• Jessi Pinkert, #cityofnac Communications Intern

One Book, One City

The Nacogdoches Public Library, in conjunction with a number of community partners, is preparing to launch One Book, One City in October! Everyone in the Nacogdoches community is invited to read the western novel, True Grit by Charles Portis, and share their experiences with us and each other. This new initiative aims to reinforce the notion that reading is central to our culture, essential to our success as individuals, and vital in bringing us closer as a community. To listen to Crystal Hicks from the Nacogdoches Public Library explain this initiative and discuss the program, click here!

The City of Nacogdoches Public Library’s goal is to reach a diverse readership, generate excitement about reading and community, and inspire new and different ways to experience and understand literature. While the focus is literacy, we want to emphasize reading the same book is not merely edifying and enlightening, but, simply put, FUN!

For our inaugural year of One Book, One City, we have chosen an often discussed, interpreted and reimagined text, True Grit, by Charles Portis. The novel is a quirky western set in the post- Civil War era with timeless characters playing out a thrilling revenge plot. While the colloquial language and depiction of outmoded gender and racial stereotypes highlight the historical aspect of the story, the plight of the characters in True Grit is not far removed from that of the people that have populated our own region for generations. Portis tells the story of a teenaged girl who seeks justice for a murdered father with the questionable aid of a most unlikely anti-hero, Rooster Cogburn, a "fearless, one-eyed U.S. marshal who never knew a dry day in his life." The New York Times Bestseller inspired two film adaptations, featuring John Wayne in 1969 and Jeff Bridges in 2010.

The One Book, One City schedule of events will appeal to those looking for lighthearted entertainment, like the Wild West Murder Mystery, as well as those who prefer to delve into more serious themes such as gender, law, and justice. So far, we’ve had an amazing response from the community, with many organizations and businesses offering to participate and contribute to making this a truly communal enterprise. For more information on the various organizations partnering with the Nacogdoches Public Library, click here!

We encourage anyone who would like to participate to do so in whatever way they see fit. Encourage your book club to read True Grit, screen one of the fine film adaptations with friends, or attend one of the numerous and varied events which are planned at the library, historic sites and museum, bookstores, and local businesses. To sign up for the various different events that coincide with the book, click here!

More importantly, consider how the themes and concerns of this novel set in the 19th century are still relevant today and share your ideas and responses with others. Writer Edmund Wilson declared that no two people read the same book. We all bring with us our histories, perceptions, and a million other factors that make us unique individuals. We propose that reading and sharing thoughts are excellent ways for individuals to more thoroughly understand and empathize with their neighbors. Nacogdoches is a small town with a diverse population and rich heritage, and yet, we encounter people every day whose stories we don’t know and, hence don’t understand. Opening the same book is a way to open ourselves to those stories and embark on a new shared narrative.

At the public library, we continue to offer free copies of the novel, and are eagerly anticipating the exciting slate of activities October will bring. In addition to conventional book discussions, programs such as art and museum exhibits, historical demonstrations, film screenings, parties, and more will be offered for all ages and interests. We will also provide related reading suitable for younger readers, as well as teaching materials for teachers and book club leaders. Please contact the library at 936-559-2970 or if you have any questions, comments, or suggestions.

As always, our mission is to connect people with information, ideas and experiences to provide enjoyment, enhance lives and strengthen our community. Tell us how we can do that for you, and don't forget to stop by the Nacogdoches Public Library to grab a copy of True Grit by Charles Portis!



Nacogdoches, TX, USA

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