The County Public Library in Beaufort and the Western Carteret Library in Cape Carteret are gearing up for Let’s Talk About It, a popular book reading and discussion series.
At the Beaufort location, the session is from 7-8:45 p.m. alternate Mondays starting this week through Nov. 4, and the topic will be “Muslim Journeys: American Stories.”
The Western Carteret series is “Beyond the Battlefield: Alternative Views of War.” The sessions will be held from 7-8:45 p.m. alternating Tuesdays starting this week and running to Nov. 5.
These sessions are free, open to the public and made possible by funding from the N.C. Humanities Council, a statewide nonprofit and affiliate of the National Endowment. The Friends of the Library groups at both locations provide matching funds for the Let’s Talk About It series.
The libraries will loan the books free of charge. The following descriptions were provided by library brochures.
‘Muslim Journeys: American Stories’
Spanning American history, the stories of American Muslims show how people of varying religious, cultural, ethnic and racial backgrounds have interacted with each other, not only shaping and reshaping their individual lives, but changing the contours of American society, as well.
These stories are windows into the formation of Muslim and American identities in the modern world. The books in the American Stories section of Muslim Journeys do not aim to provide a comprehensive representation of American Muslims.
The schedule for the series is as follows:
Sept. 9: Guest scholar Jamie Brummitt will discuss Prince Among Slaves: The True Story of an African Prince Sold Into Slavery in the American South by Terry Alford.
The book tells the story of Abd al-Rahman Ibrahima one of tens of thousands of West African Muslims who lived in slavery in antebellum America.
Sept. 23: Ms. Brummitt will discuss The Columbia Sourcebook of Muslims in the US compiled by Edward E. Curtis IV.
The book gives readers a selection of readings that describe the next wave of Muslim newcomers estimated to number 60,000, who arrived voluntarily between the 1880s and 1910s from eastern Europe, South Asia and the Middle East.
The readings also describe the turn to Islam among some African Americans in the 20th century.
Oct. 7: Guest scholar Mary Nyangweso will discuss Acts of Faith: The Story of an American Muslim, the Struggle for the Soul of a Generation by Eboo Patel.
The book covers the changing journey of younger generations formed by American society and politics, rather than events affecting their coreligionists overseas.
Oct. 21: Mona Russell will discuss A Quiet Revolution: The Veil’s Resurgence from the Middle East to America by Leila Ahemd. The author traces the history of debates surrounding the veil back to efforts by European empires to justify the colonization of Muslim majority societies and to unveiling movements led by Muslim reformers and feminists.
Nov. 4: Joe Gomez will discuss The Butterfly Mosque: A Young American Woman’s Journey to Love and Islam by G. Willow Wilson.
This is a memoir recounting the experiences of a young, white, middle-class American woman who becomes interested in Islam in college while struggling with her health.
She eventually converts and moves temporarily to Cairo, Egypt, to teach English. There, she falls in love with an Egyptian Muslim and gets married. Much of her story is about the steep learning curve she faces as she enters a middle-class Egyptian family in an age of the “clash of civilizations” and the “war on terror.
‘Beyond the Battlefield: Alternative Views of War’
Since time began, humans have been at war with one another. They have fought for natural resources, power and national security. Throughout history, literary and media accounts of war have been as varied as the wars themselves and often glorify the battlefield, romanticizing the deaths and acts as larger than life.
In the Let’s Talk About It book series, “Beyond the Battlefield: Alternative Views of War,” rather than the physical landscape of armed conflict, readers will examine the battlefield of the heart and the individual’s struggle through the emotional consequences of witnessing the ravages of war.
The schedule is as follows:
Sept. 10: Anne Baker will discuss March by Geraldine Brooks.
Louisa May Alcott’s classic novel Little Women reveals little about the father of the girls. March fills in the gaps by tracing the father’s journey from the Concord home where he enlisted, through his experiences on the battlefield and, finally, as a patient in a Union hospital.
Through March, Mr. Brooks imagines the relationships he might have had with abolitionist John Brown, starting with cheerful letters to home and finishing with stark, honest narrative.
Sept. 24: Nick Halpern will discuss All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque.
All Quiet on the Western Front tells the story of young German soldiers fighting in the frontline trenches in France during the last two years of World War I.
They see themselves as a “lost generation, a generation of men who, even though they may have escaped shells, were destroyed by the war.” Their experiences lead them to question and eventually reject everything they once believed.
Oct. 8: Susan Schmidt will discuss The Reader by Bernhard Schlink.
In post-war Germany, an ill, 15-year-old Michael Berg is rescued by a strange, beautiful woman, Hanna. Later, Michael thanks his rescuer and is entangled in a consuming love affair. She disappears for years, until the trial of a woman accused of Nazi crimes…Hanna.
The Reader explores notions of guilt, innocence, love, loyalty and the human tragedies of war that continue long after the battle is over.
Oct. 22: Ms. Schmidt will act as the guest speaker and discuss The Coldest War by James Brady.
The Korean War is America’s “forgotten war,” despite killing 54,246 Americans in 37 months. The Coldest War graphically portrays what it was like for foot soldiers in an unpopular and little-understood war in the mountains of a far-off Asian land.
This memoir gives you a “you were there” view of what it was like to fight a ground war against two enemies — the weather and the opposing army.
Nov. 5: Bill DiNome will discuss The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien.
The title refers to items American soldiers in Vietnam carried with them, weapons, ammunition, tools, but more importantly, the mementos - letters, photos, “...those trappings had been crushed under the weight of simple daily realities. I turned mean in-side, even cruel at times. I now felt a deep coldness inside me...I was capable of evil.”
The book is disquieting, but readers are rewarded by its honest look at war and its aftermath.
The libraries’ hours may be affected by Hurricane Dorian. Call ahead of time to see if the Let’s Talk About It discussion series is taking place.