The Great Michigan Read is a book club for the entire state with a focus on a single book. This year’s selection, Stealing Buddha’s Dinner by Bich Minh Nguyen, encourages Michiganians to learn more about their state, their history, and their society.
Stealing Buddha’s Dinner is a memoir that chronicles the author’s migration from Vietnam in 1975 and her coming of age in Grand Rapids, Michigan in the 1980s. Along the way, she struggles to construct her own cultural identity from a menagerie of uniquely American influences. The book was selected by a group of nearly 50 librarians, teachers, students, professors, authors, and others from all corners of the state.
I came of age in the 1980s, before diversity and multicultural awareness trickled into western Michigan. Before ethnic was cool. Before Thai restaurants became staples in every town. When I think of Grand Rapids I remember city signs covered in images of rippling flags, proclaiming â€œAn All-American City.â€ Throughout the eighties a giant billboard looming over the downtown freeway boasted the slogan to all who drove the three-lane S-curve. As a kid, I couldn’t figure out what â€œAll-Americanâ€ was supposed to mean. Was it a promise, a threat, a warning?
â€”from Stealing Buddha’s Dinner
Michigan Humanities Council announces The Great Michigan Read 2009-2010: “Stealing Buddha’s Dinner”
More information on the author and The Great Michigan Read:
2009-2010 Reader’s Guide (pdf) from the Michigan Humanities Council
Book Clubs/Reading Guide and Interview with the Author for “Stealing Buddha’s Dinner” at Penguin.com
Preview “Stealing Buddha’s Dinner” at Google Book Search