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Connections faculty and staff newsletter
 September 2013

Columbia College participates in community reading program

Columbia College participates in community reading program Author of the selected book will visit campus as part of the OneRead program.

This month, the Daniel Boone Regional Library will put on a bevy of events through their One Read communitywide reading program, three in which Columbia College participates.

This year’s book is The Ruins of Us, written by Keija Parssinen, a third-generation American expatriate who was born in Saudi Arabia and now lives in Columbia, Mo.

The novel explores the terrain of family relationships complicated by cultural conflict by focusing on an American expatriate married to a wealthy Saudi national who takes a second wife, which makes her reconsider the marriage and think about the needs of her children.

“It was interesting,” said Janet Caruthers, director of the Stafford Library. “You learn a little bit about the culture, and of course we hear how women are second, third citizens. But this really brought it home.”

Caruthers is deeply involved in organizing the events at Columbia College along with Lucia D’Agostino, reference librarian, and Carla Aufdemberge, assistant director of Events, Protocol and Design.

Books are chosen after a process in which community members submit ideas to the library; a reading panel chooses the top picks; the public votes on the top choices; and the book is announced in May. Columbia College faculty members Christina Ingoglia, assistant professor of English and creative writing, and Dr. Mark Price, philosophy professor and chair of the humanities department, are on the reading panel that discusses book choices.

The college will host the One Read Book Talk led by English Instructor Lizbeth Metscher on Sept. 4 in Lander’s English Parlor in Missouri Hall, and the One Read Author Visit with Parssinen on Sept. 19 in Launer Auditorium.

The book talk is an intimate gathering where community members can attend and the hosting professor, Metscher, will lead the discussion and ask literary questions such as, “What did you think of this character?” and more.

The author visit is the culminating event of the program, Caruthers said. Parssinen will speak for about a half hour and then open the event for questions from the audience. Depending on author preference, there is occasionally a book signing after the event.

Dr. Ahoo Tabatabai, assistant professor of sociology, will sit on a panel at the One Read Goes to College event on Sept. 24 at the Columbia Public Library. This event features a representative from the three local colleges — Columbia College, Stephens College and the University of Missouri — who talk about the book from their own academic expertise. Tabatabai will speak about the book in terms of family issues, as the book closely delves into the relationship between the main character and her husband, as well as the main character and her children.

“The program is a great community builder between us and the regional library,” Caruthers said. “But it’s also about having other options for reading programs. For so many years, libraries focused on summer reading programs for school age students or book clubs just for adults. This gets a different age level involved.”

Faculty and staff members who want to be involved can attend the college events and any others that interest them. Find other events on the One Read website. (link) If interested in leading a future book discussion or panel, contact Janet Caruthers or Lucia D’Agostino.

One Read Book Talk — Wed. Sept. 4, 6 p.m. Lander’s English Parlor, Missouri Hall
One Read Author Visit — Thurs., Sept. 19, 7 p.m., Launer Auditorium
One Read Goes to College — Tues., Sept. 24, Time TBA, Columbia Public Library