getting back into the swing…

…of things.

I cannot believe my last post was more than a month ago! It seems as if I have lived a lifetime since then. Here’s a brief catch up for those who care to know:

After Huntsville, Alabama, Danielle and I travelled to Seattle to meet with postdoc fellow Anouk, to finish out our primary research for Beyond the Book. While it was difficult to recruit focus group participants, we certainly met with several wonderful readers. The participant observation was a joy because Seattle Reads chose Jhumpa Lahiri’s The Namesake as this year’s pick. We were happy to see that this book brought out the most visibly multi-ethnic audience of any other city we’ve visited. While I don’t think that we can generalise “the immigrant experience,” and that this book speaks to specific emotions the people feel when leaving behind friends and family they love and creating for themselves lives that always long for a place. I know this feeling well, and I am certain many of the audience members–at one event there were more than 600 people in the audience–do, too.

At the end of May, I presented at the Canadian Library Association, along with Janice Douglas. Janice works at the grand Vancouver Public Library, and I think, has been largely responsible for that library’s respectable integration into the community. She’s their Director of Youth Services and Community Relations. Working with Janice has opened up a new area of interest for me: community sustainability. I would like to ensure that reading and literacy policy do not get neglected as we plan for our future.

On June 1, Brent and I left for Puebla, Mexico. I had the good fortune to be selected as one of the teachers for the North American Mobility Grant Summer Institute in Women’s Human Rights, Citizenships and Identities in a North American Context. Our hosts at Universidad de las Americas were fabulous, even though they were experiencing a tumultuous labour environment complete with 13 of their colleagues being unduly fired and escorted out of their offices by hired thugs. I’m going to try to determine where that situation is currently, and if it’s not better, I’d like to ask the blogsphere to respond. I’ll keep you posted.

(Here is one of my favourite photos that I took on the campus.)

After Puebla, the squeeze and I set out for Oaxaca, much to the chagrin of my colleagues who were worried we’d come back headless. (Thank you corporate media.) I’m busy working on a top 10 list on that portion of the trip. Stay tuned.

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