One Book, One Island

Posted - May 4, 2006

Ward Just speaks

Author Ward Just addresses One Book, One Island readers at the Oak Bluffs Library on Friday night. Photo by Brian Jolley

The beautiful new Oak Bluffs Library was the setting of one of the featured events of this season's One Book, One Island program Friday evening. Hosted by The Bunch of Grapes's Ann Bassett, the author of the adult book choice, Ward Just, spoke to a room full of readers. His book, "An Unfinished Season," a 2005 Pulitzer Prize finalist, is a wonderfully told story of a young man coming of age in the early 1950s in the Chicago area.

The author discussed his motivations behind many of the stories in the novel and spoke to the tenor of the times covered in his book. The evening ended with a question-and-answer period during which there were many questions concerning the specifics of the story and a number of queries about Mr. Just's writing mechanics. The next One Book, One Island event is an Open Book Discussion, 7:30 pm tomorrow evening, Friday, May 5, upstairs at The Bunch of Grapes Bookstore on Main Street in Vineyard Haven.

For more information about One Book, One Island events, call The Bunch of Grapes Bookstore, 508-693-2291.

Suzanna Nickerson belly dancing. Photo by Susan Safford

A taste of Persian culture

The Edgartown Library hosted a One Book, One Island event last Thursday, featuring a Persian theme. The young reader's book, "Persepolis" by Marjane Satrapi, is an engaging, autobiographical account of a young girl growing up in war-torn Iran after the 1979 revolution.

In keeping with this Middle Eastern theme, Suzanna Nickerson, richly dressed in a flowing green skirt, her hair adorned with pearls, performed a belly dance, in the ancient Persian style. With swaying hips and expressive hand movements, she twirled against a colorful background of Oriental rugs.

John Gregorian, of Arthur T. Gregorian Oriental Rugs in Newton Lower Falls, brought the hand-knotted, oriental rugs for display. Mr. Gregorian's parents escaped to America from Armenia during the early 1900s. In 1959, they returned to visit the region, now part of Iran, for the first time, taking along their son John, 17 years old at the time. Mr. Gregorian has been back many times since, often to small villages to buy rugs for the family store.