Reading Together Blog

March 8, 2009

We launched Reading Together on March 4 with a screening of 12 outstanding videos by the talented students in Education for the Arts Advanced Multimedia Class. The works — all inspired by All Over But the Shoutin’ — ranged from animation to live action. We’ll be adding these videos to KPL’s collection soon, and I encourage you to check them out.

Our next program is Addiction and the Family. Alcoholism is a major theme of Rick Bragg’s three memoirs. So much of the pain and suffering and death are the result of alcohol addiction. On March 10, we will explore the disease of alcoholism, its effects on families, and ways to stop the cycle of abuse. Our featured guest is Debra Jay, author and professional interventionist, who’ll give a free talk at First Baptist Church beginning at 7 p.m.

Debra Jay is the author of No More Letting Go: The Spirituality of Taking Action Against Alcoholism and Drug Addiction, published by Bantam in 2006. She has also co-authored two Hazelden Guidebooks: Love First: A New Approach to Intervention and Aging and Addiction: Helping Older Adults Overcome Alcohol or Medication Dependence. She is in private practice with her husband Jeff, providing intervention training and consultation services and has an additional specialty in older adult intervention. She previously worked as an addiction specialist for the Hazelden Foundation. Ms. Jay has regularly appeared on the Oprah Winfrey Show.

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Welcome, Dear Reader

Since 2003, we’ve used good books and thoughtful programs to explore important topics of the day — intellectual freedom, poverty, war, autism, community service. We’ve gathered individuals and organizations into what has become a county-wide book club. Along the way, many hundreds of you have joined as avid Reading Together fans. We appreciate your participation and your excitement upon learning each year’s selected title.

We are equally excited to introduce you to the 2009 selections, three memoirs by Rick Bragg — All Over But the Shoutin’Ava’s Man, and The Prince of Frogtown. They’re about his childhood in northeastern Alabama, about events and circumstances that shaped the writer and the man. And they’re about people and families, something all of us can relate to.

If there’s a theme to this year’s books, it’s a celebration of beautiful words by an author who writes like he’s telling you a story at the dinner table. The kind of story that makes you forget dessert because you’re still sitting there, listening hard. As one reviewer said, Rick Bragg’s talent is so fine, other writers are paralyzed with envy.

Our Steering Committee and partners have packaged six weeks of programs to help you enjoy the books even more. Visit the calendar of events to learn more. And do mark your calendar now for Rick Bragg’s visit to Kalamazoo on April 14.

Find the books and their audio versions at your library or bookstore. Read and share them with friends. I look forward to seeing you at book discussions and other events this spring. Enjoy!

LisaW