2012 Archive

"Behind the Beautiful Forevers" by Katherine Boo

About the Book
Strategically located on the road to Mumbai’s glittering airport and luxury hotels is a giant billboard advertising floor tiles that stay beautiful forever. The billboard hides Annawadi, a makeshift squatter’s slum that is home to some of India’s poorest citizens. Boo sensitively follows the lives of three Annawadi families and a cluster of orphaned boys as they scrape out a living sorting trash and other grueling labors.

For three years, journalist Katherine Boo lived among Annawadi’s residents, sharing their lives, hopes and heartbreaks as they sought to climb out of poverty and into India’s burgeoning middle class. Written in the narrative non-fiction form, Boo gives life to the human spirit and heroic struggles of the uneducated and desperately poor.

With a reporter's eye for facts, detail and meaning, Boo carries her reader into the heart and soul of her subjects. She follows their day-to-day struggles and reveals how the cycle of poverty traps them. Readers root for their success and are crushed by their losses as the incomprehensible bureaucracy, corruption and, worst of all, indifference leaves them to fend for themselves, even as their government, with the best of intentions, can’t seem to make a difference.

About the Author
Katherine Boo is a staff writer at The New Yorker and a former reporter and editor for The Washington Post. Boo‘s reporting from disadvantaged communities has been awarded a Pulitzer Prize and a MacArthur “Genius” grant. For the last decade, she has divided her time between the United States and India, the birthplace of her husband, Sunil Khilnani. “Behind the Beautiful Forevers” is her first book.

2012 Calendar of Events

KICK-OFF: An Evening with Author Katherine Boo
Sunday, Aug. 26; 7 p.m.
East Lansing High School Auditorium, 509 Burcham Dr.
Meet The New York Times bestselling author Katherine Boo as she discusses “Behind the Beautiful Forevers” on Sunday, Aug. 26 at 7 p.m. at the East Lansing High School Auditorium.

MSU Academic Welcome featuring Author Katherine Boo
Monday, Aug. 27; 9 a.m-11 a.m.
Jack Breslin Student Events Center, MSU Campus
Pulitzer Prize winning reporter Katherine Boo will address incoming MSU freshman class at the MSU Academic Welcome.

Author Katherine Boo Visits RCAH
Monday, Aug. 27; 2-3:15 p.m.
RCAH Theater, C210 Snyder Hall, MSU Campus
Author Katherine Boo speaks to students from the MSU Residential College in Arts and Humanities (RCAH). Limited to RCAH students.

Afternoon Tea with Author Katherine Boo
Monday, Aug. 27; 4 p.m.
East Lansing Public Library, 950 Abbot Road
Pulitzer Prize-winning author Katherine Boo will read selections from her bestselling book, “Behind the Beautiful Forevers,” and answer audience questions.

Writing Workshop led by MSU Professor Anita Skeen
Tuesdays, Sept. 4, 11 & 18; 4-6 p.m. & 7-9 p.m.
East Lansing Public Library, 950 Abbot Road
This engaging writing workshop entitled "On the Street Where You Live: Place, People and Possibility" will include three weeks of creative writing and discussion, followed by a participant reading on Wednesday, Sept. 26 at 7 p.m. in the RCAH Theater, C210 Snyder Hall, MSU Campus.

East Lansing Public Library Film Night: "Slumdog Millionaire" (R)
Monday, Sept. 10; 7 p.m.
East Lansing Public Library, 950 Abbot Road
A Mumbai teen who grew up in the slums, becomes a contestant on the Indian version of "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?" He is arrested under suspicion of cheating, and while being interrogated, events from his life history are shown which explain why he knows the answers.

MSU Library Film Event: "Aparajito" (NR)
Thursday, Sept. 13; 7 p.m.
W499 Michigan State University Main Library, MSU Campus
Swarnavel Pillai, Department of English, will lead a discussion following the film. Learn more about the film by Satyajit Ray.

MSU India Council and Asian Studies Center Welcome Reception
Wednesday, Sept. 19; 4-6 p.m.
MSU International Center
Welcome all the new students, scholars and faculty from and interested in India.

