One Book, One Chicago Fall 2002
One Book, One Chicago is presented as part of Chicago’s third annual Chicago Book Festival: City of Big Readers, October 2002. Enjoy a monthlong Author Series at libraries, bookstores and other locations. Don’t miss the Marshall Field’s Children’s Stage, October 12–13, and other events for kids across the city. And join Chicago’s citywide book club, as One Book, One Chicago culminates in a week of book discussions and other activities, October 14–20. For details, visit chicagopubliclibrary.org or call (312) 747-4300.
Chicago Book Festival and One Book, One Chicago are sponsored by Marshall Field’s Project Imagine, Marshall Field’s arts-giving program. Five percent of every purchase made at Marshall Field’s contributes to the more than $2 million each week that Target Corporation gives back to its communities.
On behalf of the City of Chicago, I invite you to participate in the third One Book, One Chicago program. One Book, One Chicago encourages all our citizens to read the same book at the same time to create a citywide book club. This fall we have selected My Ántonia by American writer Willa Cather. We will discuss My Ántonia during the week of October 14–20, 2002, as a special program associated with the Chicago Book Festival.
My Ántonia is the story of Ántonia Shimerda, whose Bohemian family immigrates to Nebraska in the 1880s. It is told by Jim Burden, her childhood friend. The book describes the experiences of immigrant pioneers in America, the challenges presented by class, nationality and gender, and powerfully evokes the prairie landscape of the Midwest.
One Book, One Chicago cultivates a culture of reading and discussion by bringing our diverse city together around one great book. Reading great literature inspires us to think about ourselves, our environment and our relationships. Talking about great literature with friends, family and neighbors can add richness and depth to the experience of reading.
You can find a copy of My Ántonia at the Chicago Public Library or at your local bookstore. Whether you share your ideas with your neighbor or plan a book discussion group, I am sure you will find the experience to be enlightening and thought-provoking.
Thank you for participating in One Book, One Chicago.
Richard M. Daley, Mayor
City of Chicago
Illustrations by W.T. Benda commissioned by Willa Cather for the first edition of My Ántonia.
“If, as is often said, every novelist is born to write one thing, then the one thing that Willa Cather was born to write was first fully realized in My Ántonia. In that novel, the people are the Bohemian and Swedish immigrants she had known in her childhood on the Nebraska plains; the prose is…flexible, evocative;…the structure at once free and intricately articulated; the characters stretch into symbolic suggestiveness as naturally as trees cast shadows in the long light of a prairie evening; the theme is fully exposed, complexly understood theme of the American orphan or exile, struggling to find a place between an Old World left behind and a New World not yet created…No writer ever posed that essential aspect of the American experience more warmly, with more nostalgic lyricism, or with a surer understanding of what it means.”
—Wallace Stegner, Pulitzer Prize-winning author