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One Book, One Community

Curtis Library is proud to announce a return of the “One Book, One Community” reading program with a spring discussion of Writings on the Wall: Searching for a New Equality Beyond Black and White by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is a global icon that changed the game of professional basketball. Since his stellar professional career, he has gone on to become a celebrated New York Times-bestselling author, filmmaker, ambassador of education, and Time Magazine columnist.

In Writings on the Wall, Abdul-Jabbar explores the way America today is sharply divided along many cultural lines and suggests how we can bridge the gaps. He examines these issues with insight and passion as he draws from his own experiences as a superstar athlete, an inquisitive scholar, a celebrity, a father, an African  American, and a Muslim.

While race might be the starting point, his concerns are far-ranging, veering in different directions to address fractures running through all facets of America — religion, gender discrimination, class, gun violence, poverty, education, etc.–as well as the political and media forces intent on widening the cracks.

These are polarizing issues, but this book is not a polemic. His aims are illumination and discussion, not alienation and anger, and while not all readers will identify with him or agree with his solutions, Abdul-Jabbar addresses heavy topics with a straightforward, thoughtful, and entertaining touch.

The purpose of a “One Book” program is to build a stronger community with deeper connections through the common experience of reading the same book and exploring its themes together. When we do that, we engage and learn, not only about ourselves, but more importantly about each other; we are able to embrace our similarities and differences from a common point of reference.

Abdul-Jabbar says it best when he states what he hopes to gain by this book:

“I hope we’ll all huddle closer around the campfire, share our blankets, pass the hot dogs (veggie and gluten-free ones too), cherish what we have in common and figure out ways to make everyone’s lives happier.”

Staff at Curtis are busy putting together a community steering committee to develop a wide variety of programs that will include films, discussions, exhibits, expert presentations, and more. Multiple copies of Writings on the Wall will be available starting in March. Programming will begin in April.