Saturday, January 10, 2009

Literary Community Pushes Borders

This week, our literary community, otherwise known as Book Club has been gearing into overdrive to finish the latest reading item. This month we're reading "What is the What". It's a statement, I've been told - not a question. Written by Dave Eggers of "Heart Breaking Work of Staggering Genius" fame, it tells the story of a young Sudanese boy named Achak, aka Valentino, aka Dominic, aka Africa, who braves the perils of Arab militias, Karthoum military troops, hunger, child soldiery and American petty criminals to survive to live another day. I liked the book, which was a treat.

I haven't liked all the books we've been exposed to in book club (among them "Late Nights on Air", "The Master and the Marguerita", and "Immortality"). Not my style I thought. I steeled myself to be one of the first to drop out. How could you stay in a Book Club whereby most of the books you were reading weren't particularly enjoyable to read.

That's when I realized the beauty of our little literary community. Part of the strength of Book Club was its ability to expose its adherents to a range of books they'd otherwise never read. So there I was slogging trough immortality, cup of joe in one hand, as I felt my borders (which admittably can be quite narrow at certain points) expanding quicker than Napoleonic France. Tis the beauty of our dear Book Club.

Book Club is our own little community. And isn't that what some of the most interesting communties do? While they are always thought to be bound togeather by common interests, some of the best ones are also connected by a safe space to celebrate and be exposed to different ideas. Ideas that, like cough syrup, might not always be good going down initally, are inevitably great in the long run.

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