Ka humThe TALK (Talk About Literature in Kansas) program is presented to us by the Kansas Humanities Council.  Each year, a theme and its books are selected by the Meade Friends of the Library.  The Friends have sponsored this program since 1986. 

The theme for the 2016 TALK program is “Women Around the World.”  The books are:  Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel, So Long a Letter by Mariama Ba, and The House of Spirits by Isabel Allende.


Women Around the World


“My heart rejoices each time a woman emerges from the shadows,” says Mariama Ba’s main character in So Long a Letter.  Ground-breaking writers like Senegal’s Ba are slowly emerging from the  shadows of their respective national histories to tell of the stories of women in their countries.  While British and American women began publishing in large numbers in the 19th century and enjoy considerable recognition in the literary world today, the publication and translation of works by women from the developing nations is a much more recent phenomenon.

Each novelist in our book selections explores the terrains and challenges of women’s lives and of a world that is both familiar and remarkably diverse from our own.  The national stories against which these novels unfold are marked by great turmoil and change in recent years.  The novels also touch on issues familiar to women everywhere:  the challenges of the coming of age, the disappointments and joys of marriage, the struggle of mothers and daughters for respect and identity, the need for community and individuality.  The women in these novels strive to articulate their dreams, exert control over their lives, and find peace within their hearts.



Like Water for Chocolate

Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel (Mexico)

Obedient daughter Tita rebels when tradition and a tyrannical mother conspire to keep her from true love in this enchanting story of romance, recipes and magic.

September 10 (Saturday), 2:00 p.m., Meade Public Library

Discussion Leader:   Anne Hawkins teaches United States history at Washburn University in Topeka.  She also teaches world history classes for home-educated youth in northeast Kansas.  She is also a member of the Kansas Alliance of Professional Historic Performers.  She became a discussion leader for the KHC TALK program in 2012.



So Long a Letter

So Long a Letter by Miriama Ba (Senegal)

In a lively letter to a childhood friend, the recently widowed Ramatoulaye reminisces about her husband’s devastating decision to take a seocnd wife and about how she rebuilt her life and her emotional serenity.

September 24 (Saturday), 2:00 p.m., Meade Public Library

Discussion Leader:   Sister Rosemary Kolich teaches English at the University of St. Mary in Leavenworth and Overland Park.  Her main emphasis is 19th century British literature with an emphasis on women writers and characters of the Victorian period.  She became a discussion leader for the KHC TALK program in 2008.



The House of Spirits

The House of Spirits by Isabel Allende (Chile)

This is the epic tale of the proud Trueba family:  stubborn patriarch Esteban, sweet but rebellious daughter Blanca, and Alba—the granddaughter who is part of both the old aristocratic order and the turbulent new Chile.

October 8 (Saturday), 2:00 p.m., Meade Public Library

Discussion Leader:  Jennifer Krisuk is an Assistant Professor of English at Dodge City Community college, where she teaches Composition, English Literature, Children’s Literature, and Young Adult Literature.She jbecame a discussion leader for the KHC TALK program in 2012.



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