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Leaders are readers

March 11, 2008 - Diane Speer
Pat Joynton, co-president of the Friends of the Library, just emailed me the latest list of presenters and the books they will be discussing for the spring session of the library's Book Talk series. She's excited about the series, and I think others will be, too.

The theme for this round of Book Talk, which starts April 3, is called Leaders are Readers. As would probably be expected, the presenters are leaders in Alpena - people like Alpena Regional Medical Center CEO Karmon Bjella, CRTC Commander Col. Sam Sansom and Alpena Mayor Carol Shafto.

But more than just lining up a few leaders to do the series, the Friends wanted to put an emphasis on the importance of reading. It starts at the top. If our leaders place importance on reading and literacy, then maybe that will filter down. The statistics, supplied by Joynton, aren't good: 68 percent of those arrested, 75 percent of welfare dependents, 85 percent of dropouts, 72 percent of the unemployed and 85 percent of teenagers appearing in juvenile court are identified as functionally illiterate.

Over time, the Friends have done an admirable job of keeping interest in the series strong. And to accommodate those who work and can't easily make it over the lunch hour, they've also scheduled a few of the programs during evening hours. Here is the schedule:

* April 3, 7-8 p.m., Karmon Bjella will discuss "Into the Wild" by Jon Krakauer

* April 10, noon-1 p.m., Dr. Olin Joynton and Col. Sam Sansom will discuss "Partners in Command: George Marshall and Dwight Eisenhower in War and Peace" by Mark Perry

* April 17, 7-8 p.m., Mark Hunter will discuss "Let us Now Praise Famous Men" by James Agee

* April 24, 7-8 p.m., Tryfon Tolides will read from his book, "An Almost Pure Empty Walking"

* May 1, noon-1 p.m., Kevin Curtis will discuss "The Greatest Battle" by Andrew Nagorski

* May 8, noon-1 p.m., Carol Shafto will discuss "Where the Wild Things Are" by Maurice Sendak


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