Starting in September, the Niobrara County Library will host “Journey Stories” a reading and discussion series featuring novels about the journey from here to there. The discussion group meets September 8, October 5, November 2 and December 7 at 6:00 p.m. at the library and is free and open to the public. Wayne Deahl returns to lead the discussions. To register stop by the library or call 334-3490.
Participants in “Journey Stories” will read and discuss “The Grapes of Wrath” by John Steinbeck. “The Grapes of Wrath” chronicles the struggles of the Joad family as they leave their home in Sallisaw, Oklahoma to find work in California. Forced off the land that the family had share-cropped for two generations, the Joads, including elderly Granma and Grampa and fugitive son Tom, become one more family packed into a ramshackle truck heading west on Route 66, expecting plentiful jobs picking fruit or cotton in the fertile valleys of California.
“The Warmth of Other Suns : the Epic Story of the Great Migration by Isabel Wilkerson” will be featured on Monday, October 5. Ida Mae Brandon Gladney, George Swanson Starling and Robert Joseph Pershing Foster are among the six million African-Americans who fled the South during what would become known as the Great Migration. This book interweaves their stories and those of others who made the journey with the larger forces and inner motivations that compelled them to flee, and with the challenges they confronted upon arrival in the New World.
E. L. Doctorow’s “Ragtime” will be discussed on Monday, November 2. Published in 1975, Ragtime changed our very concept of what a novel could be. An extraordinary tapestry that captures the spirit of America in the era between the turn of the century and the First World War. The story opens in 1906 in New Rochelle, New York, at the home of an affluent American family. One lazy Sunday afternoon, the famous escape artist Harry Houdini swerves his car into a telephone pole outside their house. And almost magically, the line between fantasy and historical fact, between real and imaginary characters, disappears.
Rounding out the series will be “The Handmaid’s Tale” by Margaret Atwood. In the Republic of Gilead, formerly the United States, far-right Schlafly/Falwell-type ideals have been carried to extremes in the mono-theocratic government. The resulting society is a feminist’s nightmare: women are strictly controlled, unable to have jobs or money and assigned to various classes: the chaste, childless Wives; the housekeeping Marthas; and the reproductive Handmaids, who turn their offspring over to the “morally fit” Wives. The tale is told by Offred, a Handmaid who recalls the past and tells how the chilling society came to be. This powerful, memorable novel is highly recommended.
For more information about library programs visit https://www.niobraracountylibrary.org and for more information about Wyoming Humanities Council programs visit http://thinkwy.org.