2017 Big Read title is…Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

Attleboro’s 1ABC (1 Adventure, 1 Book, 1 Community), a committee of local agencies organized by the Attleboro Free Public Library, has been awarded a National Endowment for the Arts/The Big Read grant for a community-wide reading project this fall. The announcement of this year’s title before the Attleboro Municipal Council took place at Attleboro City Hall on July 20th.

The Attleboro community will share in the reading of “Station Eleven” by Emily St. John Mandel, a novel depicting a time of world collapse, focusing on the characters’ lives before and after the crisis. The struggle to recreate their world through the arts, literacy, moral codes, love and human interaction is a major theme in the book.

The “Station Eleven” journey takes readers from a frighteningly realistic epidemic outbreak, to a hopeful survivalist period 20 years later. “Survival is Insufficient,” writes St. John Mandel. She says: “One way to write about something is to consider its absence, which is why I set much of the book in a post-apocalyptic landscape. I thought of the book as a love letter to the modern world, written in the form of a requiem.” Along the way the author melds Shakespeare, classical music, a graphic novel, nomadic travel, love, prophecy, friendship and survival into a spell-binding story that forces readers to question their own lives, what we can and cannot live without, and what is most important for one’s own personal survival.

Attleboro’s 1ABC has worked diligently to bring you an experience of a lifetime. The hope is that you will join us as we reflect on how precious life is and what is truly important to us not only as individuals, but also as a community. Co-chair Rusty D’Arconte reports that members “are ecstatic over receiving another grant and look forward to their eleventh year working with this national program.”

Attleboro’s 1ABC partners have planned a variety of ways for experiencing “Station Eleven. Highlights include:

  • The celebration of International Literacy Day on Saturday, September 9.
  • The Bristol Norfolk Medical Reserve Corps will present “Disaster Preparedness” on Thursday, September 14 at the Library and a second session by the local Community Emergency Response Team on Monday, September 25   at the South Attleboro Fire Station.
  • An exhibit at the Attleboro Arts Museum, “The Calm before the Storm,” will open on Saturday, September 16.
  • The author, Emily St. John Mandel, will be in Attleboro for a presentation on Tuesday, September 19.
  • Oak Knoll Wildlife Sanctuary will offer “Survival in the Woods” on Saturday, September 23.
  • The Attleboro Land Trust will host geocaching on Saturday, September 30.
  • The Community Visiting Nurses Association is doing a “Mindfulness Workshop” on Wednesday, October 4.
  •  “Saving Seeds” will be presented at the Library on Wednesday, October 4.
  • The Manhattan Short Film Festival will be shown at Bristol Community College on Friday and Saturday, October 6 and 7.
  • The Attleboro Area Industrial Museum will be showing films of local disasters and recovery on Saturday, October 14.
  • Panel discussion on The Arts at Bristol Community College on Thursday, October 19.
  • Local authors will talk about their craft on Indie Author Day, Saturday, October 21 at the Library.
  • A tour of The Sun Chronicle is scheduled for Tuesday, October 24.
  • The Big Read finale will again be hosted by the Attleboro High School Culinary Arts program on Thursday, October 26.

Book discussions, writers groups, school participation, and arts and craft programs will round out the two-month program.   The calendar of events will appear in The Sun Chronicle in early September.  You can soon view the calendar of events on the library website to see how to register, find age-appropriate activities and review more details.

The National Endowment for the Arts has awarded seventy-five nonprofit organizations with grants totaling more than $1 million to host an NEA Big Read project between September 2017 and June 2018. An initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest, the NEA Big Read broadens understanding of our world, our communities and ourselves through the joy of sharing a good book. “Through the NEA Big Read we are bringing contemporary works to communities across the country, helping us better understand the diverse voices and perspectives that come with it,” said NEA Chairman Jane Chu. “These 75 organizations have developed unique plans to celebrate these works, including numerous opportunities for exploration and conversation.”