Readers travel to South Asia through books

Readers travel to South Asia through books Readers in the Vermillion area can learn about life in South Asia by participating in the South Dakota Humanities Council Reading Series this fall at the Vermillion Public Library.

The first discussion will take place Sunday, Oct. 25 at 3 p.m. with the second and third meetings Sunday, Nov. 1 and Sunday, Nov. 15.

Readers will meet with Jamie Sullivan from Mount Marty College to talk about life in India. The discussions will center on Nectar in a Sieve by Kamala Markandaya. Arundhati Roy's The God of Small Things is the second book and currently on the New York Times Bestseller List.

Interested people can sign up for the discussions at the Vermillion Public Library and purchase books along with a study guide for $10.

Nectar in a Sieve is the story of a peasant woman who reflects on her life as a child bride of a tenant farmer. She and her husband make their living from a land ravaged by droughts, monsoons and insects.

The God of Small Things won the prestigious Booker Prize. It created some controversy for its chronicle of a dysfunctional Indian family with a divorced mother with her twin son and daughter who struggle to come to grips with life apart and together. The novel gives a picture of the caste system and its group divisions that may in some ways describe aspects of American society.

The Reading Series takes place in around 31 South Dakota communities this fall as one of the Humanities Council's most successful programs. It encourages people to think about the uniquenesses that make up the world and to the ways in which people respond through such things as literature, history, philosophy and ethics.

A discussion will also take place on the Internet for readers, particularly those outside of the communities sponsoring discussions.

For more information on the Reading Series or any other Council programs, call or write the Council at (605) 688-6113 or Box 7050, University Station, Brookings, SD 57007 or visit the Council website at

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