Books of the Year 2007-08

UAA and Alaska Pacific University are pleased to announce the 2007-08 Books of the Year:

The Handmaid's Tale, by Margaret Atwood
The Swallows of Kabul, by Yasmina Khadra

Together, these two books provide a nuanced perspective of religious extremism as it plays out--or might play out--in both the Christian and the Muslim worlds. The Handmaid's Tale is a modern classic, detailing a young woman's life in a dystopian society. The Swallows of Kabul is a very human story of two couples living under the strict rule of the Taliban in Afghanistan. Both are works of fiction.

The Handmaid's Tale

The Handmaid’s Tale, by Margaret Atwood, is the story of a Western dystopia, where politics and religion have become powerfully intertwined.

The swallows of Kabul

The Swallows of Kabul, by Yasmina Khadra, is the story of two couples living in Afghanistan under Taliban rule.


Dr. Nelta Edwards (Sociology) and Tara Smith (College Preparatory and Developmental Studies) will serve as Faculty Associates for the Books of the Year in 2007-08, helping to promote the books across campus, leading discussion groups, and assisting faculty in building the Books into their class curricula.  They may be reached at:

Dr. Edwards:; 786-6454
Ms. Smith:; 786-6873

The Books of the Year readings are part of the ongoing Engaging Controversy initiative at UAA and APU.  The theme for the 2007-08 year--politics and religion--was chosen to complement a large-scale community education project called Meeting Islam: Engaging Muslim Beliefs, Cultures, Politics which will be led by APU.  Spurred by a generous gift to APU's Cardinal Newman Foundation, this collaborative project involves many organizations, including three Anchorage-based universities (APU, UAA, and Wayland Baptist), the Anchorage Museum of History and Art, the Loussac Library, the Interfaith Council, the Alaska Humanities Forum, the World Affairs Council, the Anchorage School District, and many others.  With the help of the Cardinal Newman Foundation, the project will bring four nationally prominent Islamic scholars to Anchorage during Spring 2008. Further information can be found at