Our book club is a small group discussion series that dives into real-world applications of new ideas learned from our bi-monthly read. It is open for anyone to join, for as many or as few sessions as desired.
These 1.5-2 hour conversations are moderated by our internal Studio ATAO team and kept to a maximum of 10 participants per session.
Our Patreon members help pick each book, and receive early access to our discussions. You can join our patron family here - tiers start at just $5/month.
Our current read is:
How to Kill A City
by P.E. Moskowitz
Some questions raised in the discussion included:
1. The final line of the prelude can be considered one of Satyam’s transformational moments: “Do you think this independence is for people like you and me?” (31). This seems to get to the heart of what it means to be an untouchable--even at the dawn of India becoming an independent country (August 15, 1947), Satyam, as an intouchable, is still not included in the festivities.
a. Similarly, many movements in the U.S. have not been inclusive of marginalized groups - for example, women’s suffrage did not include non-white women until much later on and even then it was still challenging. Knowing what we know now, how do we ensure we see beyond ourselves to ensure that the movements we participate in are truly inclusive?
2. For Satayam’s wedding, the entire village starts salivating at the idea of a wedding pig. Gidla writes there is a special European breed -- a pink pig -- that many want to eat but have been unsuccessful in raising in India, because once it shows up on India soils it “loses its caste” (152) and becomes a “filthy” Indian pig. This appears to be a metaphor, because the pig itself cannot literally change breeds -- what do you think Gidla is attempting to convey here? What does the pig symbolize?
a. The act of eating meat is a recurring source of class distinction in the book. Satyam does not eat meat, as influenced by his caste friends. What does it mean for Satyam, who leads activists to support those in the untouchable caste, that he himself finds certain ways of untouchable life “uncool”, “unworthy”, and in some cases even disgusting?
Ants Among Elephants
by Sujatha Gidla