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'Book Read' focuses on selection by stroke victim

Jan. 25, 2009

KALAMAZOO--The collective reading of a book by a stroke victim, showing of a film based on his story and other related activities begin Tuesday, Jan. 27, and are all part of the Western Michigan University's College of Health and Human Services' Second Annual Book Read.

Members of the community are invited to join WMU students, faculty and staff by reading this year's selection, "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly," by Jean-Dominique Bauby. Bauby, former editor of Elle magazine, found himself "locked-in" after a brain-stem stroke. Only able to move his eyelid, he wrote the book painstakingly, using eye blinking to communicate.

Through the book, Bauby describes the influence of his profound disability on his social relationships and the shift from his independent lifestyle to one in which he is unable to speak and is utterly dependent on others for his care. Despite profound challenges, the author offers insights into the resilience of the human spirit and what it means to be joyful.

"Book Read" Events

  • Tuesday, Jan. 27--Screening of the film, "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly," based on Bauby's book, from noon to 2 p.m. in Room 1010 of the Health and Human Services Building.
  • Monday, Feb. 9--Official Book Read kickoff at 1 p.m. with a presentation by Dr. Kristi L. Kirschner in Room 4010 of the Health and Human Services Building. Kirschner is a professor of physical medicine and rehabilitation at the Feinberg School of Medicine. She is a respected lecturer and teacher, whose work focuses on how concepts of disability and quality of life influence medical decision-making. A discussion and reception will follow her speech.
  • Monday, Feb. 23--Screening of the film, "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly," based on Bauby's book, from 6:30 to 8:15 p.m. in Room 1025 of Brown Hall.

The Book Read, including an essay contest and a schedule of face-to-face and online discussions, will continue throughout the semester. Through activities, participants across disciplines use a common reading experience as a catalyst for examining ethics and culture in relation to health and human services.

WMU's Center for the Study of Ethics and Society is co-sponsoring the Book Read. For more information, visit wmich.edu/hhs.

Media contact: Mark Schwerin, (269) 387-8400, mark.schwerin@wmich.edu

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