Valdosta Daily Times

Local News

October 15, 2007

The Big Read

VALDOSTA — The Big Read, a nationwide project aimed at curtailing a critical decline in literary reading among adults, has come to the city with several events scheduled through Nov. 10.

The city is one of 117 communities in the nation that are hosting a “Big Read” program this fall. The month-long reading celebration kicked off in the city Sunday at John W. Saunders Park on River Street with guest readings of Valdosta’s chosen literary work — Zora Neale Hurston’s “Their Eyes Were Watching God.”

The novel was published in 1934. The acclaimed author died in 1960.

Attendees at the Sunday kick off heard local notables read from Hurston’s work, cited by many scholars as an “African American feminist classic,” and by many others as a work that stretches far beyond those boundaries.

The ‘feminist classic’ stigma is certainly a frequent statement, notes National Endowment for the Arts Chairman Dana Gioia, in his preface to a publication on this fall’s national Big Read celebration.

“But it is a misleadingly narrow and rather dull way to introduce a vibrant and achingly human novel,” Gioia writes. “The syncopated beauty of Hurtson’s prose, her remarkable gift for comedy, the sheer visceral terror of the book’s climax, all transcend any label that critics have tried to put on this remarkable work.”

The NEA started The Big Read program after the organization’s 2004 report, “Reading at Risk: A Survey of Literary Reading in America” determined that a critical decline in literary reading is occurring in America.

VSU’s Odum Library, Dewar College of Education and master of Library Information Science program teamed up with the city,

South Georgia Regional Library System, city schools and Moody Air Force Base to apply for the NEA grant that pays for the program and its activities.

Local organizers chose Hurston’s book because she is a regional author from Eatonville, Fla., near Orlando, and because many of her themes — such as love, power, friendship and event the weather — are relevant today.

Text Only
Local News
  • Baytree Animal Hospital LB copy.JPG Animal hospital named Business of the Week

    Baytree Animal Hospital was named Leading Business of the Week by the  Valdosta-Lowndes Chamber of Commerce for July 14.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Gavel-courtroom.jpg Water treatment plant discussed

    The Lowndes County Board of Commissioners discussed purchasing two pieces of equipment for the Alapaha Water Treatment Plant and the Spring Creek System for a total of $1,638,000 during its Monday work session and is expected to vote on the issue tonight.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • education.jpg Charter school petition denied

    Both the Valdosta City and Lowndes County school boards unanimously denied the joint charter petition from Scintilla Charter Academy during their respective meetings Monday evening.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • echols_alapapa.jpg WWALS gets grant from river network

    The Willacoochee, Withlacoochee, Alapaha, and Little River Systems Watershed Coalition, Inc. (WWALS) received a $500 Alapaha Water Trail Grant from the Georgia River Network

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • 140718-ARJim2.jpg Teacher at home anywhere in the world

    Variety is the spice of life. South Georgia is home to a diverse group of people, each with a unique life story. One man with glorious tales of travel and selfless volunteer work is Jim Kokoruda.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • fire2a.jpg Blaze damages North Lowndes home

    Lowndes County Fire Rescue responded to a fire call Sunday at 3756 Cross Creek Circle near Bemiss Road.

    July 20, 2014 2 Photos

  • 140719-KidsInc3 copy.jpg Kids get a taste of retail operations

    Valdosta Mall shoppers may have noticed a few additional shopping options Saturday as they walked through center court.
    Children ranging in age from 6 to 15 years old set up booths and sold products to consumers.

    July 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • 140719-UnseenProject7 copy.jpg CrossPointe welcomes ‘Unseen’ travelers home

    CrossPointe Church members gathered Saturday to greet their pastor and fellow congregationalists returning from a filmed two-month-long motorcycle trip across the nation and back.

    July 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • election.jpg Runoff set for Tuesday

    Advanced voting ended Friday for the runoff election from the May 20 primary.

    July 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Modern Woodmen RC copy.JPG Woodmen welcomed to Valdosta

    The The Valdosta-Lowndes Chamber of Commerce and its Ambassadors welcomed the Valdosta chapter of Modern Woodmen Fraternal Financial with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Tuesday, July 15.

    July 19, 2014 1 Photo

Top News
Poll

School starts again in about two weeks. What do you think?

It's still summer. School starts too soon.
Seems like the right time to return.
Abolish summer recess. Make school year-round.
     View Results