107 NE Monroe Peoria, Illinois 61602-1070

Peoria Reads! Announces Events for NEA Big Read

This year’s Peoria Reads! NEA Big Read selection is Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant? by Roz Chast and a full slate of events has been planned to help the community understand the primary themes of the book. The book, a memoir in graphic novel form, was written by Chast to tell the story of her journey with her parents as they age and pass away. It is a subject most Peorians will deal with or have already faced and offers wide opportunities for discussion. All events are free and open to the public.

Peoria Reads! will kick off the community read on Sunday, February 24 at 2:00 p.m. at North Branch. Illinois songwriter and folklorist Chris Vallillo has created a musical program reflecting those touching themes and the life changes they represent; the new roles of adult children becoming parents to their parents, the stress of aging parents leaving a family home for an institution; and the hiring of strangers to provide the most personal care.

On Tuesday, February 26 at 6:00 p.m. at Lakeview Branch, Peoria Speaks will present Alzheimer’s and Dementia Care and Education. Daryl Carlson of the Alzheimer’s Association will provide background information about Alzheimer’s and dementia care and education as well as his organization’s initiatives, and then the floor will be opened up for questions and discussion. Funding for Peoria Speaks is being provided by Illinois Humanities through their Illinois Speaks program which is aimed at strengthening the democratic process through community dialogues across the state of Illinois.

Discuss Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant when NEA Big Read: Peoria Reads 2019 features Marjorie Getz of Methodist College on Sunday, March 3 from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. at Methodist College, 7600 North Academic Drive, Peoria. Marjorie Getz, professor of arts and sciences, will present a program on successful aging as well as aging with chronic disease. Immediately following this program at 4:00 p.m. attend a Death Café at Methodist College. A Death Café is a scheduled discussion about death and dying. Colleen Karn, Assistant Professor of English & Humanities at Methodist College, will facilitate this discussion of understanding death and making the most of life.

Join the Biography and Nonfiction Book Club for a discussion of Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant? and A Disordered Mind on Sunday, March 10 from 3:00 to 4:45 p.m. at North Branch. See descriptions of these two title on page 7 in the Biography and Non-Fiction Book Club section.

Deb Disney, Director of Counseling & Wellness at Methodist College, will lead a discussion of Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant? on Wednesday, March 20 from 6:00 to 7:45 p.m. at Lakeview Branch.

Monica Vest Wheeler will share her experiences with those who have suffered loss and still found life to be enjoyed on Saturday, March 23 from 2:00 to 3:45 p.m. at Lakeview Branch. Based on her work with cancer and stroke survivors, she will provide a positive, yet realistic, presentation related to how there IS life still to be enjoyed and discovered after a serious injury or illness or disease, whether you’re the patient, survivor or caregiver. Monica Vest Wheeler is the author of Dementia & Memory Loss: Straight Talk for Families & Caregivers. Monica’s talk will be followed by Death Café, a discussion about death and dying. Colleen Karn, Assistant Professor of English & Humanities at Methodist College, will facilitate this discussion of understanding death and making the most of life.

Join the Mature Readers Book Club discussion of the book on Wednesday, March 27 from 2:15 to 3:45 p.m. at Humana Center, 2601 West Lake or The Bibliophiles Book Club on Tuesday, April 2 from 1:30 to 3:00 p.m. at Lakeview Branch.

A “Can’t We Talk: An End of Life Symposium” will be presented by Methodist College on Wednesday, March 27 from 5:30 to 8:30 pm at Methodist College and will feature six breakout sessions including “Can’t We Talk About Finance,” and other pertinent topics.

On Sunday, March 3 from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. at North Branch, Veronica Haskell, owner of the Haskell Hott group of funeral homes in Central Illinois, will present a preplanning event to educate people about the importance of “having the talk of a lifetime.” She will provide us with a glimpse into a day in the life of the Peoria-area’s first comfort dog.

Dance the night away as Peoria wraps up our community reading by coming to our Baby Boomers Ball on Saturday, April 13 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Main Library in the auditorium. It will feature live music of the 60s and 70s performed by local acoustic guitar duo Random Strangers. Prom or hippie-themed attire is encouraged! Parking is free!

For additional information visit www.peoriareads.org.

NEA Big Read is a program of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest.

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