Human Rights Book Club

We look forward to the next virtual book club gathering on July 17 when we dive into Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson.

Zoom details to join will be available in June.

UPCOMING

July 17: Just Mercy

October 9: Praying for Sheetrock

January 22: Cutting for Stone

 

July 17

Just Mercy, by Bryan Stevenson

A young lawyer, Bryan Stevenson, creates the Equal Justice Initiative. He aspires to defend people in need, and works on his first case: a young man facing the death sentence for a murder he did not commit. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Praying for Sheetrock: A Work of Nonfiction: Greene, Melissa Fay ...

 

October 9

Praying for Sheetrock, by Melissa Fay Greene

Thurnell Alston is a black man without an education or a job. He goes against a white sheriff in the 1970s and changes the way of life in his community forever. Praying for Sheetrock was a finalist for the 1991 National Book Award and New York Times Notable book. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cutting for Stone: Verghese, Abraham: 9780375714368: Amazon.com: Books

 January 22, 2021

Cutting for Stone, by Abraham Verghese

Twin brothers are born to an Indian nun and British surgeon. After their mother's death and the twins follow their passions in medicine. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Past Books

The Tortilla Curtain (Penguin Books with Reading Guides): T ...The Tortilla Curtain, by T.C. Boyle

In his most popular novel, T.C. Boyle confronts the often controversial issue of undocumented immigration head-on, illuminating through a poignant, gripping story the people on both sides of the issue, the haves and the have-nots. Boyle weaves a narrative of two couples and a violent chance encounter that brings them together, instigating a chain of events that eventually culminates in a harrowing confrontation. The novel shifts back and forth between the two couples, giving voice to each of the four main characters as their lives become inextricably intertwined and their worlds collide. 

Click here to download discussion guide.

 

 

 

 

 

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

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. 

Click here to dowload discussion guide.

 

 

 

 

 

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The New Jim Crow, by Michelle Alexander

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. 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. 

Click here to download discussion guide.

 

 

 

 

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A Walk Across the Sun, by Corban Addison

A Walk Across the Sun tells of a chilling, eye-opening journey into Mumbai’s underworld and the nightmare of two orphaned girls swept into the international sex trade. Halfway across the world in Washington, D.C., attorney Thomas Clarke faces pursues pro bono work to prosecute the traffickers, setting a stage for a riveting showdown with an international network of ruthless criminals. 

Click here to download discussion guide.

 

 

 

 

 

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Les Miserables, by Victor Hugo

First published in 1862, Les Misérables is considered one of the greatest novels of the 19th century. Beginning in 1815 and culminating in 1832 June Rebellion in Paris, the novel follows the lives and interactions of several characters, focusing on the struggles of ex-convict Jean Valjean and his experience of redemption. Themes of revolution, the clash between freedom and security, and changing social codes transcend time, finding meaning in contemporary conflicts around the world. 

Click here to download discussion guide.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, by Jamie Ford

Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet is a story set during one of most conflicted and volatile times in American history, the Japanese American internment period of 1942. Henry and Keiko forge a bond of friendship and innocent love that transcends the long-standing prejudices of their Old World ancestors. After Keiko and her family are swept up in the evacuations to the internment camps, she and Henry are left only with the hope that the war will end, and that their promise to each other will be kept. 

Click here to download discussion guide.

 

 

 

 

 

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We wish to inform you that tomorrow we will be killed with our families: Stories from Rwanda, by Philip Gourevitch

We wish to inform you that tomorrow we will be killed with our families is a nonfiction account of the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. In April 1994, the Rwandan government called upon everyone in the Hutu majority to kill each member of the Tutsi minority, and over the next three months 800,000 Tutsis perished in the most unambiguous case of genocide since Hitler’s war against the Jews. This book is an anatomy of the war in Rwanda, a vivid history of the tragedy’s background, and an unforgettable account of its aftermath. 

Click here to download discussion guide.

 

 

 

 

 

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A Thousand Splendid Suns, by Khaled Hosseini

A Thousand Splendid Suns is a breathtaking story by author Khaled Hosseini set against the volatile events of Afghanistan's last thirty years. From the Soviet invasion to the reign of the Taliban to the post-Taliban rebuilding, it puts the violence, fear, hope, and faith of the country in intimate and human terms. The book chronicles the stories of women and girls experiencing violence in public, as well as in their homes. It is a tale of two generations of characters brought jarringly together by the tragic sweep of war, where personal lives—the struggle to survive, raise a family, find happiness—are inextricable from the history playing out around them. 

Click here to download discussion guide.

 

 

 

 

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They Poured Fire on Us From the Sky, by Benson Deng, Alephonsion Deng, and Benjamin Ajak

They Poured Fire on Us From the Sky is a true story of three "Lost Boys of Sudan," who recall their harrowing journey out of war and into safety. Alephonsion Deng, Benson Deng, and Benjamin Ajak were raised among the Dinka tribe, an insulated, close-knit community of grass-roofed cottages, cattle herders, and tribal councils, until the government-armed Murahiliin began attacking their villages. They fled, and their journey took them over 1,000 miles across a war-ravaged country, through landmine-sown paths, crocodile-infested waters, and extremes of hunger, thirst, and disease. Even the refugee camps they eventually filtered through offered little respite from the brutality they were fleeing. 

Click here to download discussion guide.

 

 

 

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The Burgess Boys, by Elizabeth Strout

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. 

Click here to download discussion guide.

 

 

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The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time, by Mark Haddon

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

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.

 

 

 

 

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Clybourne Park, by Bruce Norris

Clybourne Park is a 2010 play written in response to Lorraine Hansberry’s 1959 play, A Raisin in the Sun. It is comprised of two acts, set 50 years apart. Act One takes place in 1959, as nervous community leaders anxiously try to stop the sale of a home to a black family. Act Two is set in the same house in the present day, as the now predominately African-American neighborhood battles to hold its ground in the face of gentrification.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Praying for Sheetrock, by Melissa Fay Greene

Praying for Sheetrock is the true story of rural black residents living in the isolated, coastal beauty of McIntosh County, Georgia. It is the saga of how, thanks to the leadership of a black shop-steward-turned-county-commissioner named Thurnell Alston, together with Legal Services lawyers, challenged the corrupt leadership through several means, including a voting-rights case

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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What the Body Remembers, by Shawna Singh Baldwin

What The Body Remembers is a novel out of the rich culture of India and the brutal drama of the 1947 Partition about two women married to the same man. The book details the complex relationship between these two women and their husband as India lurches toward independence and drastic change. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Night, by Elie Wiesel

Night is a classic work by Elie Wiesel about his experience with his father, Shlomo, in the Nazi German concentration camps at Auschwitz and Buchenwald in 1944–1945, at the height of the Holocaust and toward the end of WWII. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Little Bee, by Chris Cleave

Little Bee is a narrative about a Nigerian asylum seeker and a British magazine editor, who meet during the oil conflict in the Niger Delta and are re-united in England years later. The novel examines the treatment of refugees by the asylum system, as well as issues of colonialism, globalization, political violence, and personal accountability.