The reading world |

The reading world

Photo for The Union by John Hart
John Hart | The Union

For those interested in a good read, community involvement, and possible prizes, the annual Nevada County Reads and Writes! program is taking place for the ninth year.

“We really tried to put a lot of energy in producing programming exciting for people to attend and want to partake in,” said Jessica Hudson, Nevada County librarian.

The book chosen for this year’s program is “Marcelo in the Real World” by Francisco X. Stork, and multiple events will be offered around the book.

A free movie series showing at the Madelyn Helling Library at 7 p.m. will be taking place and involve “Autism: The Musical” Feb. 15, “Rain Man” Feb. 15 and “Temple Grandin” Feb. 22.

Truckee is also involved in the program for the first time with a poetry slam scheduled at the Truckee library 7 p.m. March 15.

“We try and do something about coming of age and include major themes of the novel,” Hudson said. “This year we are incorporating Truckee for the first time, and they’re going to be inviting members of the public, adults and young adults, around coming of age.”

The book’s author will also be visiting Bear River and Nevada Union high schools, as well as Off Center Stage, March 8.

“The author lives out on the East Coast, and he is going to come out and visit,” Hudson said. “He is a very nice man and is so excited that we chose his book for our community read. It’s the first time his book had been chosen, and he is ready to come out and see all these people who had read and connected with his work.”

A writing competition will also take place in which the top three responses to the book will be awarded a $200, $100 and $75 prize, respectively.

Submissions are accepted through Feb. 28 and information and contest guidelines can be found at

The events are free, but donations are accepted to fund the program in future years.

“We hope people will donate some money for the project for the future,” said Stan Miller, associate superintendent of educational services.

The contest started when teachers and Miller started a teachers book club and decided to try to encourage people to read more.

“We heard of other communities that had a town read, so we decided to institute that in conjunction with the library,” Miller said. “We discovered at that time 83 percent of people do not read a single book in a year, which is an old statistic but frightening, and it made us realize we want to encourage reading.”

The event was founded by the Nevada County Library and the Nevada County Superintendent of Schools, and other sponsors help support the event as well.

The book is chosen by board members consisting of schools, teachers, interested members of the public, library staff members, people who want to be involved and students.

“Our concerns were that we pick a book that’s intergenerational so that children and adults and senior citizens could read and enjoy it,” Miller said.

“Marcelo and the Real World” involves a character with autism who is thrust into the real world by working at his father’s law firm and his conflicts with his co-worker, contributing to the theme of anti-bullying.

“Since there’s a huge initiative with the Safe Schools, Healthy Students grant about anti-bullying, we thought this book would be appropriate because the young man in the book is mentally bullied in the office,” Miller said.

The program intends to encourage reading and foster discussion within the community, Miller said.

“We don’t have any hard data as to whether more people read because of this,” Miller said. “But at least we’re putting it into public awareness that people in this county do read books for enjoyment and get meaning and inspiration in this world and we are hoping there will be discussion.”

To contact Staff Writer Jennifer Terman, email or call 530-477-4230.

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