Lake E-ffect Newsletter banner SUNY Oswego logoAugust 2012 • Vol 8 • No 5

ORI Selects Benioff's City of Thieves for Campus-wide Reading

City of Thieves, a novel by acclaimed author and screenwriter David Benioff about two teens embarking on a near-impossible journey in Soviet Russia, is the Oswego Reading Initiative selection for 2012-13.

BenioffPublished in 2008, the book revolves around two teenagers, Lev Beniov and Kolya Vlasov, as they search for eggs to make a wedding cake at the request of a high-ranking member of the Soviet secret police during World War II. The two are forced to set out on the dangerous assignment during the Nazi blockade of Leningrad. The novel opens with Beniov living in modern-day Florida, reminiscing about Leningrad.

"It's not a history book," said Associate Provost Rameen Mohammadi. "It does address a big event where the city was surrounded by the Germans for a long period of time and that is perhaps the reason the eggs were such a critical element in the book."

On their journey, the two protagonists have to endure harsh weather, looming Nazis and even cannibals.

"People in America might think that getting a dozen eggs would not be a big deal," Mohammadi said. "But at sub-zero temperatures, the kind of conditions that existed while the city was under siege really made it very difficult for eggs to be available. So it really made it an interesting venture they went on to find them."

Benioff, a prominent screenwriter, etched his name in Hollywood after writing scripts for "Troy," "X-Men Origins: Wolverine" and "The Kite Runner." He is executive producer, with D.B. Weiss, of the current HBO series "Game of Thrones." Benioff's 2002 debut novel, The 25th Hour, was critically acclaimed and adapted as a film by director Spike Lee.

The Oswego Reading Initiative was formed in October 2000, and currently has 20 committee members who select a book for each academic year, asking students and other campus community members to read it over the summer. The selection is accompanied by on-campus programs, and the author often comes to speak. Mohammadi said Benioff is expected here April 24, 2013.

Critically acclaimed author and screenwriter David Benioff is due on campus April 24, 2013.

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