KHC Book Talk

Discussion Series Explores "Community: The Way We Live"

The Stafford Co. Museum Library will offer a four-part book discussion series February through May entitled "Community: The Way We Live." Members of the community are invited to attend the free programs, which will take place at the museum library, 100 N. Main Street, in Stafford.

The series is sponsored by the Kansas Humanities Council (KHC), a nonprofit cultural organization, as part of its Talk About Literature in Kansas (TALK) program. KHC is furnishing the books and discussion leaders for the TALK series. For more information about KHC, visit


The first meeting is scheduled for Feb. 3, at 1:30 pm. Kim Stanley will lead a discussion of "Mama Day," by Gloria Naylor. On the Georgia sea island of Willow Springs, people still use only herbal medicine and honor ancestors who came over as slaves. Matriarch Mama Day, who can call up lightning storms and see secrets in her dreams, tests her powers when her great-niece, a stubbornly emancipated woman, finds her life and soul in danger from the island's darker forces.

Kim Stanley chairs the Department of Modern Languages at McPherson College. She received her PhD in English from the University of Texas at Austin and her MA in Liberal Arts from St. Johns College at Santa Fe. She has won the Dean's Teaching Award at University of Texas, the Professor of the Year Award (twice) at McPherson, and the Public Scholar Award from KHC. Kim is a former member of the KHC board of directors and has been leading TALK discussions since 1992.

The quest for community has taken many forms in the history of the United States. Today we worry that our sense of community may be weakening as a result of crime, mobility, and greater ethnic diversity. "Community: The Way We Live" visits both rural and urban communities, each with a unique message about how people find ways to live together and depend upon one another for support and tolerance.


Cheryl Duffy will lead a discussion of "Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe," by Fannie Flagg at 1:30 pm on March 3. This endearing novel travels from the 1980s back to the 1930s, when Idgie and Ruth's Alabama cafe offered good barbecue, love, laughter, and even an occasional murder.

Cheryl Hofstetter Duffy is a professor of English at Fort Hays State University. She holds a PhD in English from University of Kansas and an MA in English from Fort Hays. Previously, she taught at Colby Community College, as well as working with disabled students. Cheryl has been a speaker for a number of public humanities programs sponsored by KHC and became involved in KHC book discussion programs in the mid-Eighties.


Dana WatersDana Waters will lead a discussion of "The Milagro Beanfield War," by John Nichols at 1:30 pm on April 7. When feisty Joe Mondragon decides to irrigate his bean crop with "stolen" water, he drags the neighbors in his New Mexico village into a hilarious battle to save their community.

Dana Waters has chaired the Fine Arts and Humanities Division at Dodge City Community College since 1996. She earned her master's degree in English from Fort Hays State University. Dana teaches classes in composition, American literature and children's literature, and has written extensively on the art of writing. She joined the KHC TALK program as a discussion leader in 2009.


Brenda Craven will lead a discussion of "Snow Falling on Cedars" by David Guterson at 1:30 pm on May 5. A fisherman drowns and a Japanese American is charged with his murder, forcing the island residents of San Piedro to come to terms with their past, including the exile of local Japanese families during World War II.

Brenda Craven is an instructor of English at Fort Hays State University, where she teaches world literature and composition. Her previous responsibilities at the university included assistant alumni director and assistant director of ProjectSERV AmeriCorps. Brenda received her M.A. in English from Fort Hays State University. Her interests range from travel and wilderness camping to politics and current events. While much of her reading focuses on works by 20th century Midwestern and Southern writers, Brenda relaxes by reading espionage novels set during the Cold War. She joined the KHC TALK program as a discussion leader in 2008.