How to participate:

At the beginning of each month we will post a picture of the selected book. Throughout the month you can take pictures as you read. If you tag us/use the #MARLreads on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter we will repost your picture. During this time of social isolation we will post two books for each month. Please feel free to contact us (Sandra@marl.mb.ca) to suggest books or hold a virtual book club with your group or organization. 

Near the end of the month we’ll post discussion questions that you can answer in the comments section. 

How to participate as a classroom: 

Select a book from MARL’s booklist on our website, or read along with us for our selected book of the month. Add your email to our book club email list and we will send you discussion questions to guide your class.

Schedule a discussion with your class or group: Book a one-hour educational workshop in zoom to accompany the reading material. 

Miss Ex-Yugoslavia: A Memoir

by Sofija Stefanovic

“Sofija Stefanovic’s beautiful memoir Miss Ex-Yugoslavia depicts the elegant transit of a girl becoming an artist. This is a story we yearn to know: How does a girl lose her childhood, family, and nation, yet nurture her memories, dreams, and art? Stefanovic hits all her marks, and she keeps us in her thrall.” —Min Jin Lee, author of Pachinko, a New York Times bestseller and National Book Award finalist

Why we chose this book: Last month we took on some heavy topics so this month it is time to inject some comedy into our selections. Miss Ex-Yugoslavia also looks at themes of home and movement during a time of crisis. Given the current pandemic many families have had to discuss what places they call home and feel are safe for their loved ones. There are themes like freedom of movement and identity that also accompany times of crisis. 

Food for Thought:

1. How does movement on a global scale impact local communities?

2. What elements of a specific place contribute to our identities?

3. How do experiences in global travel change our impressions of home?

Born A Crime

By Trevor Noah

The compelling, inspiring, and comically sublime New York Times bestseller about one man’s coming-of-age, set during the twilight of apartheid and the tumultuous days of freedom that followed. Born a Crime is the story of a mischievous young boy who grows into a restless young man as he struggles to find himself in a world where he was never supposed to exist. It is also the story of that young man’s relationship with his fearless, rebellious, and fervently religious mother—his teammate, a woman determined to save her son from the cycle of poverty, violence, and abuse that would ultimately threaten her own life. Trevor Noah’s unlikely path from apartheid South Africa to the desk of The Daily Show began with a criminal act: his birth.

Why we chose this book: An important part of resilience and getting trough difficult time is finding humor in unlikely places. Trevor Noah has been hosting the 'Trevor Noah Social Distancing Show' from his living room in New York that is currently under lockdown. We are currently experiencing a situation of shifting social norms. In his childhood Tervor had to navigate multiple social norms regarding places and spaces that he did or did not belong. His mothers decision to have a 'coloured' child created many challenges for them especially when going out in public. This book explores  how to navigate shifting social norms as a minority that is persecuted. 

Food for thought:

1. What social norms did Trevor's mother challenge? 

2. What role did religion play in the lives of Trevor and his mother?

3. How did social norms change over the period of Noah's childhood?


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