who are caught between the pressure to succeed in America, their duty to their family, and their own personal desires, exposing a world that we rarely hear about. Written in an indelible voice that dramatizes the tensions of an immigrant girl growing up between two cultures, surrounded by a language and world only half understood, Girl in Translation is an unforgettable and classic American immigrant novel--a moving tale of hardship and triumph, heartbreak and love, and all that gets lost in translation.

 

Lipstick Jihad: A Memoir of Growing Up Iranian in America and American in IranJune 7, 2018. Thursday, 7 P.M. - Lipstick Jihad: A Memoir of Growing Up Iranian in America by Azadeh Moaveni. Led by Kathryn MacKay, WSU.

As far back as she can remember, Azadeh Moaveni has felt at odds with her tangled identity as an Iranian-American. In suburban America, Azadeh lived in two worlds. At home, she was the daughter of the Iranian exile community, serving tea, clinging to tradition, and dreaming of Tehran. Outside, she was a California girl who practiced yoga and listened to Madonna. For years, she ignored the tense standoff between her two cultures. But college magnified the clash between Iran and America, and after graduating, she moved to Iran as a journalist. This is the story of her search for identity, between two cultures cleaved apart by a violent history. It is also the story of Iran, a restive land lost in the twilight of its revolution.

Moaveni's homecoming falls in the heady days of the country's reform movement, when young people demonstrated in the streets and shouted for the Islamic regime to end. In these tumultuous times, she struggles to build a life in a dark country, wholly unlike the luminous, saffron and turquoise-tinted Iran of her imagination. As she leads us through the drug-soaked, underground parties of Tehran, into the hedonistic lives of young people desperate for change, Moaveni paints a rare portrait of Iran's rebellious next generation. The landscape of her Tehran -- ski slopes, fashion shows, malls and cafes -- is populated by a cast of young people whose exuberance and despair brings the modern reality of Iran to vivid life.

 

Bread GiversJuly 5, 2018. Thursday, 7 P.M. - Bread Givers by Anzia Yezierska. Led by Jay Hart, WSU.

This masterwork of American immigrant literature is set in the 1920s on the Lower East Side of Manhattan and tells the story of Sara Smolinsky, the youngest daughter of an Orthodox rabbi, who rebels against her father's rigid conception of Jewish womanhood. Sarah's struggle towards independence and self-fulfillment resonates with a passion all can share. Beautifully redesigned page for page with the previous editions, Bread Givers is an essential historical work with enduring relevance.

 

Funny in Farsi: A Memoir of Growing Up Iranian in AmericaAugust 2, 2018. Thursday, 7 P.M. - Funny in Farsi: A Memoir of Growing Up Iranian in America by Firoozeh Dumas. Led by Morteza Emami, WSU.

In 1972, when she was seven, Firoozeh Dumas and her family moved from Iran to Southern California, arriving with no firsthand knowledge of this country beyond her father's glowing memories of his graduate school years here. More family soon followed, and the clan has been here ever since.

Funny in Farsi chronicles the American journey of Dumas's wonderfully engaging family: her engineer father, a sweetly quixotic dreamer who first sought riches on Bowling for Dollars and in Las Vegas, and later lost his job during the Iranian revolution; her elegant mother, who never fully mastered English (nor cared to); her uncle, who combated the effects of American fast food with an army of miraculous American weight-loss gadgets; and Firoozeh herself, who as a girl changed her name to Julie, and who encountered a second wave of culture shock when she met and married a Frenchman, becoming part of a one-couple melting pot.

In a series of deftly drawn scenes, we watch the family grapple with American English (hot dogs and hush puppies?--a complete mystery), American traditions (Thanksgiving turkey?--an even greater mystery, since it tastes like nothing), and American culture (Firoozeh's parents laugh uproariously at Bob Hope on television, although they don't get the jokes even when she translates them into Farsi).

Above all, this is an unforgettable story of identity, discovery, and the power of family love. It is a book that will leave us all laughing--without an accent.

 

Together TeaOctober 4, 2018. Thursday, 7 P.M. - Together Tea by Marjan Kamali. Led by Priti Kumar, WSU.

In Together Tea, Marjan Kamali's delightful and heartwarming debut novel, Darya has discovered the perfect gift for her daughter's twenty-fifth birthday: an ideal husband. Mina, however, is fed up with her mother's years of endless matchmaking and the spreadsheets grading available Iranian-American bachelors. Having spent her childhood in Tehran and the rest of her life in New York City, Mina has experienced cultural clashes firsthand, but she's learning that the greatest clashes sometimes happen at home.

After a last ill-fated attempt at matchmaking, mother and daughter embark on a return journey to Iran. Immersed once again in Persian culture, the two women gradually begin to understand each other. But when Mina falls for a young man who never appeared on her mother's matchmaking radar, will Mina and Darya's new-found appreciation for each other survive?

Together Tea is a moving and joyous debut novel about family, love, and finding the place you truly belong.

 

When I Was Puerto RicanNovember 1, 2018. Thursday, 7 P.M. - When I Was Puerto Rican by Esmeralda Santiago. Led by Maria Prilla de Kokal, WSU.

Esmeralda Santiago's story begins in rural Puerto Rico, where her childhood was full of both tenderness and domestic strife, tropical sounds and sights as well as poverty. Growing up, she learned the proper way to eat a guava, the sound of tree frogs in the mango groves at night, the taste of the delectable sausage called morcilla, and the formula for ushering a dead baby's soul to heaven. As she enters school we see the clash, both hilarious and fierce, of Puerto Rican and Yankee culture. When her mother, Mami, a force of nature, takes off to New York with her seven, soon to be eleven children, Esmeralda, the oldest, must learn new rules, a new language, and eventually take on a new identity. In this first volume of her much-praised, bestselling trilogy, Santiago brilliantly recreates the idyllic landscape and tumultuous family life of her earliest years and her tremendous journey from the barrio to Brooklyn, from translating for her mother at the welfare office to high honors at Harvard.

 

The Beautiful Things That Heaven BearsDecember 6, 2018. Thursday, 7 P.M. - The Beautiful Things That Heaven Bears by Dinaw Mengestu. Led by Nicola Corbin, WSU.

Seventeen years ago, Sepha Stephanos fled the Ethiopian Revolution for a new start in the U.S. Now he finds himself lonely and uninspired--the only bright spot is his friendship with his new neighbors. But when a series of racial incidents disturbs the community, Sepha may lose everything all over again.

 

 

 

 

 

This series is funded by the

Utah Humanities

and the

Brigham City Library

A Reading / Discussion

Program at Brigham City Library

Series 2018: "Give Me Your Tired, Your Poor": Immigration in a Time of Controversy

Series 2019: To be announced

For more information please contact Sue, 723-5850.

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