Adams County Reads One Book has returned! Join us in January of 2006 when we read "Peace Like a River" by Leif Enger.
Friday, January 27, 2006
Newsletter #1: Hello Adams County One Book Readers!
How exciting to be sharing another wonderful book together. By now you should have read the first five chapters (“Clay” through “Peeking at Eternity”) of our book Peace Like a River . If you haven’t don’t worry there’s time to catch up! This novel contains themes of family relationships, miracles, heroes, justice and the Old West. So partners, let’s head on out for our next adventure.
It’s a Miracle
The novel opens with the story of a miracle, and it will be the first of many to come. It is 1951 and Helen Land has just given birth to her son, Reuben. But Reuben’s lungs do not function and the doctor declares him dead. Reuben’s father, Jeremiah, refuses to believe this and commands the child to breathe…and Reuben obeys.
“I believe I was preserved, through those twelve airless minutes, in order to be a witness, and as a witness, let me say that a miracle is no cute thing but more like the swing of a sword.” And so our story begins.
A Rocky Road
It is now 11 years later, and Reuben is the narrator of our tale. He lives in North Dakota in the 1960s with Jeremiah, his older brother, Davy, and younger sister, Swede. You are immediately pulled into their lives and the opening chapters can leave you reeling…bullying, parental abandonment, abduction, and then, murder. It is a good place to take a break and think through some of what you’ve read.
- Why do you think Enger tells us the hunting story?
- Do you think Jeremiah is really performing miracles?
- Why do you think the tornado experience caused Jeremiah to leave his medical studies?
- How could Helen abandon her family?
- There are two “attacks” on young girls (Dolly and Swede). If these occurred in 2006, as opposed to the early 1960s, would they be handled differently?
- Do you think Davy views his father as weak? Does Reuben?
Make of it What You Will
As Reuben tells of his father’s miracles, he often repeats “make of it what you will.” He describes what he sees and leaves the reader to decide whether we believe it happened. You don’t have to be religious to understand the nature of myths and miracles. In this book, however, these events are rooted in the characters’ Christian faith and you can readily identify the Biblical references to miracles such as the resurrection of Lazarus and the dividing of the loaves and fishes.
We will be examining that aspect of the book in one of our upcoming lectures: “Miracles, Myth, and Religion in Peace Like a River” by Gettysburg College professor Charles "Buz" Myers. The lecture will be at 7 p.m., Monday, February 13 in Joseph Theater, 201 Breidenbaugh Hall, Gettysburg College. For a complete listing of our events and book discussions, please visit www.gettysburg.edu/library/onebook/events.html or pick up a schedule at Musselman Library, any branch of the Adams County Library System or Gallery 30.
Want to learn more about miracles? Check out some of these web sites:
- Academic Study of Miracles (a site by Professor Morgan Luck at the University of Nottingham)
- Wikipedia entry on miracles. See also Wikipedia's list of miracles performed by Jesus
- Skeptic's Dictionary entry on miracles
- Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy entry on miracles Christianity
- http://mb-soft.com/believe/txo/miracle.htm - A discussion of miracles as well as a list of all miracles mentioned in the Bible.
- "Which Miracles Are Real?" - A discussion of what makes something a real miracle
Mark Your Calendars!
The following events are free and open to the public:
- Feb. 2 - New Oxford Book Discussion, 9 a.m.: The Adams County Library branch in New Oxford invites readers to join them for a discussion of Peace Like a River. No RSVP necessary. The Library is located on 122 N. Peters St.
- Feb. 3 - First Friday at Gallery 30, 5 to 7 p.m.: One Book representatives will be at Gallery 30 ( 30 York St., Gettysburg) to officially “kick off” the One Book program. We will be handing out schedules and information about the program. If you don’t have a copy of the book, you can purchase one for 30% off that night. You will also get a free book bag courtesy of the Gettysburg Times.
- Feb. 6 - Lecture: "The Western Hero in Film,"7 p.m.: Come hear Gettysburg College Professor Jim Udden discuss some film clips of the great old westerns and talk in particular about the cowboy hero forced to become an outlaw like the character of Davy Land. This is also a great chance to see the new Majestic Theater Cinema ( 25 Carlisle St.)!
Keep Reading! By Friday, February 3rd you should have read chapters 6-8: " When Sorrows Like Sea Billows Roll" through "A Boy on a Horse."
Thank you for subscribing to the Adams County Reads One Book email newsletter!
See you next week!
The One Book Collective*
*A local group of enthusiastic readers.
Sponsored by Gettysburg College and the Adams County Library System. For more information visit: http:/www.gettysburg.edu/library/onebook or call 337-6600.