Newton Public Library will offer a four-part book discussion series August through November on the theme “Middle Eastern Culture and Society.”


Newton Public Library will offer a four-part book discussion series August through November on the theme “Middle Eastern Culture and Society.”
Members of the community are invited to attend the free programs, which will take place at the library, 720 N. Oak St.
The series is sponsored by the Kansas Humanities Council, a nonprofit cultural organization, as part of its Talk About Literature in Kansas program. The Council’s Resource Center will furnish the books and discussion leaders for the Newton TALK series.  For more information about KHC, visit www.kansashumanities.org.
The first meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. Aug. 31. Rosemary Kolich will lead a discussion of “The Israelis: Ordinary People in an Extraordinary Land” by Donna Rosenthal where young people, who face compulsory military service, lead lives that are necessarily entwined with religion and politics. Kolich teaches English for the University of Saint Mary at its Overland Park campus.
The Middle East can seem so far from daily life in Kansas. The information we receive often is through images in the media that become stereotypes generalized to all people of the region — terrorists, fundamentalists, women who suffer gender inequality. Just as we in Kansas are frequently called upon to defend our state’s diversity and rich culture, so too the Middle East is a diverse region with multiple histories, cultures and peoples of varied backgrounds, according to a library news release.
As the series continues, readers will discuss “My Prison, My Home: One Woman’s Story of Captivity in Iran” by Haleh Esfandiari (Sept. 28), “The Yacoubian Building” by Alaa Al Aswany (Oct. 26) and “Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood” by Marjane Satrapi (Nov. 30).
To check out books and for more information about the reading series, contact the library at 283-2890.