If you haven’t already done so, make sure to finish reading Villanova University’s 2013-2014 One Book Villanova selection, Good Kings Bad Kings. The author, Susan Nussbaum, will be visiting campus tomorrow, January 28, to take part in many exciting activities on campus throughout the day along with the Villanova Community.
Good Kings Bad Kings is a novel told from the perspectives of several characters who either work or live in an institution for young adults with disabilities in Chicago. Readers follow the characters as they deal with the hardships of institutional life and experience personal triumphs and tribulations.
By weaving her intricate web of characters, Nussbaum helps to raise awareness about the hardships facing those who live in institutions; she doesn’t necessarily focus her whole story on the characters’ disabilities, but rather draws attention to the other obstacles that they face as young adults in their sometimes hostile environment.
Living with disability herself, Nussbaum is sensitive to the way in which disabled characters are often portrayed in books and movies. When she became tired of having disabled characters included in stories in stereotypical ways, she made it a goal in writing Good Kings Bad Kings to focus on the character’s lives and the way in which the “system” was tough on them. In a recent Huffington Post article, “Disabled Characters in Fiction,” Nussbaum said “Disabled people barely ever think about our disabilities. When we do think about them, it is usually because we are dealing with an oppressive, systematic problem…All sorts of interesting stories can be written about a disabled character, without the disability ever being mentioned.” In Good Kings Bad Kings, readers see that the problem is the corruption of the ILLC, the institution in which they live.
During Nussbaum’s visit to campus, Falvey will proudly host her for a book signing at 1:30 p.m. in Speakers’ Corner. Make sure to grab your book and stop by to meet the author in person! While here, take a look at the One Book Villanova display on the first floor of the Library. It includes a retrospective of previous years’ OBV selections and examples of famous novels that Nussbaum feels fall short of the sensitivity needed for depicting disabled populations. The window was designed by Joanne Quinn, Team Leader for the Communication and Service Promotion, with help of Sarah Wingo, Literature and Theatre liaison librarian, and constructed by Outreach student employees Kelly Forst, Kyle Bowles and Molly Quinn. Special thanks as well to Ann Stango of Access Services and her son, Michael, for lending various mobility aids for the display.
Some other highlights of the author’s visit are to include a student talk, community dinner and a book discussion. Make sure to join us in welcoming Susan Nussbaum to Villanova’s campus!
In celebration of the One Book Villanova selection for 2013-2014, there have also been several other events planned across campus this semester. Make sure to check them out!
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