Three or four pages took my breath away. A wonderful Sunday spent reading is such a gift and I enjoyed every minute of it. This is particularly true because I'm reading Mary Doria Russell's book 'A Thread of Grace' which is set in Italy during WW2. This may be the best 'war' book I've ever read because it, more than most, gets the complexity of Nazi hate and in doing so sees the connection between the slaughter of those with disabilities and the Holocaust.
Disability is a small part of this book but arguably the most powerful scene in the book is about a mother's reaction to a Doctor's pronouncement that death is preferable to disability. I read that scene, which comes late in the book, over and over again impressed by the vivid writing, the authenticity of the mother's love, the drama in the conflict. It made me want to immediately sit and talk with other people about how they saw the scene, how they interpreted the main message of the book, how disability helped Doria Russell make her point.
An idea formed. At Vita Community Living Services we have a book club. We choose a book that has a disability theme and after having read it several of us from across the agency get together and have a chat about the book and what it had to say. We've had two meetings thus far and, interestingly, we've made changes to how we do things in the agency based on those discussions. The book club was formed to 1) collapse hierarchy in the agency 2) promote a sense of convivial relationships 3) engage a different part of our minds when considering disability 4) support disability culture. I think we've acheived that. Oddly, I bought two books recently because they had main characters with disabilities 'October' and 'Lottery' and was planning to read them next. The disability theme (again minor but important) in A Thread of Grace took my by surprise.
So, I'm wondering, anyone up for an on-line book club through Chewing the Fat? If somewhere near ten people sign up, I think we should go ahead an do it. I suggest this book as a good place to start. The book isn't 'about' disability but it's enriched by including disability history and disability sub-themes. The book will appeal to those who are interested in WW2 or Italian history, parents of children with disabilities (particularly Down Syndrome) and those who just like a ripping good read.
From the back of the book:
Hauntingly beautiful, utterly unforgettable - San Francisco Chronicle
... packs an emotional punch - People
An addictive page turner ... - The Washington Post
So, I'm not alone in my feelings for the book. If you are up to it and in to it, just sign up and if we get between 7 and 10 (or even more) we'll set a date and then have a discussion here on Fat. Wouldn't it be wonderful to have people in a variety of countries talking about a book together, supporting work that is inclusive of the disability experience and sharing thoughts together.
I'm in are you?