'Bombingham' targeted as next ORI book

Bombingham coverThe novel “Bombingham” by Anthony Grooms has been selected for campuswide reading this summer, and activities in the next academic year, under the Oswego Reading Initiative.

The book spans two pivotal historic events and offers a personal, identifiable narrative through fictional protagonist Walter Burke, said Dr. Rhonda Mandel, interim dean of arts and sciences.

“The main character is fighting in Vietnam, but he’s also reminiscing about growing up in Birmingham, Ala., during the civil rights movement,” Mandel said. “It’s also a juxtaposition to Vietnam, in how what happened in Birmingham affected how he functioned in Vietnam.”

The action finds Burke trying to compose a letter to the parents of a fallen compatriot, inspiring flashbacks to an upbringing when he was faced with the choice of joining the fight for equality or sitting on the sidelines. Between bearing the indignity of Jim Crow laws and having to deal with a dying mother and alcoholic father, Burke faces plenty of conflict and upheaval within and around him.

“Grooms confronts this suffering head-on, showing that hope and dignity sometimes can be reclaimed in the process,” Publishers Weekly said of the novel. “This is a powerful, important debut.”

As usual, the ORI selection will adjoin a range of programming, and the book’s themes tie into many different academic areas, including history, psychology and literary studies, Mandel said.

An ORI kickoff event is slated for 12:40 p.m. Wednesday, May 9, during SUNY Oswego’s last College Hour of the spring semester.

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(Posted: Jan 24, 2007)