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All urged to book it to Placer’s ‘Big Read’

By: Loryll Nicolaisen Journal staff writer
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This month everybody in Placer County could have one thing in common — a book. Placer County Library, through a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, participates this month in The Big Read, a program designed to encourage reading for pleasure and enlightenment in communities throughout the country. Placer County Library and its branches have plenty of events planned throughout April celebrating and exploring Ray Bradbury’s “Fahrenheit 451.” “It’s great that we’re having an all-county read, picking up the book and reading together,” said Terri Pilate, senior librarian of the Auburn Library. “There’s just something about that that’s really interesting.” Mark Parker, Placer County’s director of library services, said there are a number of reasons why “Fahrenheit 451” seemed like a good choice for The Big Read. “We selected ‘Fahrenheit 451’ because it appeals to both genders and all ages from teen on up, and because it’s on a lot of reading lists for schools, so we thought we could have some engagement with schools, encouraging students to read it,” he said. “Fahrenheit 451,” written in 1953, is a science-fiction tale set in the future at a time when “mass media comes to replace critical thinking and reading,” and firemen are tasked with burning books, Parker said. Guy Montag, a disenchanted fireman, breaks the law by bringing a book home, Parker said. Bradbury published “Fahrenheit 451” in 1953 at a time when color televisions were just hitting the market, Parker said. “It’s interesting to look at it using today’s eyes but also using the eyes of the author at the time of when it was written,” he said. “On a variety of levels I think it appeals to a lot of people. It’s a quick read; I think most readers can finish it in a day or two.” Placer County Library branches have plenty of copies of the book just waiting to be checked out, Parker said. In addition to individual copies of the novel, library branches are also loaning out a kit Pilate calls “book club in a bag” containing 10 copies of the book, reader guides and more. The Auburn Library hosts a kick-off event Saturday that includes a noon visit by an Auburn Fire Department engine, fire safety training for children and adults, giveaways, a class on book care and repair, a 2 p.m. book discussion led by Pilate and Placer County Supervisor Jim Holmes, and a 3 p.m. viewing of Francois Truffaut’s 1966 production of “Fahrenheit 451.” The other main event, held at 4 p.m. April 17 at Rocklin High School, includes flamenco dancers, a presentation by Sam Weller, a Ray Bradbury biographer, and a panel discussion with Weller and University of California professors Jack Hicks and Jan Goggans. More than a dozen book discussion groups, an essay contest, and community service opportunities for teens are just some of the programs planned for Placer County’s The Big Read. -------------------- The Big Read Kick-Off When: Noon Saturday Where: Auburn Library, 350 Nevada St. Cost: Free Information: (530) 886-4500 -------------------- To learn more Find a complete listing of “Fahrenheit 451” and Big Read events, at http://www.placer.ca.gov/Departments/Library/TheBigRead.aspx. Auburn-area The Big Read programs will be posted in Things to Do, which appears weekly in the Journal, each Friday.