Chicago Public Library selects ‘Augie March’ for ‘One Book’

August 18, 2011

AP and City Room Staff

Chicago Public Library has chosen the next book for the city's "One Book, One Chicago" program: Saul Bellow's The Adventures of Augie March.

The 10-year-old program encourages all Chicagoans to read the same book at the same time. The city then sponsors tours and discussions to accompany the reading. Previous selections have included classics like To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee and The Crucible by Arthur Miller. Mayor Rahm Emanuel calls this selection "a quintessential Chicago novel."

The library notes that in Augie March, Nobel laureate Bellow depicts the 1920s and ‘30s Chicago of his childhood, “from the pool halls to the welfare lines, the downtown movie houses to the quiet parks.”

Programming around this selection will include a lecture from Chicago historian Dominic Pacyga, a walking tour inspired by locations in the novel and a discussion with Bellow's widow, Janis Freedman-Bellow.

There also will be a staged reading of book excerpts, creative writing workshops and poster design contest. In addition, WBEZ staff will facilitate book discussions at each of the station’s three Community Bureaus, and WBEZ’s Natalie Moore and Achy Obejas will take part in a program exploring “Chicago as muse” on October 13.

WBEZ is an official media sponsor of “One Book, One Chicago.” This media sponsorship is an extension of the 5-year-old partnership WBEZ’s parent company, Chicago Public Media, holds with Chicago Public Library.