KUED Launches Book Club in a Box
In conjunction with PBS’ The Great American Read, which encourages the love of reading and great storytelling, KUED is launching its Book Club in a Box, a packaged toolkit for book clubs across Utah. Thanks to a generous grant from Utah Humanities, the boxes are being offered free of charge to hosts of book clubs.
KUED worked with scholars from local universities to pair a PBS documentary with a novel of their choice. Scholars wrote discussion questions to facilitate relevant and meaningful dialogue. The documentary deepens the conversation around themes in the books. Three curated boxes include a copy of the book and documentary, background materials and discussion questions. The three curated boxes include:
- Never Cry Wolf by Farley Mowat is paired with NOVA: Inside Animal Minds. Discussion questions were written by Rob Carney, Professor of English Literature at Utah Valley University.
- Sula by Toni Morrison is paired with POV: Iris. Discussion questions were written by Natasha Saje, Professor of English at Westminster College.
- Invisible Man, by Ralph Ellison is paired with American Masters: Ralph Ellison. Discussion questions written by Forrest Crawford, Professor of Teacher Education at Weber State University
“KUED is dedicated to engaging our communities through projects that encourage critical thinking and social action,” says KUED Coordinator of Community Engagement, Laura Durham. “KUED often holds public screenings and discussions, but the Book Club in a Box is meant to make it easy for individuals to plan a book club right in their own home with family and friends. The box has everything a host needs to plan a successful discussion, plus some surprises – just for fun.”
“Few of us will ever travel to Caledonia or the Canadian arctic, except in our imaginations,” says Rob Carney. “The naturalist and writer, Farley Mowat and the PBS NOVA program are the best kinds of guides: smart, interesting, good storytellers, and curious themselves. They don’t just take us to wild landscapes; they take us inside the minds of the animals themselves.”
Says Natasha Saje, “Historically, women, especially black and poor women, have been denied the time and support necessary to make art. Toni Morrison’s novel Sula examines the life of one such woman and the community that reviles her. By contrast, the documentary about Iris Apfel highlights a woman who, despite her self-described plainness, becomes an icon of style. The pairing encourages discussion of class, race, and gender’s impact on the making of art; it also asks what it means to live a productive and fulfilling life.”
“Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man tells one man’s arduous journey from innocence to self-knowledge,” says Forrest Crawford. “This book is deliberately pinned with rich textures imbedded in Black experience imagery, philosophy, metaphors, historic events and highly contextualized dialectic wisdoms that draw out the compelling authenticity of his “painful journey toward self-examination. The American Experience documentary on Ralph Ellison only deepens our awareness of what it means to be both Black and American as we learn of his personal journey.”
While the boxes are free, registration is required and hosts are required to provide feedback to KUED. To learn more and to register for your box, visit kued.org/bookclub.