This year's local version of The Big Read, featuring "Fahrenheit 451" by Ray Bradbury, starts next week and comprises a monthlong series of events.
The award-winning novel was published 61 years ago, but readers still find the story's themes of censorship and defiance relevant. Bradbury imagined what would happen if books were outlawed. In this dystopian society, he twisted the term "firemen" to mean the folks whose job it is to start fires; they burn books and the buildings that hide them. The title refers to the temperature at which paper burns.
The Big Read events will include a theatrical adaptation of the novel, a lecture by a scholar from the Center for Ray Bradbury Studies and a presentation from Bradbury's authorized biographer.
Columbus is one of 78 communities nationwide participating in this edition of The Big Read, from September 2013 through June 2014. This initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts is designed to restore reading to the center of American culture. Arts Midwest manages The Big Read. The organizations involved with producing The Big Read locally are the Chattahoochee Valley Libraries, the Muscogee County Friends of Libraries, the RiverCenter for the Performing Arts, Sunny 100 and WLTZ News 38.
THE BIG READ EVENTS
Feb. 11, 7:30 p.m., RiverCenter for the Performing Arts, Aquila Theatre production of "Fahrenheit 451." Discount tickets are available by using the code "BIG READ" when ordering.
Feb. 11 through March 14, "My Library in the Future" Essay Contest. Entry forms are available at www.cvlga.org or any branch of the Chattahoochee Valley Libraries.
Feb. 20, 7 p.m., Columbus Public Library auditorium: "Book Burning Without Fire or Kerosene: A Re-Reading of Fahrenheit 451," free lecture by Robert M. Woods, director of Great Books Honors College at Faulkner University and member of the Board of Advisors at the Center for Ray Bradbury Studies.
March 8, 1 p.m., Mildred L. Terry Public Library, Page Turners Book Club discussion of "Fahrenheit 451."
March 11, 7 p.m., Columbus Public Library auditorium, "Ray Bradbury: An Appreciation," free presentation by Bradbury's authorized biographer, Sam Weller.
Especially for teens, but open to anyone and with free admission, four branches of the Chattahoochee Valley Libraries will show Francois Truffaut's 1966 adaptation of "Fahrenheit 451," starring Oskar Werner and Julie Christie:
Feb. 15, noon, Marion County Public Library
Feb. 24, 4 p.m., Cusseta-Chattahoochee County Public Library.
March 8, 2 p.m., North Columbus Public Library.
March 9, 3:30 p.m., Columbus Public Library auditorium.
DYSTOPIA FILM FESTIVAL
Echoing the themes in "Fahrenheit 451," the Columbus Public Library will show three movies at 7 p.m., all with free admission:
Feb. 13, "Metropolis" (1927, not rated).
Feb. 27, "Brazil" (1985, Rated R).
March 4, "Children of Men" (2006, Rated R)