TALK Book Discussion Series

This winter and spring, Newton Public Library offers “Women Around the World,” a three-part TALK (Talk About Literature in Kansas) book discussion series.

This series introduces readers to the voices of women novelists from Latin America; Africa; and Ireland, a European nation with a colonial past. The worlds these writers evoke are remarkably diverse, from the gritty South Africa of Nadine Gordimer to the magical terrain of Laura Esquivel’s Mexico. They put us on intimate terms with some realities unfamiliar to Americans: revolution, polygamy, the crimes of dictatorship.

At the same time, readers will identify with universal themes that shape the lives of women everywhere: love, growing up, the joys and disappointments of marriage, and the struggle for respect and identity.

Members of the public are invited to participate in any or all of these free discussions. Thanks to a grant from Humanities Kansas, each will be led by a special guest.

Copies of the selected books are available for borrowing. Ask at the public service desk, email, or call 316-283-2890.

Feb. 27, 7 p.m.: “The Country Girls Trilogy,” by Edna O’Brien. Discussion leader: Anne Hawkins, history teacher at Washburn University.

Kate and Baba are ambitious Irish country girls in search of life: romantic Kate seeks love, while pragmatic Baba will take whatever she can get. Together they set out to conquer Dublin and the world.

• March 27, 7 p.m.: “Like Water for Chocolate” by Laura Esquivel. Discussion leader: Miranda Ericsson Kendall, public services librarian at Topeka & Shawnee County Public Library.

Obedient daughter Tita rebels when tradition and a tyrannical mother conspire to keep her from true love in this enchanting story of romance, recipes, and magic.

• April 27, 7 p.m.: “None to Accompany Me,” by Nadine Gordimer. Discussion leader: Nicolas Shump, history and English teacher at the Barstow School in Kansas City.

The evolving relationships of two couples, one Black, one white, illustrate the hazards and hopes of life in post-apartheid South Africa, especially for Vera Stark, a mature, self-possessed woman on the brink of change.