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THE BIG READ* is a program of the National Endowment for the Arts designed to revitalize the role of literature in American culture. The Big Read brings together partners across the country to encourage citizens to read for pleasure and enlightenment. JMRL has received a grant from the NEA to provide a BIG READ throughout central Virginia during March 2014.

 

Creating a Nation of Readers

Charles PortisThe Library's goal is to encourage all residents of central Virginia to read and discuss True Grit by Charles Portis during this time. There will be many programs discussing the book, the cowboy culture, and the time period.

Check the catalog for library books and other books by the author. The database literati will have more information about Charles Portis.

From the moment it was published, Charles Portis's True Grit earned acclaim from critics as a classic Western tale. In the decades since, readers of all ages and fans of all literary genres have fallen in love with the indelible voice of Mattie Ross, as she recounts her youthful quest to avenge the murder of her father with the aid of a down-at-heels federal marshal named Rooster Cogburn.

The rousing adventure story inspired two award-winning films, but on the page, readers will discover fully the rich humor, inventive prose, and compelling characters that have made the book a masterpiece of American storytelling.

Portis vividly recreates the roughness of an America that is barely a hundred years old and still deciding what kind of country it will be. A portrait of a specific time, it nevertheless exudes a mythic timelessness. In his unforgettable characters, he explores the meaning of friendship, courage, and fidelity to a moral code. Even as he plumbs these broad themes, the action never flags and the tale bristles with humor.

EXHIBITS:

Model Railroad Display: All February

train setCrozet Library

The Library's display case will feature an exhibit of a model train in a period western town. Trains and railroad accessories provided by Rail Tales.

 

Railroad Memorabilia Display: All February & March

Nelson Memorial Library

The Library's display case will feature railroad memorabilia from the collection of railroad buff Carroll Nelson Turner.

Landscape as Character: All March

oil painting

Central Library, 3rd floor

In any great Western tale, the landscape often plays as much a defining role as the characters in the story. This exhibition of art by local artist Tom Tartaglino features landscapes and other related works.

Model Railroad Display: All March

train setCentral Library

The Library's horizontal display case will feature an exhibit of a model train in a period western town. Stop by the Library on Friday, March 7 to see the train operate during the First Friday event between 5-7pm. Trains and railroad accessories provided by Rail Tales.

BOOK KITS

Now book groups can check out 10 copies of True Grit at once, along with readers' guides and bonus information. Call Sarah at 434.979.7151 x404 to reserve your kit.

SPECIAL PROGRAMS

Unmasking Stereotypes of Native Americans
March 3, 6pm
UVA Special Collections Library
The actual lives of Native Americans are rarely reflected in the western genre. Join Lisa Speidel of UVA and Loren Intolubbe-Chmil of Johnson & Wales University in a discussion on challenging contemporary perspectives of Native Americans that stem from a history of racist stereotypes.

Survival & Primitive Skills Workshop
March 22, 11am
Scheier Natural Area
Learn to make your way in the great outdoors like Mattie, Rooster and LaBoeuf in this workshop presented by the Rivanna Conservation Society. It covers primitive fire making, shelter, cordage, finding safe water, basic traps and general survival tips. Please bring snacks/water and wear clothes that will get dirty. Workshop proceeds in light rain, but canceled for heavy rain. Register: bigread@jmrl.org or 434.979.7151 x4

The Cowboy in Art: the Good, the Bad, and the Funny
March 29, 2pm
The Fralin Museum of Art
From absurd cartoon figure to admirable role model, the cowboy exemplifies the drama inherent in True Grit. Independent curator Stephen Margulies will give a talk on important works of art by Sam Abell, Roy De Forest, Andy Warhol, and many others to demonstrate the wide variety of rich meanings that the iconic image of the cowboy has in American culture.

Wrap Up Wrangle
March 30, 1pm
The Paramount Theater
Read True Grit, register your book group and join us for a reception catered by Brookville Restaurant before the screening of the 1969 John Wayne movie. Send book club members' names and a contact number to bigread@jmrl.org or call 434.979.7151 x4. Don’t belong to a club? Join one listed at the right.

FILMS

  • Gordon Avenue Library: March 8, 2pm
    TRUE GRIT
    Watch the 2010 Coen Brothers film adaptation of True Grit starring Jeff Bridges. Rated PG-13.
  • Greene County Library: March 14, 7pm
    TRUE GRIT
    Watch the classic 1969 film adaptation of True Grit starring John Wayne.
  • Louisa County Library: March 18, 6:30pm
    TRUE GRIT
    Watch the classic 1969 film adaptation of True Grit starring John Wayne.
  • Scottsville Library: March 25, 6:30pm POSTPONED UNTIL APRIL 1
    TRUE GRIT
    Watch the 2010 Coen Brothers film adaptation of True Grit starring Jeff Bridges. Rated PG-13.
  • Central Library: March 27, 7pm
    WILD HORSE, WILD RIDE
    This documentary tells the story of the "Extreme Mustang Makeover Challenge", an annual contest that dares 100 people to each tame a totally wild mustang in order to get it adopted into a better life beyond federal corrals.
  • The Paramount Theater: March 30, 2pm
    TRUE GRIT
    Watch the classic 1969 film adaptation of True Grit starring John Wayne. Tickets are $6.00 for adults, $4.00 for youth 12 and under and can be purchased at The Paramount Theater Not rated.

