NeighbReads is a monthly book club centered around topics relevant to Neighborhood House’s work and our communities. Currently virtual, we’ll gather to share our reflections and experiences through a guided discussion about books considering themes such as food, housing, racial justice, community, and more.
NeighbReads is open to everyone. Please find dates and registration links below.
2022 Upcoming Book Club Events
February 15 | 7 – 8:30 p.m. | Register here
The Book on Ending Homelessness
By Iain De Jong
The Book on Ending Homelessness provides insights for those in the industry, elected officials, policy makers, funders, public servants and the general public on the best ways to move from managing homelessness to ending homelessness. While ending homelessness may seem to be a whacky or even preposterous idea, Iain De Jong takes more than two decades of experience as an award winning industry leader to lay out how and why homelessness can be ended in very practical ways. This book will provoke and teach, serving as both inspiration and an instruction manual for those serious about combatting one of the most important social issues of our time. The book will reshape how you think about homelessness, as well as how strategies like sheltering, street outreach and day services all play a role in ending homelessness when operated with a housing-focused lens and the right service orientation. No doubt the book will reassure some that their thinking and actions regarding homelessness are bang on, while challenging others to think and respond differently in what they do and how they invest their money. Many of the ideas in the book elaborate upon ideas that Iain shares in his blog, keynote speeches and conference presentations, as well as the training series that Iain and his team have been offering for the past decade.
April 26 | 7 – 8:30 p.m. | Register here
What We Hunger For: Refugee and Immigrant Stories about Food and Family
Edited by Sun Yun Shin
Eating is an intimacy bound with language, family, and migration. Travel far and near with fourteen gifted writers from immigrant and refugee families as they share their flavorful, luminous stories.
Food can be a unifier and a healer, bringing people together across generations and cultures. Sharing a meal often leads to sharing stories and deepening our understanding of each other and our respective histories and practices, global and local. Newcomers to the United States bring their own culinary traditions and may re-create food memories at home, introduce new friends and neighbors to their favorite dishes, and explore comforting flavors and experiences of hospitality at local restaurants, community gatherings, and spiritual ceremonies. People coming to Minnesota from all over the globe must adapt to different growing seasons and to the regional selections available at corner stores and farmers markets. All of these experiences yield stories worth sharing around Minnesota cook fires, circles, and tables.
In What We Hunger For, fourteen writers from refugee and immigrant families write about their complicated, poignant, funny, difficult, joyful, and ongoing relationships to food, cooking, and eating. They journey to Algeria, to Thailand, to Uganda to soothe body and mind; connect with generations past and present through rituals and recipes handed down from parent to child; and savor the flavors of home, whether creating familiar dishes in less-familiar places or coming to appreciate ancestral wisdom translated into modern foodways.
June 28 | 7 – 8:30 p.m. | Register here
Tell Me How It Ends: An Essay in Forty Questions
By Valeria Luiselli
Structured around the forty questions volunteer worker Valeria Luiselli translates from a court system form and asks undocumented Latin American children facing deportation, Tell Me How It Ends humanizes these young migrants and highlights the contradiction between the idea of America as a fiction for immigrants and the reality of racism and fear—here and back home.
“Luiselli’s prose is always lush and astute, but this long essay, which borrows its framework from questions on the cold, bureaucratic work sheets with which she became so familiar (for example, ‘Did anything happen on your trip to the U.S. that scared or hurt you?’), is teeming with urgency…In this slim volume about the spectacular failure of the American Dream, she tells the stories of the unnamed children she’s encountered and their fears and desires, as well as her own family’s immigration story.” —Vulture
“Worthy of inclusion in a great American (and international) canon of writing about migration.” –Texas Observer
“A powerful indictment of American immigration policy, [Tell Me How It Ends] examines a system that has failed child refugees in particular.” —Financial Times
“Masterfully blends journalism, auto/biography, and political history into a compelling and cohesive narrative. . . . Luiselli uses the personal to get political but smartly sidesteps identity politics to focus on policy instead.”—The Rumpus
August 23 | 7 – 8:30 p.m. | Register here
Just Us: An American Conversation
By Claudia Rankine
In Just Us, Claudia Rankine invites us into a necessary conversation about Whiteness in America. What would it take for us to breach the silence, guilt, and violence that arise from addressing Whiteness for what it is? What are the consequences if we keep avoiding this conversation? What might it look like if we step into it? “I learned early that being right pales next to staying in the room,” she writes.
This brilliant assembly of essays, poems, documents, and images disrupts the false comfort of our culture’s liminal and private spaces―the airport, the theater, the dinner party, the voting booth―where neutrality and politeness deflect true engagement in our shared problems. Rankine makes unprecedented art out of the actual voices and rebuttals of others: White men responding to, and with, their White male privilege; a friend clarifying her unexpected behavior at a play; and women on the street expressing the political currency of dyeing their hair blond, all running alongside fact-checked notes and commentary that complement Rankine’s own text, complicating notions of authority and who gets the last word. Funny, vulnerable, and prescient, Just Us is Rankine’s most intimate and urgent book, a crucial call to challenge our vexed reality.
October 25 | 7 – 8:30 p.m. | Register here
A Collective Refugee Memoir
By Kao Kolia Yang
All over this country, there are refugees. But beyond the headlines, few know who they are, how they live, or what they have lost. Although Minnesota is not known for its diversity, the state has welcomed more refugees per capita than any other, from Syria to Bosnia, Thailand to Liberia. Now, with nativism on the rise, Kao Kalia Yang―herself a Hmong refugee―has gathered stories of the stateless who today call the Twin Cities home.
Here are people who found the strength and courage to rebuild after leaving all they hold dear. Awo and her mother, who escaped from Somalia, reunite with her father on the phone every Saturday, across the span of continents and decades. Tommy, born in Minneapolis to refugees from Cambodia, cannot escape the war that his parents carry inside. As Afghani flees the reach of the Taliban, he seeks at every stop what he calls a certificate of his humanity. Mr. Truong brings pho from Vietnam to Frogtown in St. Paul, reviving a crumbling block as well as his own family.
In Yang’s exquisite, necessary telling, these fourteen stories for refugee journeys restore history and humanity to America’s strangers and redeem its long tradition of welcome.