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2014 Book List

2014 Human rights Book Club

Join The Advocates for thought-provoking conversations about books that explore
a range of human rights issues in the United States and around the world.

 

 

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Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption

By Laura Hillenbrand

 
February 6, 2014

12:00 - 1:00 PM  

The Advocates for Human Rights, 330 2nd Avenue S, Suite 800, Minneapolis, MN 55401

This book takes readers on the true odyssey of former juvenile delinquent turned Olympian runner Louis Zamperini, who finds himself surrounded by thousands of miles of open ocean, leaping sharks, a foundering raft, thirst and starvation, enemy aircraft, and, beyond, a trial even greater. It is a story that explores atrocities within the Asian Pacific Theater of WWII and testifies to the resilience of the human mind, body, and spirit.

 

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The New Jim Crow

By Michelle Alexander

 
March 27, 2014

12:00 - 1:00 PM

The Advocates for Human Rights, 330 2nd Avenue S, Suite 800, Minneapolis, MN 55401

Jim Crow laws were wiped off the books decades ago, but today an extraordinary percentage of the African American community is warehoused in prisons or trapped in a parallel social universe, denied basic civil and human rights—including the right to vote; the right to serve on juries; and the right to be free of legal discrimination in employment, housing, access to education and public benefits. Today, it is no longer socially permissible to use race explicitly as a justification for discrimination, exclusion, and social contempt. Yet as civil-rights-lawyer-turned-legal-scholar Michelle Alexander demonstrates, it is perfectly legal to discriminate against convicted criminals in nearly all the ways in which it was once legal to discriminate against African Americans. Once labeled a felon, even for a minor drug crime, the old forms of discrimination are suddenly legal again. In her words, “we have not ended racial caste in America; we have merely redesigned it.” The New Jim Crow challenges the civil rights community—and all of us—to place mass incarceration at the forefront of a new movement for racial justice in America. 

 

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The Burgess Boys

By Elizabeth Strout

 
May 8, 2014

12:00 - 1:00 PM

The Advocates for Human Rights, 330 2nd Avenue S, Suite 800, Minneapolis, MN 55401

Brothers Jim and Bob Burgess, and sister Susan, are mired in a childhood trauma: when he was four, Bob unwittingly released the parking brake on the family car, which ran over their father and killed him. Originally from small Shirley Falls, Maine, the Burgess brothers have long since fled to vastly disparate lives as New York City attorneys. Egoistic Jim is a famous big shot with a corporate firm. Self-effacing Bob leads a more low-profile career with Legal Aid. High-strung Susan calls them home to fix a family crisis: her son stands accused of a possible hate crime against the small town’s improbable Somali population. The siblings’ varying responses to the crisis illuminate their sheer differences while also recalling their shared upbringing, forcing them finally to deal with their family history.

 

 

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The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time

By Mark Haddon

 
September 18, 2014 > 7:00 - 8:30 p.m.
OR  September 19, 2014 > 11:30 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.

Minneapolis Institute of Arts
2400 3rd Ave. S.
Minneapolis, MN 55405


Join us at MIA for a guided tour by Carreen Heegaard and a conversation about issues explored in the text and visual art throughout the Institute.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time takes place in the year 1998 in England. The fifteen-year-old narrator of the story, Christopher John Francis Boone, discovers the slain body of his neighbor’s poodle, Wellington, on the neighbor’s front lawn one evening and sets out to uncover the murderer. His investigation is at times aided, and at other times hampered, by the mild form of autism he lives with. He is unexpectedly led to information about his parents’ divorce and after a run-in with the police, decides to set off to find his mother. The investigation, his journey, and an A-level math exam at school require him to summon courage and strength that help him realize he can accomplish other goals in his life. Although the reader recognizes that Christopher has an uncommon perspective of the world, the novel suggests that everyone, in fact, has a subjective point of view. By giving detailed explanations of Christopher’s thoughts, the novel allows the reader to empathize with Christopher and understand his reasons for behaving as he does. Christopher’s point of view loses its strangeness and seems merely unique.

 

 

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The Space Between Us

By Thrity Umrigar

 
December 4, 2014

12:00 - 1:00 PM

The Advocates for Human Rights, 330 2nd Avenue S, Suite 800, Minneapolis, MN 55401

Alternatively told through the eyes of Sera, a Parsi widow whose pregnant daughter and son-in-law share her elegant home, and Bhima, the elderly housekeeper who must support her orphaned granddaughter, The Space Between Us offers a look at class and gender roles in modern day Bombay. When we first meet Bhima, she is sharing a thin mattress with Maya, the granddaughter upon whom high hopes and dreams were placed, only to be shattered by an unexpected pregnancy and its disastrous consequences. As time goes on, we learn that Sera and her family have used their power and money time and time again to influence the lives of Bhima and Maya, from caring for Bhima's estranged husband after a workplace accident, to providing the funds for Maya's college education. We also learn that Sera's seemingly privileged life is not as it appears; after enduring years of cruelty under her mother-in-law's roof, she faced physical and emotional abuse at the hands of her husband, pain that only Bhima could see and alleviate. Yet through the triumphs and tragedies, Sera and Bhima always shared a bond that transcended class and race; a bond shared by two women whose fate always seemed to rest in the hands of others, just outside their control.