FAMILY PROGRAMS

  • All Branch Libraries: All March
    GRIT & GUMPTION SCAVENGER HUNT
    Visit your library for a Wild West scavenger showdown specifically for kids ages 7-12.
  • Some Branch Libraries: during March. For readers age 8-11
    LITTLE BIG READ: JIM UGLY BY SID FLEISCHMAN
    Part wolf and fiercely independent, Jim Ugly is a dog who answers to only one person. Unfortunately, that man - Sam Bannock - has disappeared. Rumor has it that Sam is dead, but something about that doesn't sound quite right. So Jake and Jim Ugly embark on a wild journey into the frontier West, where they find themselves pursued by a pretty lady, a theater troupe, and one very ornery yellow-legged man. And they all want to know one thing: Where is Sam Bannock? Copies are limited so sign up to get a free copy of the book and come to a fun discussion at some of the branch libraries.
  • Gordon Avenue Library: February 26, 4pm
    TALL TALES OF THE OLD WEST
    Some of the biggest, wildest, tall tales will be told. Ages 5+ Register: 296.5544
  • Central Library: March 5, 4pm
    WILD WEST WING-DING
    Come to the library for grub, games, & guaranteed good times. Register: 979.7151 x3
  • Gordon Avenue Library: March 5, 4pm
    BOLD BANDANAS
    Create cowboy chic bandanas. All supplies provided. Ages 7-11 Register: 296.5544
  • Northside Library: March 8, 10:30am
    SATURDAY STORIES: GIDDY-UP COWBOYS AND COWGIRLS
    Wild West stories, songs and crafts for the whole family. Register: 973.7893
  • Central Library: March 10, 6:30pm
    COWBOY AND COWGIRL CAMPFIRE STORIES
    Come in PJ's to listen to western tales. Ages 4-6.
  • Gordon Avenue Library: March 12, 4pm
    GHOST TOWN AT SUNDOWN
    Celebrate Magic Tree House's wild west tale. Ages 5+. Register: 296.5544
  • Scottsville Library: March 14, 4pm
    STORYTIME FOR COWGIRLS AND COWBOYS
    The Library will gear you up with hats, bandanas, and mustaches to listen to big tales and campfire songs. Ages 3-7. Register: 286.3541
  • Gordon Avenue Library: March 15, 11am
    DROP-IN STORYTIME: WILD WEST & WILD READS
    Wild West stories for all ages.
  • Central Library: March 17, 10:30am
    BIG READ COMES TO BABY ROMP
    Cowboy themed interactive and sensory play. Ages 2 & under.
  • Nelson Memorial Library: March 17, 5:30pm
    BANDANA BONANZA
    Learn to create a fun modern twist on this old west accessory. Ages 7-14. Register: 263.5904
  • Central Library: March 18, 10-11am
    ALL ABOARD
    Drop in anytime to see the model train run and then make a train car. All ages.
  • Nelson Memorial Library: March 22, 11am
    FOR GOODNESS SNAKES
    Learn all about snakes with the Wildlife Center of Virginia.
  • Scottsville Library: March 22, 2pm
    FOR GOODNESS SNAKES
    Learn all about snakes with the Wildlife Center of Virginia.
  • Louisa County Library: March 22, 2pm
    CAMPFIRE FUN
    Wear your cowboy gear to sing cowboy songs around an indoor campfire. All ages.
  • Central Library: March 25, 10-11am
    GIDDY-UP
    Come anytime to watch the wild horses in the display case. Then make a western horse tie to wear home. All ages.
  • Crozet Library: March 26, 3pm
    BANDANA BONANZA
    Learn to create a fun modern twist on this old west accessory. Ages 7-11. Register: 823.4050
  • Northside Library: March 27, 4pm
    WILD WEST SHOWDOWN
    Outrageous reading adventures, crafts, games, and special campfire treats. Ages K+ Register: 973.7893
  • Northside Library: March 29, 10:30am
    FILM: APPLE DUMPLING GANG
    Three frisky kids strike it rich and set off this crazy crime comedy movie where bank robbers get robbed, con men get conned, and people blow into town and then blow it up. Snacks & drinks provided. Rated G.

For questions or if you would like to participate in some way please contact: bigread@jmrl.org

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Big Read
The Big Read is a program of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest.

THE BIG READ is supported by the Art and Jane Hess Fund of the Library Endowment.