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Book Clubs Challenged to Act, Not Just Read

September 28, 2009

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. - Read a book! Win a visit from its authors! A contest open to book clubs in Massachusetts and around the nation, sponsored by the humanitarian aid group Mercy Corps, offers the winning club a visit from Pulitzer Prize-winning authors Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn.

Minda Seibert, senior community relations officer of <>em>Mercy Corps, says the organization wants people to read the new book by Kristof and WuDunn, "Half the Sky," about oppressed women in developing countries, and then do something.

"We're actually asking asking them to take part in changing women's lives. We're asking them to pass the hat, we're asking them to do an event."

Seibert says Mercy Corps is providing a discussion guide for "Half the Sky" and by next spring, the book club that does the best job of raising awareness and funds for groups that empower women will win a visit by Kristof and WuDunn.

She says the book, whose full title is "Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide", is proving to have a powerful impact on readers who are moved to action by its stories of oppressed women and those who are fighting back.

"You're just really overtaken by - a bit by sadness and hope - and really the desire to do more. You really think, 'You know what - I don't need that pair of shoes if it means that woman can have a better life.'"

Several book clubs in Massachusetts have signed up so far. Over all, 378 book clubs in 39 states and 18 countries have accepted the challenge, which runs until next June.

Contest details are at: onetable.mercycorps.org

Monique Coppola, Public News Service - MA