Big READ 2017
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The Florida Center for the Book at Broward County Library invites readers of all ages to participate in 2017's Big Read project.

The Big Read, a community-wide reading project, is exploring The Namesake by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Jhumpa Lahiri, with a full calendar of events including book and film discussions, lectures, writing and visual arts workshops, Indian cultural programs and other fun, family-friendly programs.

Book synopsis:  The Namesake takes the Ganguli family from their tradition-bound life in Calcutta through their fraught transformation into Americans. On the heels of their arranged wedding, Ashoke and Ashima Ganguli settle together in Cambridge, Massachusetts. An engineer by training, Ashoke adapts far less warily than his wife, who resists all things American and pines for her family. When their son is born, the task of naming him betrays the vexed results of bringing old ways to the new world. Named for a Russian writer by his Indian parents in memory of a catastrophe years before, Gogol Ganguli knows only that he suffers the burden of his heritage as well as his odd, antic name.

Book Jacket for: The namesakeWith penetrating insight, Jhumpa Lahiri reveals not only the defining power of the names and expectations bestowed upon us by our parents, but also the means by which we slowly, sometimes painfully, come to define ourselves. The novel's finely wrought descriptions of Bengali food, language, family customs, and Hindu rituals draw us deep inside the culture that Gogol's parents treasure while highlighting his own alienation from it. Gogol finishes school, becomes an architect, falls in love more than once, and eventually marries, without ever fully embracing his heritage. His decades-long unease with his name is a perfect distillation of the multiple dislocations—cultural, historic, and familial—experienced by first-generation Americans. At the novel's climax, when loss compounds loss and Gogol's family structure is forever changed, he begins to understand, at least in part, his parents' longing for the past, and the sacrifices they made to help him be what he is—truly American.  Learn more...

A limited number of free books are available for those wishing to participate in book discussions and other related activities.


Broward County Library Big Read Events​

Bengali Elephant Textile Art Workshop presented by Young At Art

Library visitors will get a chance to create a beautiful and colorful Bengali elephant textile. Among the variety of arts and crafts in Bengal, one of the most famous is their fine embroidery. A Young At Art Educator will showcase several traditional examples of designs including folk stories, flowers, birds, animals and geometric patterns - Elephant designs, symbolizing wisdom, courage, stature and strength, are the most popular among the many patterns. ​

Virtual Reality Tours of India 

Through February 28, Creation Station at Main Library

The Creation Station at Main Library will be offering Virtual Reality tours of India! Stop in and take the trip of a lifetime! 

Bankura Horse Sculpture of West Bengal Art Workshop presented by Young At Art

February 25, 2-3PM, Pembroke Pines Library  Pre-registration begins February 11th

Discover one of the most famous forms of art of West Bengal - Bankura horses. Bankura horses are tall sculptures made from terracotta and used for decorative and religious purposes in India. Participants will create their own Bankura horses using clay and traditional tools, shaping them with bamboo and stones. 

The Poetry of India through the Ages

Join us for small sampling of the incredible wealth of poetry that exists in India, from thousands of years ago to the present day, read aloud in English by Rick McKenzie, local poet and co-author of the poetry collection Money.

"The Political, Social, and Cultural Mores that Shaped JhumpaLahiri'sInterpreter of Maladies and The Namesake." Presented by Dr. Somnath Bhattacharya, Dean of the Gus Machado School of Business at St. Thomas University.

February 16, 1-2PM, North Regional/Broward College Library

Join us as Dr. Bhattacharya, a native of Calcutta, India provides us with an overview of the culture and history of contemporary India which serve as the backdrop to Jhumpa Lahiri's writings.

Holi Festival of Colors

February 18, 2-4PM, Southwest Regional Library

Holi is a Hindu spring festival in India and Nepal, also known as the festival of colors or the festival of sharing love. Highlights of this festival will include: "Celestial India" a dance performance by Nritay Surhabhi School of Dance, Sitar music performed by the Association of Performing Arts of India, food tastings, and the grand finale color toss!

Life as Mash Up Americans

February 25 from 2 to 3:30PM, West Regional Library

This teen workshop presented by young adult authors Steven dos Santos and Stacie Ramey will discuss Jhumpa Lahiri's The Namesake as it relates to the pressures of being a child of immigrants, as well as the specific rice ceremony described in the book, and the theme of destiny/fate belief systems of different cultures and/or young adult literature. Most importantly, the authors will discuss how today's teens self-identify. Interactive games and activities will help teens express their own true versions of themselves. 





The Big Read is a program of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest. It is being presented locally by Florida Center for the Book at Broward County Library in partnership with Young at Art Museum.

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