Montana 1948 to be featured by “Shorewood Reads”
by Priscilla Pardini
The novel Montana 1948 by Milwaukee author Larry Watson will be the focus of the first annual Shorewood Reads literary event this fall, Shorewood Village President Guy Johnson announced Monday night.
In a proclamation delivered at the Shorewood Village Board meeting, Johnson urged all village residents to read Montana 1948 and participate in discussions and other activities related to the book. In the proclamation, Johnson declared August through October to be Shorewood Reads months.
Montana 1948, published in 1993, is the story of a family crisis as seen through the eyes of 12-year-old David Hayden. It is a coming-of-age story in that David is forced to confront issues such as racism and the abuse of power. He also struggles with the question of which is more important: family loyalty or justice. The book was awarded the Milkweed National Fiction Prize.
Watson, a native of North Dakota, has been a visiting professor at Marquette University since 2003; prior to that he taught writing and literature for 25 years at UW-Stevens Point. The book is required reading for ninth grade students at Shorewood High School.
Copies of Montana 1948 are available at the Shorewood Public Library, 3920 N. Murray Ave., and at Boswell Book Company, 2559 N. Downer Ave., Milwaukee. Boswell customers who mention that they are participating in Shorewood Reads will receive 10% off the purchase price.
The event is sponsored by the Friends of the Shorewood Library in conjunction with Shorewood High School and with support from the Shorewood Foundation. In his proclamation, Johnson noted that the event fulfills two goals of the Friends of the Shorewood Library: promoting quality literature and collaborating with other village organizations.
Shorewood Reads activities will begin in mid-September and include lectures on and discussions about the book led by members of the Shorewood High School English department and SHS students. The event will culminate on October 5 with two appearances by Watson at the Shorewood Library. He is expected to discuss not only Montana 1948, but also his new novel, American Boy, slated for publication on September 13.
“This is a terrific project,” said Jean Gurney, chairman of the Friends’ Shorewood Reads committee. “Everyone who reads Montana 1948 will gain a broader outlook on life and enjoy a great story.”
Gurney said she is especially pleased that the event will involve everyone from ninth graders to senior citizens; she specifically invited members of local book clubs to include the book on their summer reading lists. “Members of the Shorewood Reads Committee and the Friends of the Shorewood Library are looking forward to what we hope will be a wide range of village residents engaged in a lively exchange of ideas about this wonderful book.”
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