Concord Reads is back and wants YOU to read Firoozeh Dumas's "Funny in Farsi" and "Laughing Without An Accent."
An initiative of the Concord Public Library Foundation and the Concord Public Library, Concord Reads encourages the community to pick up the same book (or books) and to get reading. Special programming pertaining to Dumas's works will be happening around town to get people talking not only about the books but also about the broader theme of immigration.
We spoke with Shawn LaFrance, head of the Concord Reads committee, about this year's selections.
This year, the committee went with an author instead of a book. What was the reasoning behind this? We selected Firoozeh Dumas because she has published two books that relate to our theme of immigration. "Funny in Farsi" provides her perspective as a young immigrant girl to the United States in the 1970s while "Laughing Without An Accent" was published in 2008 and draws upon her more recent experiences as an adult.
Why is immigration a topic that the community should be discussing? Immigration is a very timely topic. There has been a significant increase in immigrants in the United States and New Hampshire. There was a 23 percent increase in the number of foreign-born residents in the state between 2000 and 2008. Also, many of us have parents or grandparents who were immigrants.
There are so many books about immigration. What about Dumas's books spoke to committee members? Humor. The committee wanted to address immigration but offer readers an immigrant author's perspective that was easy to read.
How is the programming and book selected? A volunteer committee meets for a few months to collect ideas. We have some specific criteria such as a book's availability in paperback, its reading level and length. Committee members then read suggested books and discuss their potential appeal in the community and opportunities to engage with other groups in Concord to host community programs. We've partnered with schools, civic groups, businesses and more.
Even if someone hasn't read both books, can they still attend the programming? Yes, Dumas's presentation on Oct. 21 or another program may inspire you to read the books. The library has many copies of each book so its easy to get.
Why should people participate this year? The general news is often gloomy and uncertain. These books are entertaining. Dumas provides delightful insights into family life, contemporary America and a strong affection for her social and cultural roots. Her stories are amusing and provide everyone an opportunity to exchange ideas and conversations about what connects us in a community.
How can people join next year's committee? Anyone interested in getting involved can contact leave their name and contact information at the libray's reference desk or e-mail me at email@example.com.
All programming is free, unless otherwise noted. For more information, visit concordpubliclibrary.net.
Check out these events: Sept. 19 at 2 p.m. - Book discussion at Concord High School.
Sept. 20 at 7 p.m. - Book discussion at the Concord Public Library
Sept. 22 at 7 p.m. - "Our Summer in Tehran" at Red River Theatres (fee)
Sept. 28 at 7 p.m. - Immigrant stories of Concord residents at the Concord Public Library
Sept. 29 at 7 p.m. - "White Balloon" at Red River Theatres (fee)
Oct. 6 at 7 p.m. - "Islam and Other Religions" at the Concord Woman's Club
Oct. 12 at 7 p.m. - "Iran: Modern History and Culture" at Bishop Brady High School
Oct. 16 at 2 p.m. - Children's (grades 3-5) immigration program at the Concord Public Library
Oct. 18 at 7 p.m. - Rick Steve's Iran travel journal (film) at Concord Public Library (next page »)