Oklahoma City University News
Book Discussions Look at Different World Perspectives
The book discussion series "Let's Talk About It, Oklahoma" returns to Oklahoma City University this month with a theme of looking at sophisticated times through unusual perspectives. The latest series, titled “Growing Up in the Wide World: Perspectives through Contemporary World Literature,” begins at 7 p.m. Jan. 13 with the book “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.”
Harbour Winn, director of OCU’s Center for Interpersonal Studies through Film and Literature, decided to open the series with the book that pulls the reader into the world of an autistic teenager. Winn called the book “both funny and deeply moving,” as told by a 15-year-old who can’t tolerate change.
“To what extent can his viewpoint metaphorically epitomize the inability of seeing beyond our comfort zones, the walls of our own culture?” Winn asked, offering a hint for one of many topics to be discussed.
The series theme aims to challenge readers to see the world from alternate perspectives. The list of contemporary best-selling novels features stories set in four continents and characters from England, Nigeria, Sweden, Afghanistan and India.
“In recent years, Americans have been awakened to what, for some, is a more sophisticated world view,” Winn said. “Living in a post 9-11 world has heightened our sense of vulnerability and convinced us that vast oceans do not protect us. Yet even before the 2001 attack, we were beginning to realize that permeable borders and our shattered belief in the melting pot myth would not be enough to understand our world in a new century.”
Winn hopes that through a broad exposure to alternate cultural mindsets, the present society will be better equipped for a quickly changing world.
The five books selected for discussion also include Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s “Purple Hibiscus” (Jan. 27), Mikael Niemi’s “Popular Music from Vittula” (Feb. 10), Khaled Hosseini’s “The Kite Runner” (Feb. 24) and Jhumpa Lahiri’s “The Namesake” (March 10).
Participants are invited to the discussion sessions at OCU’s Walker Center conference room 151. A humanities professor opens each session with a brief presentation, then experienced discussion leaders help facilitate follow-up dialogue from the group.
Those interested in participating are encouraged to pre-register and borrow the reading selections and theme brochure by calling Harbour Winn at 208-5472, e-mailing him at firstname.lastname@example.org or dropping by the Dulaney-Browne Library room 211 or 207. Additional information can be found at www.okcu.edu/film-lit.
Books, theme materials and services for this series are provided by “Let’s Talk About It, Oklahoma,” a cooperative project of the Oklahoma Library Association and the Oklahoma Humanities Council. Funding is provided by grants from the Oklahoma Humanities Council and the National Endowment for the Humanities.