"Outside a dog a book is man's best friend, inside a dog it is too dark to read!" -Groucho Marx========="The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid." -Jane Austen========="I don’t believe in the kind of magic in my books. But I do believe something very magical can happen when you read a good book."-JK Rowling========"I spend a lot of time reading." -Bill Gates=========“Ahhh. Bed, book, kitten, sandwich. All one needed in life, really.” -Jacqueline Kelly=========

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Do I change my opinion if I find out new information after finishing a book?

This past summer my husband and I listened to the audiobook version of a memoir about the atrocities that happened to the Zeitoun family after Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans. The Zeitoun's story was very disturbing. The husband, who stayed behind to protect their home and businesses during/after the hurricane, was arrested and held without due process. He wasn't even allowed a phone call to a lawyer or his family. His wife did not know what happened to him for over a month and thought he might be dead. Zeitoun was never charged but was told that he was thought to be a terrorist because of his Syrian heritage. The message of the book was very clear: that one horrific event (the hurricane) led to an even more horrific events: seeing American citizens as criminals and terrorists because they are poor, non-white, and non-Christian.

The story, for obvious reasons, greatly upset my husband and I and we spent several hours discussing it. I even placed the book on one of my lists of favorite audiobooks, though I use the term "favorites" loosely to mean well-done/interesting, rather than 'I love it.' I included it in a blog post about the audiobooks we listened to on our California vacation. An anonymous reader posted a snarky comment about Zeitoun being a terrible person. I decided to publish the comment after doing a little research on my own. Indeed Zeitoun had been in legal trouble for domestic violence. You can read my long-winded reply to anonymous on the post.

I selected Zeitoun by Dave Eggers as an audiobook for our road trip because it is an upcoming Book Club selection. The gals in my club aren't sure if they want to read it as even worse news about Zeitoun has recently surfaced. It was reported in the LA Times.

Now what do I think? I am disturbed by this news about the way the whole story is playing out. The events surrounding the hurricane and the illegal arrest were bad enough. Now this, Zeitoun is under arrest for threatening to kill his X-wife. Should we read the book or not? It seems to me that the current events add to the disturbing aspects of this story and I believe they are interconnected.  This would give our club lots to discuss but will it taint the story for other members knowing this information before reading the memoir?

Your thoughts?


  1. I'm torn about whether I want to read it or not. However, what happened later doesn't change what he went through during the course of the book. So, I think we should go ahead with it but am fine if others want to change selections.

    1. I agree with you Margaret, but I will totally understand if the group decides to select a different book. One thing is for sure there is fuel for a great discussion here.

  2. I think knowing more about this family - despite the fact that it is not very positive- makes me want to read the book more than ever. It certainly seems that there will be a lot to discuss!

  3. I felt the same way, but realize that the story still has merit and is still interesting. Great thing to think about though


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