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The Big Read is a program of the National Endowment for the Arts, designed to revitalize the role of reading in American culture by exposing citizens to great works of literature and encouraging them to read for pleasure and enrichment. The Big Read is managed by Arts Midwest.

This Year’s Big Read book, “Station Eleven,” is Emily St. John Mandel’s fourth novel. It won the Arthur C. Clarke Award, was a finalist for the National Book Award and PEN/Faulkner Award, was an Amazon Best Book of the Month, and was named one of the best books of the year by more than a dozen publications. It’s been translated into 27 languages.

The novel is set 20 years after a devastating flu pandemic destroys civilization as we know it. A woman moves between the settlements of the altered world with a small troupe of actors and musicians until they encounter a violent prophet who threatens the tiny band’s existence.

These free events have been planned in conjunction with The Big Read:

  • Book Discussion: “Packing for the End of the World” book discussion, noon-1 p.m. Monday, March 5, Gateway Technical College Student Life Center Garden Room, 3520 30th Ave., Kenosha. A discussion about culture, possessions and memories that become important when the world as we know it ceases to exist.
  • Book Discussion: “From Comic Books to the Bible: Literature and Genre in Station Eleven,” 7-8:30 p.m. Monday, March 5, i ov thee dragon Tattoo and Body Piercing Studio, 614 Sixth St. Doug Singsen, UW-Parkside Art History professor, will discuss the variety of genre-crossing cultural texts referenced in “Station Eleven,” from Shakespeare to graphic novels to ritual scarification.
  • Film: “Blade Runner 2049” (2017), 8-11 p.m. Tuesday, March 6, UW-Parkside Student Center Cinema, 900 Wood Road, Somers. Thirty years after the events of the first film, LAPD officer K (Ryan Gosling), unearths a long-buried secret that has the potential to plunge what’s left of society into chaos. Rated R.
  • Book Discussion: “Station Eleven: An International Perspective,” 1:30-3:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 6, Woman’s Club of Kenosha, 6028 Eighth Ave., Kenosha. Discuss the novel from an international perspective at this book discussion co-hosted by Kenosha Literacy Council students from around the world and the Woman’s Club of Kenosha.
  • Book Discussion: “Shakespeare and Culture in Station Eleven,” 6:30-8 p.m. Wednesday, March 7, D.P. Wigley Co., 234 Wisconsin Ave. David Bruce, professor of history at UW-Parkside, will discuss the importance of Shakespeare’s works to the revival of human culture in “Station Eleven.”

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Community Coordinator

Loreen Mohr is the community coordinator for The Journal Times.

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