Walla Walla Public Library starts Big Idea Talks

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Living big in a small space is often an accurate description of life in Walla Walla.

The Walla Walla Public Library will live this in the coming months as we welcome a new program, Big Idea Talks.

The program will allow residents the opportunity to more fully explore Walla Walla's multi-faceted humanities in new and creative ways.

The program is modeled after TED online talks. But TED has a critical limitation -- the inability to discuss and interact with the speaker and others about concepts and to share ideas face-to-face. The library's Big Idea Talks will supply that -- all at no charge.

We'll invite you to participate in opportunities to think and interactively discuss topics both old and new and, we hope, learn something new and thought provoking.

The first talk will be at 7 p.m. Nov. 1 when author Kim Barnes will discuss her novel "In The Kingdom of Men."

Her book is the tale of a young couple from the south in the late 1960s who go to Saudi Arabia to work for oil giant Aramco. They encounter sexism, racism, corporate colonialism, culture clash, class issues and issues surrounding religion. Does their presence create the issues or just shed light on them? To what extent is the American oil company's presence disruptive? How would a current setting be different?

The author bases her story somewhat loosely on the life of her aunt and uncle who worked for Aramco in the gated company community of Abqaiq.

The library has 37 copies of the book to check out, but come anyway and enjoy the discussion.

Beth Hudson is director of the Walla Walla Public Library.

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