Friday, June 02, 2006

seattle reads persepolis

what would happen if all the readers of a town or city read the same book? that's what nancy pearl asked years ago when she created "if all of seattle read the same book." the concept is as simple as it is profound: a) select a fascinating book, b) encourage everyone to read it, and c) organize interesting public events to discuss it. today, these kinds of progams - often called "one book, one city" - exist all over the world. oftentimes, good ideas spread like fire.

this year, chris higashi and her colleagues at seattle public library's washington center for the book made an outstanding selection for this year's shared reading: marjane satrapi's persepolis: the story of a childhood.

from the seattle reads website: "Persepolis is a memoir in graphic novel form, the first graphic novel in the eight years of 'Seattle Reads.' We can't think of a better choice than Persepolis, to introduce readers to the format, especially for readers who may have resisted thinking comic books are for youths.

Reading Persepolis together, we will explore Iranian history and the Islamic Revolution, the human cost of war and political repression, all relevant topics in current times. Through programs and panel discussions, we will also explore the growing popularity of graphic novels."

smart, smart, smart.

like always, sarah is light years ahead of me: she heard about the book selection, ordered it through the library, and read it before i even had the chance to ask, "what's persepolis?" now i'm reading the book. it's inspiring and depressing, playful and painful. it's brilliant.

although i'm spending today (and the next few days) grading papers, i hope to finish it before tomorrow, saturday, when marjane satrapi will be at my local library, the ballard public library, at 2 pm to lead a discussion of her book. and, for the whole schedule of events around persepolis, visit this page.

thanks chris higashi, washington center for the book, and seattle public library for an inspired set of events.


At 6/03/2006 3:17 AM, Blogger kq said...

because of the library connection, can i just type that when i was living on capitol hill (in the other washington) i went along to my public library, the LC, and heard about persepolis during a session on girl's culture. the women's historians who were presenting were buzzing about satrapi. i felt so out of it and so i rushed on over to trover near the deli you liked and acquired my own copy. indeed smart smart smart.

At 6/04/2006 12:12 PM, Anonymous david silver said...

kq, i love how your local library used to be the library of congress. there's a lot i miss about living in DC (and a lot i don't miss) and the library of congress is up there near the top.

sarah and i saw her speak TO A COMPLETELY PACKED ROOM yesterday. the ballard public library's community room has a maximum seating capacity of 120 and there must have been, um, gulp, about 150 people there. all ages: from little kids to grandparents. satrapi answered questions for about an hour and was awesome. she has a lot to say and can mix cultural critique and spiritual hope with the best of them.

my favorite line of the afternoon came from the author herself: "instruction [her word for education] and culture are the only things i believe in anymore."

after the event, and after a quick visit to sam's sushi, sarah and i were walking past the library and saw chris higashi who organized the whole thing. she was 1/3 exhausted (there were between 5-10 events during the last week) and 2/3 THRILLED - thrilled with the attendence, thrilled with all the events, and thrilled with the buzz great artists like satrapi offer us.

a great day.

At 6/04/2006 3:51 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

ah yes, and sarah told me to read it too, and it is amazing. i am going to read the next ones as soon as i find time.
good job seattle.....again!

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