A few years ago, the NEA did a survey on the reading habits of Americans, which concluded that literary reading has declined rapidly in the past few decades. In response to that survey, the NEA developed the Big Read grants program which provides funding and programming materials for communities that will implement a regional reading program using selected titles.
Rochester and Monroe County are the recipients of two of these grants. The first, driven by Writers & Books, is scheduled for October-November 2007 and will feature The Maltese Falcon. The second, driven by the Monroe County Library System, is scheduled for the Spring of 2008 and will feature Fahrenheit 451.
I’m very excited about these two events because they both will provide an opportunity for those of us who love to read to share our passion. I will be facilitating some book discussions for The Maltese Falcon at the Central Library, and will be directing the Fahrenheit 451 event, so I hope my readers in Rochester will join in.