‘Behold the Dreamers’ is Linn Area Reads selection

A book about immigration, the financial crisis and the American dream is the Linn Area Reads selection for 2018.

“Behold the Dreamers” is Imbolo Mbue’s debut novel, published in 2016. It tells the story of Cameroonian immigrants Jende and Neni Jonga as their lives intersect with a wealthy New York family during the 2008 financial crisis. It won the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction, the Blue Metropolis Words to Change Award and was an Oprah’s Book Club selection, among other honors.

Linn Area Reads encourages residents to all read one book as a community, followed by public events such as book discussions.

“It’s a story about immigration and the American dream, something we think many people are talking about today. It’s a great book to have a discussion around,” said Cedar Rapids Public Library Community Relations Manager Amber Mussman. “The goal as always is to start a community discussion.”

This year, Linn Area Reads is expanding for the first time beyond the Cedar Rapids, Marion and Hiawatha libraries to include all libraries in Linn County. The different libraries, as well as partner bookstores Barnes & Noble and Next Page Books, will be able to create events that make sense for them, Mussman said. Programming is online at metrolibrarynetwork.or/linnareareads. More programming may be added in the future, and people can also check with their local libraries for updates.

Here is the current list of upcoming Linn Area Reads programs:

Taming a Bear Market, 6:30 p.m. Feb. 13, Marion Public Library, 1095 Sixth Ave., Marion. Financial experts from the Strellner Agency Group will unpack the 2008 financial collapse and share what can be done to protect oneself from future recessions.

Community book discussion of “Behold the Dreamers”, 6 p.m. Feb. 21, Marion Public Library, 1095 Sixth Ave., Marion.


Plunder: The Crime of Our Time documentary screening, 6 p.m. Feb. 22, Marion Public Library, 1095 Sixth Ave., Marion. Exposing the forces responsible for the loss of trillions of dollars, millions of jobs, massive foreclosures and the disappearance of retirement funds, “Plunder: The Crime of Our Time” investigates the unregulated fraud and theft that led to the market’s collapse in fall 2008. Filmmaker Danny Schechter, Emmy Award-winning former ABC News and CNN producer, explores the epidemic of subprime mortgages, predatory lending, insurance scams, and high-risk hedge funds to illustrate the connection between the housing market and the economic collapse that followed.

Community book discussion of “Behold the Dreamers”, 7 p.m. Feb. 26, Lisbon Public Library, 101 E. Main St., Lisbon.

Community Cultural Celebration and Expo, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. March 3, Cedar Rapids Public Library, 450 Fifth Ave. SE, Cedar Rapids. Join the Cedar Rapids Public Library and the Cedar Rapids Civil Rights Commission as organizations and groups from across the area celebrate the diversity and culture of the community.

Reality Bites: Immigrants and Refugees, 6 to 8 p.m. March 7, April 4 and May 2, 6-8 p.m., Cedar Rapids Public Library, 450 Fifth Ave. SE, Cedar Rapids. This is a workshop-style class, with short videos and films, collective conversations and group exercises around the theme of Immigrants and Refugees. Be prepared to share in a civil and safe environment. In the first session participants learn, then discuss in the second and finally share. All are welcome.

Community book discussion of “Behold the Dreamers”, 2 p.m. March 12, Barnes & Noble Booksellers, 333 Collins Road NE, Cedar Rapids

West African Art, 7 p.m. March 13, Marion Public Library, 1095 Sixth Ave., Marion. Vero Smith, Assistant Curator at the University of Iowa Museum of Art, will present on the West African Art collection.

Community book discussion of “Behold the Dreamers”, 1 p.m. March 21, Coggon Public Library, 216 E. Main St., Coggon

l Comments: (319) 398-8339; [email protected]

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