This October readers throughout Irving can show off their pioneering spirit by discovering the classic western novel True Grit by Charles Portis. Originally published as a weekly series for The Saturday Evening Post, it's a gripping tale of a wintertime quest to avenge the death of a 14-year old girl’s father, assisted by a hard-bitten federal marshal Rooster Cogburn. It's also much more than a tale of vengeance. It's a novel that explores a changing American landscape, the meaning of friendship, and the cost of living by a moral code.
Join us for a celebration of the culture and literature of the American West by picking up a free copy of the novel True Grit at special events throughout the month, or at the four Irving library locations while supplies last.
"People do not give it credence that a fourteen-year-old girl could leave home and go off in the wintertime to avenge her father's blood but it did not seem so strange then, although I will say it did not happen every day."
Books selected for Irving Reads are filled with ideas, emotions and experiences that many readers will connect with, and want to discuss. You are invited to join in the conversation throughout this month-long event with several free and open-to-the-public book clubs. This year's selected title True Grit has much to say about living through adverse conditions and having courage to follow through, which is often at the heart of many western novels. The panel event Cowboys Never Quit with author Johnny Boggs and UTD creative professor Clay Reynolds will deliver an entertaining and insightful conversation about western novels.
Irving Reads presents four author visits and two writers panels that build on this year's themes of westerns and meaning of "true grit." Children, teens and YA fans can pick up a free copy of Irving Reads alternate titles by visiting authors when they attend our True Grit Authors series featuring Erica Silverman (Cowgirl Kate and Cocoa), Rae Carson (Walk on Earth a Stranger), Newbery Honor-Winning author Kirby Larson (Hattie Big Sky), and Susan Stevens Crummel (Tumbleweed Stew).
For adults interested in how today's writers are employing western themes and tropes, the Not Your Father's Western author panel invites Melissa Lenhardt (cozy western), Henry McLaughlin (western suspense) and Arianne "Tex" Thompson (fantasy-western fusion) to talk about their works. The Cowboys Never Quit panel will talk about the traditional western novel, with Spur Award winning authors Johnny Boggs and Clay Reynolds.
This year the entire community is invited out to western-themed events!
Scoot-a-boot at a traditional western dancing demonstration led by Circle | Square and Round Dance Club or enjoy a performance by living historian J.R. Edmondson as John Wayne. Learn about the women of the American West with a visit from the National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame. Families can sing along to campfire songs, and pose for pony photos. We wrap up October with the annual Haunted House and trunk-or-treat event. For the little ones there will be plenty of horsing around fun with puppets at storytime.
Besides reading and conversations, everyone is invited to get creative during this year's Irving Reads.
Children in grades 4 to 12 and adults are invited to write and enter the Irving Writes essay contest. Cash prizes will be given to the best original work on the topic Show Your True Grit. Share a time when you, or someone you know, accomplished an important goal through hard work and determination.
Irving Reads is generously sponsored through local organizations including the Friends of Irving Public Library, Irving ISD, the Irving Art Center and Irving Park and Recreation.