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Peorians have already begun reading the 2019 Peoria Reads! NEA Big Read selection Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant? by Roz Chast and planning for a series of events in February and March.
In January, the Peoria City Council will proclaim Peoria Reads! season and attendees of the Osher Life Long Learning Institute at Bradley University will discuss the book. A musical kickoff will take place on February 24, with a series of events and discussions scheduled throughout March. All will focus on themes found in the book, which is a graphic novel. Reading a graphic novel will be a new experience for some, but the author is Roz Chast, a long-time cartoonist for the New Yorker, so readers will find her work familiar.
Discussions of aging and death are not popular with Americans, but Chast’s memoir provides an excellent platform for discussing these themes. The book tells the story of Chast’s parents’ final years through cartoons, family photos, found documents and narrative prose. Peoria Reads! chose this book as so many in the community have elderly family members who need assistance. Younger generations are dealing with conflicting emotions, memories and the many practical challenges of the last days and passing of older family members. Told with humor and pathos, Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant is a book that will launch discussion and entertain while it offers comfort.
Copies of the book are available at Peoria Public Library. For more information on how to have your group participate by holding a discussion or other activity call (309) 497-2186. Watch for details on public programs and mark your calendar.
NEA Big Read is a program of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest.
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