It's designed to encourage more people to read.
Whether you're an adult or a child, June is a good time to crack open a book. Frederick County is participating in the "Big Read," and there will be plenty of activities at local libraries.
"The 'Big Read' is a celebration of reading," says Elizabeth Cromwell, a spokeswoman for the Frederick County Public Library System. "It started back a few years ago through the National Endowment for the Arts. Different communities can apply to be a part of this program."
She says it's a way to encourage more people to read for pleasure and enlightenment, and restore reading to the center of American culture. "One of the main reasons that it came into being is because there was a study that came out, maybe seven or eight years ago, that says that the average American adult reads less than one book per year," she says.
Because this is the sesquicentennial of the Civil War, this year's featured author is Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, whose known more for writing about the American Revolution. "Longfellow, of course, is probably best known for the 'Midnight Ride of Paul Revere,' which is a Revolutionary War story. But he's also written about the Civil War as well," says Cromwell.
Part of the kickoff for this year's "Big Read" is a visit this weekend by New York Times' bestselling author Matthew Pearl, who wrote "The Dante Club," which is a murder mystery where Longfellow is one of its characters. Pearl will hold a writing workshop at the C. Burr Artz Library on Saturday afternoon at 3:00, and reading from his works on Saturday evening at 7:00 at the Delaplaine Visual Arts Center.
For more information on other "Big Read" activities go to www.fcpl.org.
Cromwell says one advantage of taking part in the "Big Read" is the county receives lots of books which are given away for free. "We have lots of books. We have lots reader's guides. We have lots of CD's that have audio versions of books," she says.