'Mountains Beyond Mountains' summer reading selection

book coverTracy Kidder’s “Mountains Beyond Mountains,” the story of doctor and anthropologist Paul Farmer’s quest to solve world epidemics, is the Oswego Reading Initiative selection for campus-wide perusal this summer and discussion in the next academic year.

“In this excellent work, Pulitzer Prize winner Kidder immerses himself in and beautifully explores the rich drama that exists in the life of Dr. Paul Farmer,” Publishers Weekly wrote in a starred review of the 2003 bestseller. “Throughout, Kidder captures the almost saintly effect Farmer has on those whom he treats.”

Associate Provost Rhonda Mandel said Farmer’s quest to combat diseases such as AIDS and tuberculosis in impoverished countries provides “a very compelling story” that is readable and thought provoking. It also will tie in with a range of special events.

“It’s about someone who came from humble beginnings, extreme poverty, and now dedicates himself to world health,” she said. “There’s something really compelling about the notion that one person can make a difference.”

Along the way, Kidder’s book suggests that eliminating epidemics will not be possible without addressing the poverty at the root of the conditions that cause them, Mandel said.

“You can’t walk away from the book without a better understanding of the world,” she said. “It’s going to be eye opening for a lot of students, I think.”

The ORI committee continues to work on developing a variety of programming that will complement the book. Kidder will give a keynote lecture at 7 p.m. Oct. 30 in the Hewitt Union ballroom. An art exhibition, “Visions and Voices of Haiti: Photographs by Phyllis Galembo,” will open in Tyler Art Gallery with a 6 p.m. reception on Sept. 8 and will run through Oct. 8. La Troupe Mankandal, featuring Haitian master drummer Frisner Augustin, will perform Sept. 23. And a “Health and Humanity” series will screen related films on Sept. 13, Oct. 11 and Nov. 15.

Kidder’s other bestsellers include “The Soul of a New Machine,” “House,” “Among Schoolchildren” and “Home Town.”

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(Posted: May 09, 2006)