The City of Spokane is encouraging citizens to get involved in the 2011 Big Read for the Inland Northwest. The Spokane Public Library and the City’s Arts Department are participating in the program, which is part of the Eastern Washington University’s Get Lit! Programs. From March 4 through April 16, EWU’s Get Lit! Programs is hosting The 2011 Big Read for the Inland Northwest. In addition to the Spokane Public Library, the Spokane County Library and Fairchild Air Force Base Library have gotten involved, too. The point of the Big Read is to draw communities together around a single book through a month of related literary events. Get Lit! Programs selected Tim O’Brien’s The Things They Carried because it exemplified this year’s festival theme of “Telling the American Story.” This award-winning book is not just about the Vietnam War, although it is considered one of the finest books ever written about combat and its consequences.
The Big Read will officially kick-off tonight with a reception in the Chase Gallery in the lower level of Spokane City Hall, 808 W. Spokane Falls Blvd., from 5 to 8 p.m. Veterans Gary Duvall, David Baird, Suzanne Williams and others will share their stories. Free books will be handed out as part of the Book Crossing read and release program where copies of The Things They Carried will be left around town for people to pick up and read. On this same night, the Chase Gallery will also open a related exhibition entitled “Telling the American Story: History. Memory. Place. Story. Picture. Space.”