Two Big Reads with two classic books (Jan. and Feb.)

January 3, 2009

After two weeks of houseguests, about the only activity I’m interested in this weekend is watching the NFL playoffs on TV. Does that count as a free family-friendly event? Curling up with a good book is a close second, and I do in fact have a couple of recommendations that tie in with The Big Read, a National Endowment for the Arts initiative. Two local institutions are heading up Big Reads in our area, Washington University with To Kill a Mockingbird in January and The Foundry Arts Centre in St. Charles with The Call of the Wild in February.

The Wash U. events kick off this week with a reading from Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird on Tuesday (Jan. 6) at 7 p.m. at the Missouri History Museum, followed throughout the month by plays, movie screenings book discussions and other educational activities. There’s a schedule online at the university’s Bid Read homepage, and another at the NEA’s own calendar.

By clicking around on the NEA’s interactive map of the 208 communities involved in Big Reads during the current 08-09 school year, I discovered that St. Charles is also hosting one, starting Feb. 1. The book, The Call of the Wild by Jack London, lends itself to some fun and interesting activities like dogsled demos (who knew there was a Gateway Dog Sled Club???), goldrush games and, very fittingly, tours and activities at the Wild Canid Survival and Research Center in Eureka.  There’s a wealth of information on this Big Read at the NEA site. Most of the events are free, although some (like the Eureka tour) charge admission; to register for any of them, call the Foundry Arts Centre at 636.255.0270.

This drizzly weekend is a great time to start reading either (or both) of these classic books, especially if you’re not a football fan.  As for me, I’m off to the couch …


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