Until I feared I would lose it, I never loved to read, Scout, the young tomboy narrator, confides in To Kill a Mockingbird. One does not love breathing.
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Now To Kill a Mockingbird has been called on to breathe new life into One Book, One Denver, the five-year-old program that promotes reading by having everyone in the city everyone who wants to, at least get on the same page, literally, by reading and discussing one book. Thats the theory, but even in this tome-loving town, the program seemed to be running out of steam after five years. But then the Denver Office of Cultural Affairs applied for a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, which has been pushing its own literary project, the Big Read, that touts more than two dozen classic books and provides backup materials for each of them. The NEA agreed to ante up $20,000; in exchange, everyone in the city everyone who wanted to, at least got to vote on which Big Read book should be the sixth One Book, One Denver selection. Harper Lees To Kill a Mockingbird was the clear winner. And with that eminently readable choice came a number of related opportunities, including a weekly Saturday-afternoon film series of courtroom dramas at Starz FilmCenter, which kicks off September 12 with Adams Rib and ends October 24 with To Kill a Mockingbird. The Lighthouse Writers Workshop is offering a class for first-time novelists on September 12 as well, from 10 a.m. until noon. Over the next six weeks, there will also be discussions of the book at most Denver libraries, music programs, craft workshops (Boo Radleys School of Sewing!), cooking classes and, on October 26, a slam-poetry competition, Never Kill a Mockingbird. All events are free; for complete details, go to www.denvergov.org/onebook.
Sept. 12-Oct. 26, 2009