Tuesday, April 21, 2009

For August: Finding Nouf by Zoe Ferraris

For August, we have selected Finding Nouf by Zoe Ferraris,
When sixteen-year-old Nouf goes missing, her prominent family calls on Nayir al-Sharqi, a pious desert guide, to lead the search party. Ten days later, just as Nayir is about to give up in frustration, her body is discovered by anonymous desert travelers. But when the coroner’s office determines that Nouf died not of dehydration but from drowning, and her family seems suspiciously uninterested in getting at the truth, Nayir takes it upon himself to find out what really happened. He quickly realizes that if he wants to gain access to the hidden world of women, he will have to join forces with Katya Hijazi, a lab worker at the coroner’s office who is bold enough to bare her face and to work in public. Their partnership challenges Nayir, as he confronts his desire for female companionship and the limitations imposed by his beliefs. Fast-paced and utterly transporting, Finding Nouf is a riveting literary mystery that offers an unprecedented window into Saudi Arabia and the lives of men and women there.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Our April Author: Ann Cummins

Yellowcake: A NovelOur environmentally-themed novel for April, Yellowcake, introduces us to author Ann Cummins. Here is her faculty page at Northern Arizona University. Bookbrowse offers us an interview,

Why did you choose this subject?

I grew up in the Colorado Plateau area and, like some of my characters, I'm from generations of Colorado miners. So the history and landscape are personal to me. My father was a uranium mill worker in Durango, Colorado, and his company began operating a mill in Shiprock, New Mexico, on the Navajo reservation when I was nine. So the reservation, too, is personal to me. I lived there for nine years and went to public school there.
Intrepid Reader Stevi (and our resident expert on all things nuclear) recommends the following links as background to the environmental themes of the novel:

Navajo Justice Page (Excellent overview!)

Uranium Impact Assessment Program (Activist resource!)

The real deal and more:

"Memories Come To Us In the Rain and the Wind", Oral Histories and Photographs of Navajo Uranium Miners & Their Families

Navajo Uranium Miners fight for Compensation
Navajo Uranium Radiation Victims

Mount Tenabo and Navajo uranium mining
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