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Donnelly Library offers spring reading group

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By Margaret McKinney
Highlands University

The New Mexico Highlands University Donnelly Library presents a free spring reading and discussion group titled “Let’s Talk About It: Muslim Journeys.”

The books are available at Donnelly Library, thanks to a National Endowment for the Humanities grant awarded to the library for the Muslim Journeys collection.

All of the authors featured in the current Muslim Journeys discussion group have received acclaim and awards for their best-selling books.

The book discussions begin at 7 p.m. in Donnelly Library, 802 National Ave., on these dates:
• Thursday, Feb. 27 – In the Country of Men/Hisham Matar
• Thursday, March 27 ­– Persepolis: the Story of a Childhood/Marjane Satrapi
• Thursday, April  24 – House of Stone: a Memoir of Home, Family, and a Lost Middle East/Anthony Shadid

April Kent, a Donnelly librarian and head of public services, wrote the successful NEH grant proposal for Muslim Journeys, and coordinates the library’s book groups.

“These compelling books focus on the revolutions, political events and history that have shaped the Middle East through personal accounts,” Kent said. “The first two titles are told through the eyes of Libyan and Iranian children, giving them a unique perspective.

“The third title is the memoir of a renowned Lebanese-American journalist that offers both an insider and outsider viewpoint of the Middle East,” Kent said.  

Brandon Kempner, a literature professor in the Highlands University Department of English, will lead the book discussions.

In the Country of Menis the 2006 debut novel by Libyan writer Hisham Matar that tells the story of Suleiman, a 9-year-old boy living in Tripoli, Libya in 1979. Suleiman’s father engages in clandestine activities against the Muammar Gadhafi regime, with terrifying consequences for boy’s family.

Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood is the 2003 graphic novel form memoir by Marjane Satrapi that is a coming-of-age tale of her life as a child and young woman in Tehran, Iran following the 1979 Islamic Revolution, and its tumultuous aftermath.

Donnelly offers free library cards to area residents. For more information about the Muslim Journeys book group, contact Kent at ajkent@nmhu.eduor visit the library.

Persepolis has a wide following in the West, especially in the Iranian exile community, and was made into a film.