'The Hemingway Book Club of Kosovo'

Book Club Bridges Language Gap in War-Torn Country

'The Hemingway Book Club of Kosovo' by Paula Huntley

'The Hemingway Book Club of Kosovo' by Paula Huntley hide caption

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One year after the 1999 NATO bombings that stopped the war in Kosovo, American Paula Huntley found herself in Pristina teaching English. Faced with the task of connecting to students through a language gap and the personal traumas of a war-torn country, she chose a tool that proved to be quite powerful — the book club.

Huntley chose, in this country ripped apart by war, a simple story that resonated with her students: Ernest Hemingway's The Old Man and the Sea. And with that was born The Hemingway Book Club of Kosovo.

Huntley joins Talk of the Nation guest host Melinda Penkava to talk about this unique reading group and to examine the popularity and the power of book clubs.

Mickey Pearlman, author of What to Read: The Essential Guide for Reading Group Members and Other Book Lovers also joins the show to talk about the nuts and bolts of book clubs. And Elizabeth McHenry, assistant professor of English at New York University and author of Forgotten Readers: Recovering the Lost History of African American Literary Societies, joins the discussion to talk about literary societies.

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