Fly fishing, spirituality and the power of nature are among the themes of this year's Read Me Treasure Valley pick, "The River Why."
The long-running community reading project kicks off its three-month 2017 schedule Thursday morning at Boise's Esther Simplot Park and concludes May 4 with a presentation from "River Why" author David James Duncan.
In between are a record number of events designed to hook readers of all ages and inclinations, says project coordinator Mary DeWalt, director of the Ada Community Library. Offerings include science and nature talks, river stories and songs, book discussions and movie screenings in libraries and other venues across the Valley.
The Barnes and Noble website describes Duncan's novel as “a coming-of-age comedy about love, nature, and the quest for self-discovery written in a voice as distinct and powerful as any in American letters.”
This year's reading project also features two titles for younger readers and families: "Where the River Begins" by Thomas Locker and "Chomp" by Carl Hiaasen.
The community reading projectwas launched in 2001 as “What If Everybody Read the Same Book?” Since then, the annual project has included the featured book’s author only about a half-dozen times.
Read Me Treasure Valley is presented by the Ada Community, Boise, Caldwell, Eagle, Garden City, Meridian, and Nampa Public Libraries along with The Cabin and the Idaho Statesman, with support from the Idaho Humanities Council.
The full schedule of events will be posted later this week on the Read Me website. Here are a few of the highlights:
Kick-off — 11a.m. Thursday, Feb. 9 in the central pavilion at Esther Simplot Park, 614 N Whitewater Park Blvd., Boise. Participants will include Boise City Councilman T.J. Thomson, Idaho Rivers United Communication Director Greg Stahl and Tom Old from Boise Valley Fly Fishers.
Preserving Our Boise River — 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 22, Garden City Public Library, 6015 Glenwood St. Representatives of the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality, the Boise River Enhancement Network, Idaho Rivers United and other presenters will suggest easy things you can do today to help preserve the Boise River.
The Tiny Things That Run a River — 7:15 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 28, Ada Community Library Victory Branch, 10664 W. Victory Rd., Boise. David Hopper, a wildlife biologist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Boise, will talk about the aquatic invertebrates that inspire fly-tying design and how they help shape the river in which they live.
The Wilderness: Why? — 7 p.m. Thursday, March 2, Idaho Outdoor Association, 3401 Brazil St, Boise. Author and Idaho Statesman reporter Rocky Barker examines the place of wildness and spirituality in literature, in the human experience and in his own life.
Fishing for the Good Life: Conservation, Meaning, and Relations in ‘The River Why’ — 7 p.m. Thursday, April 13, Library! @ Cole and Ustick, 7557 W. Ustick Road, Boise. Gregory McElwain, assistant professor of philosophy and religious studies at the College of Idaho, explores the novel’s philosophical themes, including on conservation, social relations, spirituality and the search for meaning.
An Evening with David James Duncan — 7 p.m. Thursday, May 4, Pioneer Room at JUMP, 1000 W. Myrtle St., Boise. "The River Why" author, fly fisher and practitioner of what he calls “direct, small-scale compassion-activism,” will talk about river adventures, writings, fish stories, friendships, conservation victories, great films and "one lousy Hollywood movie” inspired in whole or in part by his novel.