Sep 2, 2007

Diversity Book Club offers look at foreign cultures

The next meeting of the Livingston 2001 Diversity Council Book Club will be held at 7 p.m. Sept. 11 at Caribou Coffee, 3832 E. Grand River Ave in Genoa Township just across the street from Meijer. This month’s book is “A Thousand Splendid Suns” by Khaled Hosseini.

The story is set against the volatile events of Afghanistan’s last 30 years—from the Soviet invasion to the reign of the Taliban to the post-Taliban rebuilding. If you want to get a jump on next month’s reading, the meeting will be held on Nov. 13 at a location to be determined, and the book is “A fine Balance,” by Rohinton Mistry.

“A Thousand Splendid Suns” traces the changes in Indian society from independence in 1947 to the Emergency called by Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. Unfortunately, I have not yet been able to get a copy of "A Thousand Splendid Suns," but I am about a quarter of the way through "A fine Balance." It’s both eye opening and disturbing. I like how it starts in the present for each character and then traces back to their early history, and along the way each character’s life envelop and crisscross each other in an expanding circle.

The Diversity Council book club was just formed in May in direct response to a censorship and book banning effort by a small, but vocal anti-gay hate group known as the “LOVE” PAC (Livingston Organization for Values in Education) earlier this year.

The Livingston 2001 Diversity Council was formed in 1988 in response to a cross burning in the yard of a back family in Livingston County, and the group that formed to foster understanding and fight racism was initially called Livingston 2001. It was so named because the children in kindergarten when the ugly incident occurred would be graduating from high school in 2001, and hopefully, entering a world where that kind of hate and prejudice was just an ugly footnote in history. It’s a grass roots organization made up of business people, private citizens, educators, government officials and clergy who live or work in Livingston County with the mission of making the community ever more welcoming, harmonious and prosperous for people of all races, creeds and backgrounds. A few years ago it changed its name to reflect its mission after 2001, and it has sponsored a series of events aimed at fostering acceptance and understanding of other cultures, ethnic groups and races.

To join the club or to get more information, please email at

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