Cleveland Armenian Book Club Inaugural Meeting

August 19, 2007

CONTACT: Anita Papazian Kazarian
Noah’s Landing, LLC
PO Box 22168
Cleveland, OH 44122
[email protected]

The Armenian Book Club

The inaugural meeting of The Armenian Book Club (The ABC) took place
Saturday, August 18 in Cleveland Ohio. The founder’s vision for The
Armenian Book Club is of a group devoted to exploring Armenia and
Armenians from non-traditional aspects. Kimberly Reese, the founder,
grew up hearing much of the same history most Armenians have. The
history of the pogroms, then Genocide by the Ottoman Empire against her
Armenian citizens in the late 19th and early 20th century.

The nine charter members, six Armenian and three non-Armenians, agreed
upon and read a novel for the inaugural meeting – The Bastard of
Istanbul by Elif Shafak. The diverse group is made up of immigrants
from Palestine, Egypt and Syria and six native born Americans. The ABC
is open to anyone says Mrs. Reese. Unlike other book clubs, this one
encourages all ages and all backgrounds to participate. Kimberly
believes that the Armenian history of many thousands of years is waiting
to be discovered, discussed and enjoyed. They plan to include film and
the arts as well as the written word in their search.

When questioned about the selection for their first meeting, The Bastard
of Istanbul, the group as a whole, said ".we loved the discussions it
opened up for us. The two families, the foods, the passions, the fears,
the individual aunts – they are people we know and understand. .we
experienced the common denominator of families, we liked the families."
The ABC believed this novel offered a new viewpoint, the viewpoint of a
courageous author who is numbered among several other fighting to
establish literary freedom in today’s Turkey. "And", said another
reader, "this author is very readable. She, Elif Shafak, made me laugh,
my mouth water when she described foods, feel deep sadness and
helplessness at the same time."

"Who really is the bastard of Istanbul? That is the question the group
discussed the most. The next selection for The Armenian Book Club will
be about the late Surrealist / Abstract Expressionist artist – Arshile