Among common resolutions to eat better and exercise more are often pledges to improve the intellect — by reading more books, say.
You can jump start such a goal with the help of local libraries. They’re participating in the National Endowment for the Arts’ The Big Read, a program to get everyone reading and discussing the same book at the same time. The 2013 pick is John Steinbeck’s Pulitzer Prize-winning 1939 novel “The Grapes of Wrath.”
A kickoff event is Tuesday, Jan. 8, at Southeast Regional Library in Gilbert, where you’ll find a live concert by the Burnett Family Bluegrass Band and food from the Tom’s BBQ “Pig Rig” food truck. You can also check out a collection of Dust Bowl interviews, on display in commemoration of Steinbeck’s epic book.
From there, you’ll find more events to supplement your reading:
• The Arizona Curriculum Theater will perform a dramatic reading of “The Grapes of Wrath” at 2 p.m. Jan. 14 at Mesa’s Red Mountain Library. The reading will be enhanced with digital images and music of the period.
• “The Worst I Ever Seen: The Depression, The Dust Bowl and The Grapes of Wrath,” a presentation exploring the everyday life, music and stories of the time, is slated for Jan. 19 at Queen Creek Branch Library. It features interviews and original footage, live and recorded performances, crafts and a period car show.
• Book discussions are slated for Jan. 15 and 28 at the Southeast Regional and Perry Branch libraries, respectively.
“The Grapes of Wrath” explores the plight of millions of Americans during the Great Depression and Dust Bowl era through the story of the fictional Joad family, whose flight to California in search of work is fraught with hardship.
DETAILS >> The bluegrass barbecue is 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 8. Southeast Regional Library, 775 N. Greenfield Road, Gilbert. Free admission; food prices vary. (602) 652-3000 or www.mcldaz.org.
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