Archive for the ‘Warmth of Other Suns’ Category

isabel-wilkersonOn Monday, September 2nd, the Booked for the Day Book Group met to discuss the book The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson. Here are a few of the comments made during the meeting:

The group thought that the book did not read like a history book because of the personal stories that were told.  We also talked about the research she had to do and the years it took her to complete the work.

We liked how the personal stories covered three different decades with three different areas of the country and how Wilkerson did not sugar coat the stories of Robert and George when telling their life stories. One thing that was confusing in the book was how she would repeat the same story in different chapters which made you unsure if you had already read that chapter before. Some of our members thought she could have used a better editor.

We talked about what motivated Ida Mae Gladney, George Starling, and Robert Foster to leave the South and the dangerous journey that all three had to make.

We talked about some of the Jim Crow laws that we were not aware of and what instances of racial terrorism stood out most in the book?

We talked about how some of the migrants did not tell their stories to their children and the reasons this may have happened. We also talked about how the characters did not return to the south for fear of safety, financial reasons, or just for the fact that they did not want to be reminded of what happened to them in the south.

We all decided that Ida Mae Gladney was our favorite character in the book and she was the one we were more anxious to hear more about.

Some of the misconceptions that Wilkerson dispelled were that the education in the north was better than the south, the rents they had to pay in the Chicago area, and the fact that there were more single parent households in the north than in the south.

We also talked about the demonstrations in Cicero and one of our member’s mother remembered when it took place and relayed some of the story.

These are just of few things mentioned during the discussion. Please feel free to add any of your thoughts in the comment section.


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The Chicago Public Library has something similar to our “Big Read” called “One Book, One Chicago,” but instead of one month spent with a great book, they are spending a year exploring a theme through books, films, performances, lectures, storytelling and art. The 2013-12 selection is the same as ours for this month, The Warmth of Other Suns. Check out the Chicago Public Library’s site for programs that you might be interested in.


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College of Communications professor and Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Isabel Wilkerson, author of the acclaimed book “The Warmth of Other Suns,” talks about how writing the book provided a connection to her family’s past.

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