Begin the new year by participating in two book discussions that explore barriers and boundaries and offer readers a chance to better understand challenges, conflicts, injustices, and emotions faced by characters in communities that may be unfamiliar to them.

A Place for Us — Tuesday, January 19, 7 p.m.  ARESD team member Sharon Baker will facilitate a discussion of this debut novel by Fatima Farheen Mirza, which delves into the struggles and intricacies of assimilation that an Indian American-Muslim family faces as they straddle two different cultures. According to one reviewer, the book “follows the experience of a devout Shia Muslim Indian family in Northern California, post-9/11. So much of the story can already be deduced from that premise: the trials and tribulations of being a significantly marginalized, if not demonized, minority attempting to coexist with those who label them ‘others’.” To reserve your spot and receive a Zoom invitation, please send an email to by Monday, Jan. 18.

Wilmington’s Lie: The Murderous Coup of 1898 and the Rise of White Supremacy — Tuesday, February 23, 7 p.m.  In this book published in 2020, author David Zucchino documents the persecution and banishment of elected black leaders and the whites who supported them in Wilmington, NC in 1898. With evidence of similar behavior in Charlotte and other areas of the South, the book describes the lies white leaders told to change the narrative and shift blame to the blacks. Facilitator Barbara Devinney will welcome members’ knowledge of North Carolina as we explore how this history offers insight into the competing narratives at play in today’s politics. To reserve your spot and receive a Zoom invitation, please send an email to by Monday, Feb. 22.

If you have any questions or would like to facilitate a future book discussion, please contact Sharon Baker at