Cowboys up for reading series

OKLAHOMA CITY — The Let’s Talk About It, Oklahoma book discussion series continues at Oklahoma City University with Jack Schaefer’s Western classic, “Shane,” at 7 p.m. Feb. 1. The discussion will be held in Walker Center room 151 near Florida Avenue and N.W. 26th Street.

The literary world considers “Shane” to be the quintessential American vision of the Old West with a nostalgia that continues to reverberate in modern times. The 1949 novel brings to mind the setting of an isolated farm against a vast plain, a sagebrush-strewn main street and the swinging doors of a saloon in its tale about a rough-and-tumble cowboy drifter.

The reading series theme is titled “What America Reads: Myth Making in Popular Fiction.” The myth-making theme explores why readers respond so powerfully to certain novels that they become bestsellers.

“Perhaps their mass appeal comes from the combination of mythic characters and realistic, historically identifiable settings,” said Harbour Winn, director of OCU’s Center for Interpersonal Study through Film and Literature. “Characters like Scarlett O’Hara and Huckleberry Finn have a timeless cultural attraction and seem to be as popular now as when they were created. The settings of these novels also recall kernel events in our national psyche, from the Civil War to the American West.”

Humanities scholars make half-hour presentations to open each session. Small group discussions follow before the groups reunite for closing remarks.

Participants are encouraged to pre-register and read the selected literature before its discussion session. They may borrow the reading selections at the OCU Dulaney-Brown Library room 211 or 207. The library is west of the Walker Center.

For more information call Winn at (405) 208-5472 or e-mail hwinn@okcu.edu. Information is also available at the website www.okcu.edu/film-lit/.

Other books and dates in the series are James Jones’ “From Here to Eternity” Feb. 15 and John D. MacDonald’s “A Tan and Sandy Silence” March 1.

Books, services and other materials for this series are provided by Let’s Talk About It, Oklahoma, a project of the Oklahoma Humanities Council with funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Funding for this series was provided by a grant from the Inasmuch Foundation.

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