New Lecture Series Focuses On Building Empathy Through Books

Georgia Center For The Book

2016 kaleidoscoped into a rough year for many, and that was in part the inspiration for an upcoming reading and lecture series called “Connecting Lines: Building Empathy Through Literature.”

The series includes five lectures at the Georgia Center for the Book at Decatur Library by Professor Pearl McHaney, who teaches southern literature at Georgia State.

“Literature does all kinds of things … It shows us other people,” McHaney said. “Literature is like a mirror. We see that which is similar to us but we also see that which is different from us and we begin to understand, and that’s where empathy comes in. It’s understanding the feelings.”

The series starts with an introductory lecture next Wednesday. The entire schedule follows:

  • Jan. 11: Introduction: “Why Literature Matters and How It Develops Empathy”
  • Feb. 1: African-American Young Men in Jails and Wars: Walter Dean Myers’ “Monster, Fallen Angels, Sunrise over Fallujah”
  • March 1: Gangs, Bullies and Difference: “The Outsiders” (S.E. Hinton), “Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian” (S. Alexie), “Wonder” (R.J. Palacio)
  • March 29: Choices and Their Consequences: “Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” (M. Twain) and “The Giver” (L. Lowry)
  • April 19: Individuals and Communities: Toni Morrison’s “A Mercy” and “Beloved”

All events are free and open to the public. Lectures begin at 7:15 p.m.

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