"Indian Culture 101" presented by Shashi Karve
Wednesday, Sept. 19; 7 p.m.
East Lansing Public Library, 950 Abbot Road
Learn about India’s vast and vibrant culture, including customs, festivals, religion, sand art demonstrations and more with Cultural and Interfaith Outreach Volunteer Shashi Karve.

Special-Themed Dinners in MSU residence halls dining facilities
Thursday, Sept. 20; 4-8 p.m.

A Talk by Former U.S. Ambassador to India David C. Mulford
Reaching New Heights: U.S. - India Relations in the 21st Century
Thursday, Sept. 20; 7 p.m.
MSU Kellogg Center Auditorium, MSU campus
Former U.S. Ambassador to India, David Mulford, will discuss the ties between the United States and India and its tremendous growth during the 21st century.

East Lansing Public Library's International Book Discussion
Thursday, Sept. 20; 7-8:30 p.m.
East Lansing Public Library, 950 Abbot Road
Journey around the world to India by discussing "Behind the Beautiful Forevers."
Learn about the East Lansing Public Library's International Book Club.

East Lansing Public Library Film Night: "Bunty Aur Babli" (PG)
Monday, Sept. 24; 7 p.m.
East Lansing Public Library, 950 Abbot Road
This Bollywood film follows two mismatched characters who go on a wild road trip in Uttar Pradesh and, while being dogged by a policeman, fall in love.

Bhangra Dance Demonstration
Tuesday, Sept. 25; 7 p.m.
Snyder-Phillips Hall RCAH Auditorium
Learn more about Indian culture by checking out this fun, interactive dance demonstration by the MSU Bhangra Dance Team.

A Taste of India: A Dinner Demonstration of Indian Cuisine
Wednesday, Sept. 26; 6 p.m.
Brody Square Dining Hall, MSU Campus, 241 W. Brody Road (across from Kellogg)
The admission fee is $5.75, which includes dinner and parking at Kellogg Center. No prior registration is required. DOWNLOAD RECIPES FROM THE PRESENTATION

ReCycle, ReMix, ReClaim—A Found Art Composing Project
Thursday, Sept. 27; 6 p.m.
MSU Writing Center, 300 Bessey Hall
In the book, families sort trash as one of their paths out of the slums. In reference to this endeavor, participants will sort through trash and objects as they recycle, remix and reclaim items found around the community of MSU and East Lansing. 

Other OBOC-Related Events:

A Day of Service
Saturday, Sept. 15; 9 a.m.-1 p.m.
Hunter Park Green House-Allen Neighborhood; Lansing, MI
The College of Engineering CoRe Experience will participate in a day of service, where students will harvest fresh fruits and vegetables for local residents and their families to ensure that low-income families have access to healthy produce throughout the year. Please contact
 Davis-King at (517) 355-6616 ext 2 if you would like to participate. Transportation will be provided.

East Lansing Welcomes the World
Sunday, Sept. 16; 3-5 p.m.
East Lansing Public Library, 950 Abbot Road
International students and families are invited to come meet their neighbors at the 3rd Annual East Lansing Welcomes the World, featuring catered food, live music, children’s activities, community information, mingling and more! Three shuttle buses will run from campus to the library on a loop, stopping every 15 minutes at these locations: North Hubbard Hall, the International Center and Spartan Village Community Center. 

East Lansing Rotary Club
Monday, August 20; noon
University Club of Michigan State University, 3435 Forest Road, Lansing MI 48910
Jen Potts will speak about her experience in India as a member of Rotary’s Group Study Exchange Program.

Cultural and Business implication of International Hotel Management in Developing Countries
Friday September 21. 12.40 pm to 1.30 pm
Location: N-130
Discussion of cultural and business implications of managing hotels in developing countries, including issues and stories surrounding Annawadi. Participants wil be saked to imagione themselfest as an expatriate hotel manager operating one of these hotels. What are the various aspects of managing a luxury hotel in this setting, including the implications pertaining to international hotel development, sustainability, food recycling, social responsibility and cross-cultural issues.

MC 300 - Collaborative Study, The Power of Non-Violence (Section 301)
Oct. 1-29, 2012; Mondays 3-5:30 p.m.
Wonders Hall, Room C102
The Power of Non-violence:" The plan is to cover the role of non-violence in the Indian independence movement, the Civil Rights movement in the USA, and the recent Arab Spring events. (Credits 1)