Kepler’s and Menlo Park Library are pleased to announce the launch of a new program designed to bring our community together around inspiring ideas: Community Reads @ Home.
With Community Reads the whole community comes together to read the same book simultaneously, participate in discussions, and develop greater understanding of our human condition.
The title selected as our first Community Reads pick is Exit West, by Mohsin Hamid.
MENLO PARK LIBRARY present
Writing is perhaps the greatest of human inventions, binding together people, citizens of distant epochs, who never knew one another. Books break the shackles of time—proof that humans can work magic.
01 Why This Program?
The goal of Community Reads is to broaden our mission to engage, enrich, and inspire our community through literature. We especially love the Community Reads program because it encapsulates the very essence of our existence: to connect us all through great books, engage in meaningful conversations and motivate us to bring social changes.
This notion is even more relevant during the current stay-at-home orders, when we’re homebound and isolated from each other. At this time, our sense of responsibility for expanding connections with our community and offering lifelong learning opportunities is even greater.
02 Why This Book?
We think that Exit West by Mohsin Hamid is the perfect book to provide our readers with a sense of hope and the opportunity to engage in enriching discussion. When you open this book, you’ll experience something that only great books are able to achieve; greater understanding of other people’s lives and how their personal stories of human struggle illuminate our own existence.
In Exit West, Mohsin Hamid chronicles the lives of two young lovers from an unnamed country at the onset of civil war. Nadia and Saeed flee their ancestral home through a series of special portals taking them across the world, and eventually to Marin County. This is an intimate story about displacement and leaving the people you love, but also a story of courage, loyalty, and our need for connection.
This book raises important issues of borders and immigration, the use of technology for surveillance, one’s sense of identity and family, and how we define global community. We hope that reading Exit West will bring greater understanding of the universality of the migration experience, and living in uncertainty, as this hauntingly beautiful sentence from the book states, "We are all migrants through time."
Mohsin Hamid is an award-winning author from Lahore, Pakistan. He has spent about half his life there and much of the rest in London, New York, and California.
Exit West was New York Times Best Book of the Year (2017), winner of the L.A. Times Book Prize for Fiction, and the Aspen Words Literary Prize. It has been a staff favorite at Kepler’s and at the Menlo Park Library. Barack Obama called it one of the best books he read in 2017. Exit West is being adapted into a feature film for Netflix.
03 How Can I Participate?
Read The Book
Starting May 6, 2020
Buy the Book from Kepler's
Click here to order a copy from Kepler’s Books. The paperback, hardcover, large print, and Spanish language edition are available.
If you are interested in a bulk purchase for your organization, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Borrow the Book from Menlo Park Library
Menlo Park Library is offering a limited number of honorback (return when you can) library copies of Exit West for library patrons who do not wish, or cannot afford, to purchase a copy of their own.
To request a Spanish language copy, email email@example.com with your full name, address, and book request.
If you have any questions, email the Menlo Park Library Information Services Staff at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Participate in Book Discussion Sessions
June 18, 7:00 pm
June 20, 11:00 am
From Menlo Park Library:
Sign up for our Virtual Author Event
June 25, 7:30 pm
We will be hosting a special virtual author event with Exit West’s author Mohsin Hamid. Click here to register for this event.
In Exit West, Nadia and Saeed hear whispers about doors that can whisk people far away. If you found a door that could take you far away, where would you want to go?
With this prompt in mind, submit artwork for consideration in our virtual showcase of local artists ages teen and up. We accept drawings, photographs, paintings, poetry, videos, and any other medium that can be displayed in our online gallery. Email your creation to mplref [at] menlopark [dot] org.
Entries must be submitted by the creator of the original work. Eligibility for display is at the discretion of the Kepler's and Menlo Park Library Staff.