Dinaw Mengestu, author of The Beautiful Things That Heaven Bears, is in town (see the schedule for his five Library visits and two other appearances) — and that in itself is a beautiful thing. Lots of cities now have community reads or “One Book” projects to bring people together for discussions and events centered around a book. But we are extra lucky here in Seattle because the Washington Center for the Book has, for 10 years now, also managed to bring large crowds of readers together to see the author. I’m going to see Mengestu on Friday night (Central Library at 7 p.m.) and the word on the street (and around the Library) is that his parents will be there, too. Super cool!
Although Library-sponsored book discussions are wrapping up this week, dozens of book groups around Seattle will be reading and discussing The Beautiful Things That Heaven Bears for months to come. Members of my book group are seeing the author this week and then we’ll meet to talk about the book next week. The ten of us have grown as friends (and readers) during our monthly book gatherings, and I know that the friendship of Sepha, Kenneth and Joseph in Mengestu’s novel will be a big part of our discussion. The theme of friendship ties in with the first of 11 suggested discussion questions included in the Seattle Reads Toolbox (it’s a PDF at the bottom of the page), a reading group guide designed to give background on the book and the author, as well as to get some conversation going. Here’s that first question:
Sepha Stephanos meets regularly with his friends Kenneth and Joseph. What brings and keeps these three together? What dominates their conversations?
Feel like talking? I invite you to chime in with your thoughts on The Beautiful Things That Heaven Bears. And if you don’t feel like commenting, but you’d like to know more, please take a look at the reading guide (we call it a Toolbox) available here or at any Seattle Public Library. So … talk here? Or talk somewhere else? Your choice, of course.
Well worth noting: Since we posted this, one of our librarians, Misha, wrote about Seattle Reads events she’s enjoyed this week, as well as sharing some insights from her own book group’s discussion in Seattle Reads: So Many Ways to Enjoy One Book in Book Group Buzz.