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Community Read unites readers, county

Businesses can buy books for employees

by:  - Community Read selection


   We've all seen the impact of the Harry Potter book series, where children (and adults) storm book stores, waiting in long lines until midnight for each new release.
   Well, this fall a similar book fest will be celebrated countywide during the first annual "Community Read," being organized by Jefferson County Library and Willow Creek Bookstore.
   A month-long slate of activities are being planned to encourage county residents from Camp Sherman and Crooked River Ranch to Warm Springs and Antelope to read, discuss and celebrate the featured book "Life Is So Good," by George Dawson and Richard Glaubman.
   "Life Is So Good" is the true inspiring story of George Dawson, a Black man born into poverty and a life of hard work, whose upbeat attitude and love of life allow him to forge his own path in the world.
   At age 98 Dawson enrolled in community education classes and finally learned to read, inspiring other illiterate adults to say "If George can do it, I can do it." Written as a narrative of his life, the book gives a little-seen view of 20th century American history from the perspective of a Black man who experienced the events firsthand.
   Racism, poverty, child labor, unions, and many other topics are brought out, which will be the focus of local discussion groups during Community Read activities.
   It all culminates Oct. 11, 12 and 13, when author Richard Glaubman of Washington, comes to Madras for public and school presentations, including a short film of George Dawson at age 103 (he has since passed away).
   The books are now available at the discounted price of $10 (regularly $14) at Willow Creek Books, and businesses are being encouraged to join the effort by purchasing books for their employees.
   "It's nice for the employees, is a team-building experience, and is good for the community," said Library Director Melanie Lightbody.
   The goal is to get as many people in the county as possible to all read the same book. "It's a uniting factor for the community to have one subject which everyone has in common to talk about," Lightbody added.
   Part of the fun will be sharing the book with others. "People will have the option of passing their book on to others once they've read it," mentioned Willow Creek Bookstore owner Faith Handley. Pass-on collection bins will be located at the library and book store, and readers can write their name on the inside cover so others can see who else has read it. Buttons will also be available in August for anyone who has read the book to wear.
   Businesses interested in purchasing books for their employees many contact Lightbody at 475-3351, or Handley at 475-3131. Others who want to help plan events are invited to the next meeting at 5 p.m., June 30, at the library. For further updates view the library's Web site at www.jcld.org.