Book Read program nixed after author cancels visit

Organizers of the 10th annual Community Book Read have canceled the October event after the author’s schedule changed because of a book tour.

Time was too short to find another author available for the fall, according to the six-member Community Book Read Committee.

So organizers are focusing their energy on a 2016 Book Read with an Indiana bicentennial theme.

The selection for this year was to be Linda Tirado’s “Hand to Mouth: Living in Bootstrap America.” The work focuses on today’s working poor and how Tirado’s class status fluctuated — and in doing so reveals why “poor people don’t always behave the way middle-class America thinks they should.”

She, like other writers picked for the Book Read, was scheduled to come to Columbus and speak about the book.

Book Read events have included adult discussions and children and teen activities, too.

Mary Clare Speckner, a Book Read committee member, acknowledged that missing the 10th anniversary makes the situation bittersweet. But it was too late in the game to select another book, she said.

Another committee member, Christine Lemley, said it became “hard to switch horses midstream.”

The Book Read is based on an event spearheaded by Seattle librarian Nancy Pearl. The multi-event program was brought to Bartholomew County in October 2005 with Hoosier author James Alexander Thom’s work “Follow the River.” Besides Book Read events, Thom also has been in Columbus to participate as a narrator during a Columbus Indiana Philharmonic concert.

Other past selections include “Counting on Grace” and “The Bone Garden.” Last year’s book was “The Things They Carried,” Tim O’Brien’s collection of short stories about the Vietnam War.

Past support for the Community Book Read has come from several sectors of the county, including the Bartholomew County Literacy Coalition and the Bartholomew County Library Associates.

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Brian Blair is a reporter for The Republic. He can be reached at bblair@therepublic.com or 812-379-5672.