The Big Read


Are there more public programs to get people reading, or am I just more aware of them?

Here in Missouri they have a program called Read MOre, where they pick a book and try to get as many people in the state to read it as possible. Poking around on the official website, I see that this is the fifth year that they have done this. I have a vague memory of the general idea last year, but I could never have come up with the book they read on my own (Betsy Brown, by Ntozake Shange). This year the book was Messages from My Father, by Calvin Trillin.

I didn’t really figure this thing out even this year until all of the activities were complete, which is too bad. I like Calvin Trillin. I will probably still read the book, but I missed out on the author visit in June, the book discussion groups, the film series, the seminar on reasearching your family stories and other activities. There is a writing activity still active on the website, although, oddly, it says the deadline has been extended, but not what the new deadline is.

I do have another chance coming up on October 7 to make up for missing this one. It’s called The Big Read, and it’s even within walking distance of my house! Unfortunately my children will be at their dad’s house on that day, but I still think it will be worth my time. There are going to be several different authors there, some local to St. Louis, and some not. I printed out a schedule today, and I think I may search out some of the books that will be featured. Sebastion Junger, who wrote A Death in Belmont about his family’s connection to the Boston Strangler, will be there. I think I will have to read that book. They also have an event with three memoir writers, including J. R. Moehringer, who wrote The Tender Bar. I have been thinking about reading that one anyway.

What kind of public reading programs are there in other parts of the country?

One response »

  1. Our town, or whole county perhaps, is doing a citywide reading program this month called “One Town, One Book.” Everyone is invited to read “The Growing Season”, which is a photoessay on the lives of local migrant workers and Ohio farms. Then they have a series of discussions and meet the author events. I got the book from the library where I work and plan to go to a workshop. It’s interesting to see that people in your circles are reading the same thing and actually talking about it. I think people like to have that shared experience. Noah is reading it in his class and discussing it for social studies. Dh and I like knowing that we’re all 3 involved in the same subject. Noah’s class gets to go to the Migrant Center where this book was based on an upcoming field trip. I might just try to be chaperone that day.Timely post! Diane

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