Afghanistan will be the focus of more than 70 free Multnomah County Library programs in February.
The programs will highlight the history, politics and culture of Afghanistan as part of Everybody Reads 2006, the library's community reading project.
This year's selection is The Kite Runner, Khaled Hosseini's best-selling debut novel about the friendship of two Afghan boys and the tragic events that change their lives forever.
The related programming is designed to provide a better understanding of the country where the novel takes place and an opportunity to connect with others interested in these topics.
The following is a sample of scheduled activities; a complete list of programs (including book discussion groups) is available at the Everybody Reads Web site www.multcolib.org/reads/. All addresses are in Portland.
• "A Taste of Afghanistan," a selection of Afghan delicacies prepared by Fred Meyer, 1 p.m., Saturday., Feb. 4, in the Hillsdale Library, 1525 S.W. Sunset Blvd.; 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 7, in the Portland Library, 512 N. Killingsworth St.; and 2 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 18, in the Sellwood-Moreland Library, 7860 S.E. 13th Ave.
• Performances of Middle Easternmusicby Americanistan are planned at 11 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 18, in the Central Library, 801 S.W. 10th Ave.; 1 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 19, in the Midland Library, 805 S.E. 122nd Ave.; and at 11 a.m. Sat., Feb. 25, in the North Portland Library, 512 N. Killingsworth St.
• Christopher Zinn, executive director of the Oregon Council for the Humanities, presents "A Tale of Two Countries: Khaled Hosseini's The Kite Runner," a look at the personal, family and national history that influenced the novel at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday., Feb. 7, in the Central Library.
• Angie Chuang and Stephanie Yao of The Oregonian present "A Journey in Today's Afghanistan," a look at the reconstruction efforts and the everyday lives of Afghans post-Taliban, at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 22.
• Portland State University will present a series of lectures on Afghanistan beginning with "Afghanistan: Politics, History and Culture" at 11 a.m. and 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 9.; and "The Kite Runner: Literary Criticism and Cultural Studies" at 11 a.m. and 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 16. Both programs will be in PSU's Smith Memorial Student Union, 1825 S.W. Broadway.
• Other PSU lectures feature visiting scholars. On Amardeep Singh, assistant professor of English at Lehigh University presents "The Kite Runner and the Myth of Afghanistan" at 7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 24. M. Nazif Shahrani, professor of Anthropology, Central Asian and Middle Eastern StudiesatIndiana University, presents "Afghanistan Four Years After the Invasion: A Success Story or Squandered U.S. Credibility?" at 7 p.m. Monday, Feb. 27. Both programs will be in the PSU Library at 1835 S.W. Park Ave. and are sponsored by the Portland Center for Cultural Studies.
• Osama, a searing portrait of life under the fundamentalist regime and one family's daily struggle to survive, will be screened at 7 p.m. Monday, Feb. 6 in the Northwest Film Center's Guild Theater, 829 S.W. Park Ave.; at 3:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 11 in the Hillsdale Library, 1525 S.W. Sunset Blvd.; and at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 28 in the North Portland Library, 512 N. Killingsworth St. The film is rated PG-13.
• The finale of the Everybody Reads project will be a theatrical adaptation of the novel starring Aasif Mandvi and presented by The American Place Theatre's Literature to Life arts education program. Led by Wynn Handman, artistic director, and David Kener, executive director, the program will be at 11 a.m. and 7 p.m. Wednesday, March 1, in the First Congregational Church, 1126 S.W. Park Ave.
Everybody Reads 2006 is presented by The Fred Meyer Foundation. Major sponsors are Portland State University, Verizon Yellow Pages, Clear Channel Outdoor, Oregon Public Broadcasting and TriMet. More information on the project is available at www.multcolib.org/ reads/.