People will be talking about love, communication and comedy this spring as the Big Read community reading project gets underway. This year's Big Read book is The Rosie Project, by Graeme Simsion, a bestselling romantic comedy in which the main character pursues love through careful calculation, only to realize it doesn't necessarily go as smoothly as planned.
This is the 10th year for the Big Read, which encourages area residents in Montgomery and surrounding counties to gather and talk about the same book. The Big Read runs from March 1 through April 18, with discussions and other events taking place throughout the area.
"We believe that good books lead to good conversation, and that communication builds a stronger community," said Ben Murphy, co-chair of the Big Read committee and Adult Materials Selection Specialist at the Dayton Metro Library.
"This year's book is a lighthearted look at love, but with a protagonist who falls on the autism spectrum, there are significant themes that give us a lot to talk about," said Murphy. "Plus it's just a very funny book."
Discussion groups will meet at libraries, bookstores, cafes and other locations across the Miami Valley. The Dayton Metro Library is working with organizations including the Autism Coaching Team from the Miami Valley Regional Center, the Dayton Asperger's Resource Network, and Marriage Works! Ohio to offer additional programs, from Literary Speed Dating to music therapy, exploring the novel's themes.
The highlight of this year's Big Read will be a Skype session with the author. The Rosie Event: A Skype with Graeme Simsion takes place Saturday, April 25, 1:30 p.m. at Sinclair Community College's Ponitz Center.
"This will be the ultimate book discussion with the author himself, live from New Zealand," said Chuck Duritsch, External Relations Manager at the Library and Big Read co-chair. "Even though he's halfway around the world, Mr. Simsion will be part of our Big Read and we're thrilled to have him. Participants can ask him questions and he can tell us what it's like to have his first novel become such a huge hit."
The Rosie Event: A Skype with Graeme Simsion is part of the Dayton Book Expo and Local Authors Event, which runs from 11:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m. that day. The free event includes panel discussions, activities for children and book signings.
"In addition to a book discussion at 12:30 p.m. prior to the Skype with Graeme Simsion, a discussion about his sequel, The Rosie Effect, will take place afterwards," said Duritsch. "There will be so much going on throughout the day, it's a great event for writers, readers and book lovers of all sorts,"
For a complete list of Big Read book discussions, partner organizations and other Big Read activities, visit BigRead.org.