Wednesday, October 01, 2008

trampling out the vintage

To what lengths would you go for a free book? I burned almost a whole gallon of gas and paid a dollar for parking to get one today at the Knox County Public Library's kickoff event for The Big Read, "the largest reading program in American history."

This year's chosen book is "The Grapes of Wrath" by John Steinbeck. Unlike my daughter, I didn't have to read it in high school. As much as I like the idea of getting a $16 book for free, I also like the idea of many people reading the same book because they want to, not because they have to. I figure I might be able to read a few chapters on the movie set this weekend.

Thanks to an ad in the newspaper, I knew that the free books were available for the first 75 people. I got to Market Square just after noon and immediately stood in the book line. There were still plenty of copies left. The lady at the table later told me they actually gave away 80 books. Mayor Haslam was among those who made brief remarks before a folk group came on to sing Woody Guthrie songs.

In addition to the book, they gave away free study guides. I chose the print version over the audio CD. The library's website has several audio files I can download, including one with comments by the author's son, Thom Steinbeck, that they especially recommend.

Don't despair over missing out on the kickoff event. You can still get a copy from the library or buy your own.

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