Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The Big Read

Okay, okay...I've been amiss and haven't written in awhile...okay it's been longer than awhile. We have settled into our new home and our community and are constantly finding to new things to see and do.

In February we learned about The Big Read. What the heck is The Big Read you ask. Let me tell you. Here in Staunton we have a Community Foundation that ordered thousands of copies of a book that they had chosen for the community to read. These books were given out free encouraging everyone to read this book together. Last year was the first year that Staunton participated in The Big Read and they read "To Kill a Mockingbird." This year the Community Foundation chose the book "The Maltese Falcon" by Daschiel Hammett. Every day there was at least one activity to participate in. Daily the public library had a community leader come to the library and read a chapter aloud and then discussion followed. One evening the costume designer from The American Shakespeare Center spoke about the fashion during the time of The Maltese Falcon. One Friday evening there was a mystery dinner tied in to the book. When I say that the community participated in it, you have to realize how many did. Senior high students were required to read the book across the county; books were given out at the YMCA, bookstores, banks, etc. Tonight was the culmination of the month long study. It was a free showing of the movie at our local independent theatre. In attendance was Hammettt's granddaughter Julie as well as another individual (and I forgot his name) who has made Hammet a study of his. Every seat in the theatre was filled. Before the movie his granddaughter told us to look for scenes that were added and not in the book as well as scenes that were deleted from the book. It was so exciting to see all these citizens watching the movie and then staying for the question and answer period. Here is the link to the NEA's site about The Big Read across the country: http://www.neabigread.org/ I encourage you all to go to your community leaders as well as your public library and have your community participate in The Big Read next year.