September 2, 2015
After finishing The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd, our September selection, I wanted to know more about the author and how she came to write this remarkable book.
This is a universal and timeless story, made increasingly plausible as technology and news intersect. Do we live in a world that makes one human less valuable than another? Is it alright to track the movement of a human being like a FedEx package?
Sue Monk Kidd says she knew she had to write this book when she saw that the inventory from a house in Charleston included human beings alongside furniture and carpets.
"The moment hit me close to the bone, in part because of how real and close these human beings suddenly seemed, but also because of the sheer banality and acceptability of listing them as possessions among the carpets and cloth. Here was not just our human capacity for cruelty, but our ability to render it invisible. How do such things happen? How do we grow comfortable with the particulars of evil? How are we able to normalize it? How does evil gather when no one is looking? Discovering the seventeen names on the ledger was when I understood how dangerous it is to separate ourselves from our history, even when it’s unspeakably painful."
I hope this book has made you stop and ponder, and brought questions of your own to mind. We can all share those ponderings when we meet on September 8. Our evening session is sold out, so please sign up to join us at two in the afternoon. See you then.
August 26, 2015
Many characters are looking for freedom in our September selection, The Invention of Wings, by Sue Monk Kidd.
To some it comes, but not easily, and to others it comes only in whatever the hereafter has to offer. The liberation of blacks during and after the Civil War is a common topic in books and conversation, but the effect of liberation on whites is a less often told story. In this book, even the assistance given to a slave has a cost to young, white Sarah. When it is discovered she is teaching Handful to read, Sarah is banned from her favorite room in the house, the library. Handful, however, suffers as she is beaten.
The inclusion of the Grimke sisters in this story is an excellent tool to explore the enormous impact slavery had on whites. Kidd doesn't shy away from talking about the power cross-racial intimacy had to radicalize both parties. She does an excellent job speaking to the harm in white innocence and naïveté. Determination is one thing, but it sometimes leads where you wish it hadn't.
I hope you are enjoying this book as much as I am. I look forward to hearing your thoughts on September 8th. Please join us for either our 2 p.m. or 6 p.m. meeting and have your say.
August 19, 2015
Our September pick, Sue Monk Kidd's book, The Invention of Wings, is a historical novel in the truest sense. Kidd takes real people and real events and puts them into a personal narrative. At a moment in our history when Civil Rights issues are once again in the headlines, this book traces the history of some of today's biggest racial divides.
The story takes place, in large part, in Charleston. The Charleston of the novel may not seem too far removed from the Charleston that just last month removed the Confederate Flag from its flagpole. The memories of the March in Selma, once thought to be about problems far in the past, have surfaced once again in Ferguson and Baltimore.
In The Invention of Wings, we hear conversations between Handful and her Mother that resonate more now than ever. What do we think of Denmark Vesey now? Did he do more harm than good at the time? We now can associate him with the Emmanuel AME Church where the horrific killings took place in Charleston this year. Mother Emmanuel, as the church is known, was Vesey's spiritual refuge and the place most associated with the slave uprising he planned.
While reading this book, we have the benefit of hindsight to think about what Vesey stood for, and how his thoughts and actions have influenced events happening today. How far have we come?
Please join our conversation about this entertaining and important book, Tueday, September 8th at either 2pm or 6pm. We look forward to seeing you there.
August 12, 2015
Sue Monk Kidd's The Invention of Wings will be our September selection for CapRadio Reads Face To Face meetings on Tuesday, September 8th.
The Invention of Wings begins with an image of Hetty"handful," who is a slave in early nineteenth century Charleston, talking about the night her mother told her that her ancestors in Africa could fly over trees and through clouds. With that story, Handful's mother gave her the hope that she might someday fly to freedom.
This book, written by the author of The Secret Life of Bees, is a story of struggles -- struggles to live free and struggles with the constraints of life for whites and blacks during this time in our history.
I hope you will enjoy the book and join us for our conversation on September 8th. With two meetings to choose from, there should be a place at the table for all who wish to come.
See you then.