adult reading program 2015

Community Reads: One Book, One Community

This year’s Community Reads selection features “The Secrets of Mary Bowser” by Lois Leveen. Community Reads is an adult reading program that takes place from July through August 2015. People throughout Josephine County are encouraged to read the book and participate in one or more related events.

“Civil War Weekend” with Lois Leveen, July 24-25
“The Power of Literature: How Writers Helped End Slavery” with James Basker, August 22
Suggested viewing
Suggested nonfiction reading
Suggested fiction reading

special event: “Civil War Weekend” with Lois Leveen

What choices do historians, filmmakers, and creative writers make when they represent events like the Civil War? How do those choices shape our understanding of the past? Can you learn “good history” from a Hollywood film or a work of fiction? Join us to explore these questions in two workshops led by historian, former college professor, and award-winning author Lois Leveen.

Glory, Story, and History
4:30-6:30 pm on Friday, July 24

Grants Pass branch

In this workshop, we’ll discuss the Academy Award-winning film “Glory,” which stars Denzel Washington, Matthew Broderick, and Morgan Freeman. How does the film represent the way different individuals experienced important historical events? How does it encourage the audience’s interest in history? What more do you wish you knew about the Civil War, because of this film? Participants are urged to watch the full film prior to the workshop. The film is available for check-out from the library.

Telling Secrets: Mary Bowser and the Fictions of History
9:30-11:30 am on Saturday, July 25
Grants Pass branch

In this workshop, we’ll discuss the historical research behind Lois Leveen’s novel “The Secrets of Mary Bowser.” How does a fiction writer use historical facts to create a compelling story? What happens when the historical record doesn’t yield enough information to be certain about what happened in the life of a real historical figure? Is it ever okay to change the facts or make up events in order to write historical fiction? Participants are urged to read “The Secrets of Mary Bowser” prior to the workshop. Copies are available for check out from the library; if you want your own copy, it can also be ordered from any online bookseller in print, audio, or eBook.
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special event: “The Power of Literature: How Writers Helped End Slavery” with James Basker

10 am on Saturday, August 22
Grants Pass branch

Join James Basker in a discussion of his book, “American Antislavery Writing: Colonial Beginnings to Emancipation,” a collection of antislavery writings honoring the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation. Utilizing every available literary device during the time, opponents of slavery employed fiction and poetry, essay and autobiography, sermons, pamphlets, speeches, hymns, plays, and even children’s literature to advance their cause. Basker is the professor of Literary History at Barnard College, Columbia University, and president of the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History.
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suggested viewing

  • “The Civil War,” Ken Burns
  • “Civil War Battlefields,” Paul Hansen
  • “Roots,” Alex Haley
  • “Cold Mountain,” Anthony Minghella
  • “Lincoln,” Steven Spielberg
  • “Glory,” Edward Zwick

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suggested nonfiction reading

  • “Civil War Wives,” by Carol Berkin
  • “American Antislavery Writing: Colonial Beginnings to Emancipation,” by James Basker
  • “The Centennial History of the Civil War,” by Bruce Catton
  • “Look Away!: A History of the Confederate States of America,” by William C. Davis
  • “Gateway to Freedom: The Hidden History of the Underground Railroad,” by Eric Foner
  • “The Civil War: A Narrative,” by Shelby Foote
  • “Rebel Yell: The Violence, Passion, and Redemption of Stonewall Jackson,” by S.C. Gwynne
  • “The Civil War in 50 Objects,” by Harold Holzer
  • “Lincoln and the Power of the Press”
  • “The Birth of a Nation: How a Legendary Filmmaker and a Crusading Editor Reignited America’s Civil War,” by Dick Lehr
  • “Civil War Desk Reference,” Library of Congress
  • “Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era,” by James McPherson
  • “Killing Lincoln,” by Bill O’Reilly
  • “The Confederate States of America: What Might Have Been,” by Roger L. Ransom
  • “The Civil War: A Visual History,” Smithsonian Institution
  • “Rise to Greatness: Abraham Lincoln and America’s Most Perilous Year,” by David Von Drehl

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suggested fiction reading

  • “March,” by Geraldine Brooks
  • “The Spymistress,” by Jennifer Chiaverini
  • “The Red Badge of Courage,” by Stephen Crane
  • “Shiloh,” by Shelby Foote
  • “Cold Mountain,” by Charles Frazier
  • “The Widow of the South,” by Robert Hicks
  • “Neverhome,” by Laird Hunt
  • “North and South,” by John Jakes
  • “My Name is Mary Sutter,” by Robin Oliveira
  • “The Smoke at Dawn,” by Jeff Shaara
  • “A Chain of Thunder”
  • “A Blaze of Glory”
  • “The Killer Angels,” by Michael Shaara
  • “Wilderness,” by Lance Weller
  • “Woe to Live On,” by Daniel Woodrell

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Updated 6/29/2015