By Hunter White
On the evening of Monday, Aug. 19, the Tacoma Sister Cities Book Club convened at King’s Books on Saint Helens Avenue for the third installment of its monthly book club. This month’s book club discussion featured “Revolution Sunday” by Wendy Guerra, a highly regarded contemporary novelist and poet from Cuba. Guerra spent several of the most influential years of her life living in Cienfuegos, Cuba, Tacoma’s Sister City of almost 20 years.
While Guerra’s books have been very popular in the Spanish-speaking literary community for several years, her writings have only recently been translated into English. Her novels and poems offer readers an unparalleled glimpse into several key aspects of modern-day Cuban culture, as well as the often-uncomfortable remnants of the nation’s troubled past.
The group’s discussions lasted more than two hours, with participants sharing their thoughts on topics ranging from the “expat” experience to comparisons of political surveillance methods in Cuba and the United States. Members of the Cienfuegos Sister City Committee provided much appreciated insight regarding Cuban history, Cuban concepts of social class, and Cuban communities in Washington State. The Cienfuegos Sister City Committee also graciously provided snacks and beverages for the group, offering an incredible spread of pastelitos de guayaba guava pastries from one of Tacoma’s most popular Latin American bakeries, mariquitas de platano plantain chips, and handmade mojito inspired drinks.
Next month, the Tacoma Sister Cities Book Club will be reading “Green Island” by Shawna Yang Ryan and learning more about Tacoma’s sister city relationship with Taichung, Taiwan. The September edition of the Tacoma Sister Cities Book Club will take place on at 6:30 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 16, in our usual meeting room inside of King’s Books. Please join us as we learn about Taiwan’s nuanced identity and history, both modern and historical, while we snack on feng li su pineapple cakes and sample gao shan wu long cha oolong tea from the high alpine mountains of Taiwan.