San Rafael Public Library

Monday Night Reading/Discussion Group

Posted by bonnie on

November 6, 2017 @ 6:30 pm – 7:30 pm
Library Meeting Room
1100 E St
San Rafael, CA 94901
Reference Desk

The Downtown library has a book club that meets on the 1st or 2nd Monday of the month (depending on holidays) from 6:30 – 7:30 pm in the Library Meeting Room.
We read shorter classics, contemporary short stories, poems, articles, essays, plays, excerpts, and…? Participants have input on future readings.


January 8 (January 1st is New Years Day holiday)
Four Short Pieces in Honor of Martin Luther King’s Birthday

The Battle Royale from Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison
Growing Up Colored by Henry Louis Gates
The First Day by Edward P. Jones
Everyday use by Alice Walker

February 12 – Farwell to Manzanar
by Jeanne Wakasuki Houston & James D. Houston

Shortly after Pearl Harbor, on February 19, 1942, President Franklin Roosevelt issued Executive Order 9066 which resulted in the detention of 120,000 Japanese Americans in hastily built camps in desert and swamplands. 70,000 of the detainees were native-born American citizens. None of the detainees were ever convicted of treason against the United States.

Jeanne Watasuki Houston wrote Farewell to Manzanar, as a memoir of her family’s internment in the Sierra desert of Southern California, after a nephew questioned her about how she had felt as a seven year-old whose life had changed from playing on the pier in Long Beach to living in a tar paper shack in the desert behind barbed wire. Houston’s story also tells how the internment humiliated her father and broke down family unity in the years following the war. Farewell to Manzanar warns against being led by fears and misjudgments, and movingly tells of the losses experienced by the Watasuki family.

There have been a number of articles comparing what happened to the Japanese Americans with the initial reaction to Arab Americans after 9/11. This book along with John Okada’s No No Boy and Yoshiko Uchida’s Desert Exile, vividly portrays the lives of American citizens who were incarcerated because of their ethnic heritage.  We’ll have some copies of Houston’s book at the Adult Reference Desk upstairs in the library, which will have to be checked out to you when you pick them up.

Here are some links to resources that will inform your reading:

Densho Organization

Japanese Incarceration Facts from the Japanese American National Museum

Interview with Star Trek’s George Takai 
Pencil Box Story
Damned Fence (Poem by Anonymous Japanese American)
Dr. Warren Michio Tsuneishi’s Memories of being a Japanese American Soldier

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