Annual Big Read Event Set

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Community members invited to read “My Little Town,” meet the author and share opinions.

Members of the community are invited to participate in the 2022 Big Read, sponsored by the Ned Ray McWherter Weakley County Library. This 11th anniversary of The Big Read will be held from 12–1 p.m. on Thursday, July 21, at the Obion River Regional Library, 542 North Lindell St. in Martin.

Participants are also invited for an optional lunch gathering, beginning at 11 a.m. at The Hearth in Martin. If you would like to join other readers for lunch, please RSVP to Candy McAdams (731-364-2678 or weakleycolibrary@frontier.com), so she can reserve enough places at The Hearth, which is on Lindell Street just across the street from the Obion River Regional Library.

The book selected for this 11th anniversary year of The Big Read is “My Little Town: A Pilgrim’s Portrait of a Uniquely Southern Place,” by D. B. (David) Tipmore. According to promotional materials, “Tipmore shares the unique character of the South through the microcosm of his small town. ‘My Little Town’ turns the Yankee-comes-to-Dixie literary genre outside in, examining Lovelady, Alabama, through the eyes of someone who should never have been living there and yet found himself there for more than a decade.”

Copies of the book can be checked out at area libraries, including Martin Public Library, the Ned R. McWherter Weakley County Library, the Paul Meek Library, and more. Copies can also be picked up at the Obion River Regional Library. The cost for a personal copy of the book is $15, payable on the day of the Big Read or to Tommy Moore or Anna Clark. The staff at ORRL cannot take any money for sales, but they are pleased to help distribute the books.

Anna Clark, retired faculty member from UT Martin, will lead the discussion about this memoir with photographs that focuses on the complexities and culture of a rural southern town.

An added bonus of this year's Big Read is that the author of My Little Town is planning to attend the discussion.

Usually between 30 - 40 persons attend this annual event, which is primarily for Weakley County readers. However, Candy McAdams, library director of the Weakley County Library, said that visitors are always welcome and noted that in past years some participants have even come from the far corners of west Tennessee.

The Big Read, which is held in July each year, is open to all persons in the west Tennessee area and any visitors. Other books that have been featured in past years are “MY ANTONIA” by Willa Cather, “THE SHOEMAKER’S WIFE” by Andriana Trigiani, “DOC” by Mary Doria Russell, “CUTTING FOR STONE” by Abraham Verghese, “THE MAGIC STRINGS OF FRANKIE PRESTO” by Mitch Albom, “A WALK IN THE WOODS” by Bill Bryson; “THE ART OF RACING IN THE RAIN” by Garth Stein; “THE BEST COOK IN THE WORLD: TALES FROM MY MOMMA'S TABLE” by Rick Bragg, “GILEAD” by Marylynn Robinson, and “THE LAST DAYS OF NIGHT” by Graham Moore.

The west Tennessee version of the Big Read was inspired in part by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Big Read with the stated mission of “broadening our understanding of our world, our communities, and ourselves through the joy of sharing a good book. Showcasing a diverse range of contemporary titles that reflect many different voices and perspectives, the NEA Big Read aims to inspire conversation and discovery.”

The discussion leader and organizers of the 2022 Big Read promise to facilitate much conversation and discovery.