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Group Kicks Off Big Read

By Staff | Jan 28, 2009

John Thornton

ArtsLink’s The Big Read kicked off with a special event Sunday at West Virginia Northern Community College. The month-long endeavor is to encourage local residents to read Jack London’s “The Call of the Wild”.

Sunday’s event included Dr. Terry Craig, WVNCC Professor of English, giving an introduction to the book; Ellen Pope, a former Iditarod participant with her faithful Husky discussing Alaska’s annual dogsled race; and an appearance by John Thornton of the Cincinnati Bengals, who also shares his name with the book’s main character.

New Martinsville Public Librarian Janet Witten Conn calls the book the perfect winter read. During the month of February, she hopes that all of Wetzel and Tyler counties will be reading and discussing “The Call of the Wild”.

Its hero is Buck, a St. Bernard/Scotch Shepherd dog, who gets stolen from his easy-going life in California to be sold as a sled dog in Alaska during the Gold Rush. The 139-page novel chronicles Buck’s struggles and successes as he experiences the harsh realities of life in the cruel, cold wilderness. He goes from being merely one of the pack to the lead dog. His deep bond to John Thornton, a gold prospector, characterizes a relationship of love and trust between man and animal.

Copies of the book are available at The Bookstore on North Street in New Martinsville.

Dr. Terry Craig

The Big Read is presented by the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with the Institute of Museum and Library Services and Arts Midwest. Support for The Big Read is provided by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. Additional funding for The Big Read is provided by the Ruffin A. Cooper Jr. Endowment and through a bequest made in memory of Dorothy Lois Beverly. The National Endowment for the Arts also acknowledges the following organizations and individuals for their encouragement of and contributions to The Big Read: American Library Association and the Association of American Publishers. Local sponsors are the Wetzel-Tyler Volunteers for Better Reading, AAA Homes, and the Community Foundation for the Ohio Valley.

For more information, visit the ArtsLink Web site at www.artslinkwv.org. All ArtsLink activities strive to be universally accessible. Persons with special needs may contact Donna Earley, ArtsLink program coordinator, for assistance at 304-455-2278.

A reader's theater

Attendees of The Big Read kickoff