“A mind needs books as a sword needs a whetstone, if it is to stay sharp.” —George R.R. Martin
When the author Louise Erdrich visited Homer last fall, she was surprised by the number of people who turned out for her public reading at the Kachemak Bay Campus. She clearly wasn’t expecting this small town at the end of the road to have so many people interested in hearing her stories. She looked out at the crowded room full of so many eager faces and said, “Wow, this is a town that reads!”
Erdrich was absolutely right. This town is full of readers and those of us who work at the Homer Public Library see evidence of it every day. We see it in the number of parents who bring their children to storytime.
We see it in the hundreds of books that circulate every day. And for the past few years we’ve seen it in how many people participate in reading from our Lit Lineup list.
The library holds its 2018 Lit Lineup launch party at 6:30 p.m. today, Jan. 18, in the Meeting Room. It’s a chance to mingle with other readers, talk about books, have a few snacks, and plan your reading list for the year. It’s free and open to everyone.
Lit Lineup, previously called Read Fifteen, is a program the Homer Public Library started in 2015. Just for fun, we made a list of 150 books and challenged participants to read at least 15 books from it over the course of the year. We created a page on our website where people could submit an entry for each title they read and we made the books easy to find in the library. The Friends of the Homer Library helped us spread the word and kicked in support for prizes.
At the time, we weren’t sure if the idea would catch on, but it has, and delightfully so. Now it’s become something of a tradition here at the library.
The 2018 Lit Lineup list includes 100 books from 10 different categories. While it’s unlikely that every book will appeal to every reader, there’s a good chance that every reader will find several on the list to their liking. The books were carefully selected based on personal recommendations, published book reviews, relevance to current events, and plenty of other factors. In the end, we tried to make the list as varied as the people who walk through the doors of the library.
On the list you will find fiction, nonfiction, children’s literature, classics, graphic novels, short stories, essays and poetry.
Some of the books will require a substantial time commitment, like the biography of Leonardo Da Vinci by Walter Isaacson or “Moby-Dick” by Herman Melville. Others, like the comic book-style graphic memoir “Rolling Blackouts” by Sarah Glidden, could be tackled in an afternoon.
Many of the titles on the 2018 Lit Lineup list were standouts from last year, like the National Book Award winner “Sing, Unburied, Sing” by Jesmyn Ward. And some, such as “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” by Mark Twain and “Metamorphosis” by Franz Kafka, go back much further but still manage to stand the test of time.
There are a myriad of ways to participate in the 2018 Lit Lineup. It’s as simple as picking a book from the list and reading it or listening to it on audio. All of the titles are available at the Homer Public Library, and many can be checked out digitally through the Alaska Digital Library.
If you’d like to enter the books you read from the list for a chance to win a monthly prize, you can do so online at https://www.cityofhomer-ak.gov/library/2018-lit-lineup, or you can enter on a paper form at the library.
Participants who submit fifteen or more books in 2018 will be entered into a grand prize drawing at the end of the year.
If you’d like to learn more about the 2018 Lit Lineup list, don’t hesitate to call the library at 235-3180, or stop by and pick up a brochure. The complete list is available online at the website listed above. We’d love for you to join our wonderful community of readers.
Teresa Sundmark is a librarian at the Homer Public Library.