Somerville Reads is a project that promotes literacy and community by encouraging people all over the City to read and discuss books on the same theme. For our third annual program, the subject is food—local, sustainable, delicious!

Friday, February 26, 2010

Somerville Reads Kickoff 3/28/10

We hope you will join us for the first Somerville Reads kickoff event on Sunday March 28 at Arts at the Armory from 4-8pm. We are thrilled to have The Band That Time Forgot as our special guest, for an evening of Vietnam War era music and celebration. The event is free, refreshments will be provided, and all are welcome to attend. Tell your friends, bring your family, and come party with us!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Why you should read The Things They Carried

There are so many reasons why Tim O'Brien's The Things They Carried is the perfect book for our first community reading program. If you are curious about why we chose this book or just curious what the buzz is about, here are some things to know about The Things They Carried:

  • First published in 1990, The Things They Carried is regarded as the quintessential fictional work about the Vietnam War. The novel is composed of 22 individual stories, but also combines aspects of memoir, novel and short story collections. This is a book that is easy to read, easy to pick up when you have time, and easy to revisit again and again.
  • The novel is narrated in first person by a writer and combat veteran of the Vietnam War. He tells us soldier's stories - who they were before the draft, how they fought, and how they coped when they returned home. In its essence, these are stories of soldiers coming home and learning to live in the world again - learning to feel human again, learning not to be afraid, and learning to forgive.
  • The Things They Carried is a war story and as such, socially relevant to us now in 2010. The novel offers a lot to be reflected upon - spiritual, emotional, and psychological burdens that we all carry with us. Tim O'Brien has often said that the title is meant to go beyond just soldiers and the war to the human race in general. As a war story, there are several haunting and graphic scenes. We hope the opportunity to read these stories will increase your awareness and respect for all our soldiers, both veterans and men and women in active duty. We also hope these stories will make you pause to reflect on the things you carry.
  • Finally, The Things They Carried is also a novel about writing. The narrator and the characters in the novel often reflect on the process of storytelling and writing itself. We hope the wonderful depth this novel offers will give everyone something to cherish in reading this book.

This year marks the 20th anniversary of the novel. Here is a look at the 1990 cover and the new anniversary edition: