The Understanding the Middle East Book Club has been meeting since 2009, said club member Roland Menestres. About 30 men and women make up the group.
Tell us about your club. We meet the third Monday of the month at 7 p.m. at Quail Ridge Books, or occasionally at Whole Foods, in the Ridgewood Shopping Center in Raleigh. Anyone who has read the monthly selection and is willing to share their opinion and be respectful of others’ may join the discussion. We read memoirs, fiction, poetry, and nonfiction. Anyone in the group can suggest and add to the book selection list, which is filled through the end of 2016. Our monthly attendance numbers around 15. We focus our in-depth discussions on the selected book and welcome all personal experiences related to the Middle East.
What are you reading now? “Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood” By Marjane Satrapi.
What is your club’s favorite book? “Once Upon a Country: A Palestinian Life” by Sari Nusseibeh with Anthony David and “On Saudi Arabia: Its People, Past, Religion, Fault Lines – and Future” by Karen Elliott House.
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What’s unique about your club? The members of our group contribute to our club’s uniqueness. A few were born in the Middle East and others have been attracted to it through visits, jobs, personal missions and a general interest in the region. Our members represent the Jewish, Christian and the Muslim faiths. One of our goals is to balance the Western perspective that we are exposed to in the mainstream media with teachings from the Middle-East as narrated by authors from Morocco to Pakistan, Turkey to Sudan.
How to join: More information about the club, including a list of upcoming book selections can be found at quailridgebooks.com/middle-east-book-club.
Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood
Pantheon, 160 pages