Sojourn Book Discussion: In the Country of Women
- Main Library 2nd Floor
About the book
In the Country of Women is a valuable social history and a personal narrative that reads like a love song to America and indomitable women. In inland Southern California, near the desert and the Mexican border, Susan Straight, a self–proclaimed book nerd, and Dwayne Sims, an African American basketball player, started dating in high school. After college, they married and drove to Amherst, Massachusetts, where Straight met her teacher and mentor, James Baldwin, who encouraged her to write. Once back in Riverside, at driveway barbecues and fish fries with the large, close–knit Sims family, Straight—and eventually her three daughters—heard for decades the stories of Dwayne’s female ancestors. Some women escaped violence in post–slavery Tennessee, some escaped murder in Jim Crow Mississippi, and some fled abusive men. Straight’s mother–in–law, Alberta Sims, is the descendant at the heart of this memoir. Susan’s family, too, reflects the hardship and resilience of women pushing onward—from Switzerland, Canada, and the Colorado Rockies to California.
A Pakistani word, biraderi, is one Straight uses to define a complex system of kinship and clan—those who become your family. An entire community helped raise her daughters. Of her three girls, now grown and working in museums and the entertainment industry, Straight writes, “The daughters of our ancestors carry in their blood at least three continents. We are not about borders. We are about love and survival.”
About the Literary Sojourn Author Study
The Literary Sojourn Author Study is a book discussion series designed to enhance the experience of reading our festival authors. Choose to join in for one or all the conversations as participants read and gather to talk about works from each of the featured writers. Bud Werner Library provides book copies on loan for each group discussion. All of the discussion titles are also available in audio and e-book formats. Open to anyone interested in participating, discussions are designed to be inclusive, supportive and meet the needs and interests of the group. We will gather in the upstairs magazine reading area of the Bud Werner Library, with comfortable seating overlooking the Yampa River. Sign up at the registration button at the top of this page and you will receive additional information about how to secure a library loan of the book in the reading or listening format of your choice.
Learn more about the library's Literary Sojourn festival of authors on Sept. 9, 2023 in Steamboat Springs.