Original URL: http://www.azcentral.com/arizonarepublic/glendale/articles/0517wvangela0517Z2.html

Ethnic book groups add to diversity
Arizona Republic
May. 17, 2003 12:00 AM

Frieda Ling's description of herself says it all: "I'm a Chinese woman from Canada with a German name who lives in the United States."

As a librarian, she always wanted to use literature to share her cultural diversity with others.

She finally has her chance as leader of a new Sino-American book-discussion group at the Glendale Public Library. The group reads books by Chinese or Chinese-American authors.

Ling, who speaks three Chinese dialects, plans to include bilingual discussion.

At the first meeting last month, the group discussed Amy Tan's novel The Bonesetter's Daughter. Although the attendees weren't of Chinese background, they were interested in Chinese culture.

Ling hopes to provide a forum for people to discuss issues such as the generation gap between older family members who were born in China and younger American-born family members.

"The second generation often do not even speak the language," she said.

Eventually Ling plans to add books involving other Asian groups.

The next meeting is at 2 p.m. May 31. The group will discuss Crazed, by Ha Jin.

The Glendale Library has two other book-discussion groups that focus on ethnic literature.

For several years, I practiced my Spanish at the monthly meetings of the Bilingual Reading series. The group, which has been meeting for three years, reads works by Hispanic authors in Spanish and English and discusses the material in both languages.

The next meeting is at 7 p.m. June 9, when the group will discuss Julia Alvarez's How Tia Lola Came to Stay.

The Kitabu Reading Loom (kitabu is Swahili for book) focuses on books by, about or for African-Americans.

Librarian Cyndee Landrum leads the group, which meets the third Tuesday of each month. All the discussion groups meet at the main library, 5959 W. Brown St.

Cherrilynn Moore, the library's technical service manager, said the group tries to pick a variety of genres to spark discussion.

"The books are just a starting point for members to share events and experiences from their lifetime," she said.

Moore, an African-American woman, said ethnic literature can give readers a different point of view.

"A story is a story," she said. "It just so happens that these stories are told from a different perspective that I can truly relate to."

My mistake

Thanks to all the readers who pointed out that I was a mile off on my story last week about the new Glendale nightclub, Eclipse. The club is on Bell Road just east of 67th Avenue.

An Arizona native, Angela Rabago-Mussi has lived in Peoria for six years. Send any tips about people, places and events in Glendale and Peoria to angelamussi@aol.com.