The Dearborn Public Library will once again inspire the community to engage in reading and join in fun and educational events across Dearborn, after receiving its third grant to host the Big Read. The first Big Read was The Call of the Wild by Jack London in 2013-14 and the second was Great Tales and Poems of Edgar Allan Poe in 2015-16. The third Big Read for 2017-18 will focus on The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri.
The Namesake was published in 2003, and quickly became an international bestseller. A popular film version was released in 2006. Here is a brief introduction to the book from the Big Read website (neabigread.org):
What’s in a name? For Gogol Ganguli, American-born of Bengali parentage bearing a Russian writer’s surname, this question is neither easily answered nor easily dismissed. Straddling two generations, two cultures, and with two first names, Gogol moves through life with a sense he never quite fits in. Jhumpa Lahiri’s understated exploration of identity and cultural assimilation in The Namesake illuminates for us all the question “Who am I?” while bringing alive the colors, flavors, and textures of immigrant Indian life in America.
For this upcoming Big Read, the theme is “What’s in a name?” and with programming focusing on names, family history, and the immigrant experience, the Library will reach out to people of all ages and backgrounds. The adventure begins with a Project Launch on August 22, 2017, 6-7 p.m. at Henry Ford Centennial Library. There will be light refreshments and details about the program and a call out to the community for original family recipes and/or immigration stories regarding current or previous generations. The Library will compile and publish submissions as two anthologies: one showcasing family recipes and the other concerning immigration stories. The Library also plans to work with Dearborn’s local cable television station (CDTV), the City of Dearborn Department of Public Information, and Dearborn Public Schools to film people’s immigrant stories in October 2017 and produce a video for the Kickoff. All of the recorded videos will be uploaded to bigreaddearborn.org. More details on the film and book projects will be given at the Launch.
The Big Read Kickoff will take place on Sunday, March 18, 2018, 2-4 p.m. at the Ford Community & Performing Arts Center featuring a viewing of the community video of immigration stories, free copies of The Namesake, and live performances from a number of groups representing a sampling of our cultural diversity including Nadanta (an Indian dance troupe), the Ardan Academy of Irish Dance, Maples Drummers (an Arabic music ensemble), Polish Alliance Dancers, and Raices Mexicans de Detroit.
Throughout the remainder of March and the first half of April 2018 there will be many fun-filled events for the community to learn more about the book and its themes, including lectures, films, book discussions, classes, a food tasting, and many other programs for all ages.
The Big Read Wrap Up event will take place at Henry Ford Centennial Library in April and will feature local musician Jeff Karoub, whose paternal grandparents came from Lebanon, and whose father played for the Detroit Symphony and Motown Records. Through an intimate, interactive theater performance, Karoub will explore his own family’s experience with immigration.
To help bring this massive project to life, Dearborn Public Library is partnering with many institutions and organizations, including The Henry Ford, the Arab American National Museum, the Dearborn Community Fund, Dearborn Public Schools, CDTV, the City of Dearborn Department of Public Information, Artspace, Dearborn Library Foundation, Dearborn Library Commission, Friends of the Library-Dearborn, University of Michigan-Dearborn (UM-D) Mardigian Library, Henry Ford College Eshleman Library, Beaumont Medical Library, East Dearborn Downtown Development Authority, Dearborn Inn, Green Brain Comics, and Dearborn Heights Libraries. The list continues to grow.
Organizations or businesses interested in partnering to help make the Big Read a community-wide experience should contact the library at (313) 943-2037.
NEA Big Read is a program of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) designed to broaden our understanding of our world, our communities, and ourselves through the joy of sharing a good book. Dearborn Public Library is one of 75 not-for-profit organizations to receive a grant to host an NEA Big Read project between September 2017 and June 2018. The NEA presents NEA Big Read in partnership with Arts Midwest.
Please visit dearbornlibrary.org or bigreaddearborn.org for updates.