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Book Discussion Series Gets Mean Spirited

The Let’s Talk About It, Oklahoma book discussion series at Oklahoma City University will continue with “Mean Spirit” by Linda Hogan at 7 p.m. Sept. 25 in the Walker Center room 151 at N.W. 26th Street and Florida Avenue. The discussion is free to the public.

The series is funded by grants from the Oklahoma Humanities Council and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

For “Mean Spirit,” Chickasaw novelist Hogan researched one of the most infamous periods in Oklahoma history — the stealing of Osage allotments after the discovery of oil in the eastern part of the state. Both the Indian and non-Indian characters are shown to be subject to the “mean spirit” that haunts the setting and time of the novel. Hogan weaved elements of the detective genre with magical realism, and used her capacity to render both Indian and white characters realistically.

Oklahoma City University President Robert Henry will facilitate the discussion. At each session in the series, a scholar makes a presentation on the book in the context of the theme. Small group discussions follow with experienced discussion leaders. At the end, all participants come together for a brief wrap-up.

Harbour Winn, director of OCU’s Center for Interpersonal Study through Film and Literature, explained that the purpose of this season’s series is to explore the true and various cultures of Native American tribes, and perhaps unravel some popular misconceptions.

“In this series, Native American novelists update the stories of tribes that continue to live in their home territories,” Winn said. “Movies like ‘Dances with Wolves’ and ‘Geronimo’ end with bedraggled Indians riding into the sunset. But what really happened to them? This series explores that question.”

All books in the series are written by Native American writers. They describe the struggle to maintain ancient traditions despite the mélange of cultures around them. Family history is set within the context of tribal history. The extended families, clans and tribes all have intricate interactions with the characters.

Those who are interested in participating are encouraged to preregister and borrow the reading selection and theme brochure by calling Winn at (405) 208-5472, e-mailing him at hwinn@okcu.edu or dropping by the Dulaney-Browne Library room 211 or 207.

The other dates and books in the series are:

* Oct. 9 with “The Bingo Palace” by Louise Erdrich, discussion facilitated by Tracy Floreani

* Oct. 23 with “Medicine River” by Tomas King, discussion facilitated by Jim Buss

For more information, visit www.okcu.edu/film-lit.