This year’s “Readeasy” event does not prohibit reading!

Young Auditorium’s “Readeasy” will feature the classic novel The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. The goal of our Readeasy is to provide opportunity for the UW-Whitewater campus and community at large to participate in activities and engage in discussion related to a common read. In this case, Fitzgerald’s Gatsby will be our inspiration for a variety of events ranging from book club discussions to 1920’s dance workshops, and culminating with Montana Repertory Theatre’s performance of The Great Gatsby at Young Auditorium on March 18, 2015.

Why Gatsby?  Fitzgerald’s novel is arguably the most popular classic in modern American fiction. Published in 1925, this masterpiece captures the grandeur and opulence of the Roaring 20’s and juxtaposes that with challenges of the human condition. The story of Jay Gatsby touches on universal themes such as desire, unrequited love, the importance of honesty, the temptation of wealth, and the struggle to escape the past. It is perhaps because these themes speak to us on a very basic level of human understanding that this novel has become a hallmark for generations of readers and writers.

Why “Readeasy?” Readeasy is a play on the term “speakeasy.” The sale, manufacture and transportation of alcoholic beverages was illegal in the United States during the Prohibition Era (1920-1933). A speakeasy was an establishment that illegally sold alcoholic beverages. There are numerous references to Prohibition, speakeasy establishments, and bootlegging in Fitzgerald’s Gatsby. This year, Young Auditorium is taking the initiative to independently program a common read, so we thought this name fitting.

Readeasy will feature a variety of events for all age ranges. We hope to see you at one (or more) of them!

Please stay tuned for more updates on Readeasy events taking place this spring.

Join author Sam Weller for lunch!

Friday, Oct. 25, 12-2pm (doors open at 11:30am) AAUW Luncheon at Elkhorn Community Center (101 N. Wisconsin St.) with special guest Sam Weller - Weller will speak about his book The Bradbury Chronicles.  All proceeds from this event will benefit the American Association of University Women Geneva Lakes Chapter scholarship fund.  Tickets are $15 and include a lunch buffet.  Please RSVP at (262)245-9268 or email rohr49@yahoo.com. 

Big Read Kickoff – A Huge Success!

The Big Read Kickoff was held this year at Busy Barns Farm in Fort Atkinson, WI. The event took place on Saturday, September 21st and ran from 11:00 am – 2:00 pm.  Our featured book was, of course, “Fahrenheit 451″ by Ray Bradbury. We were able to give away many free books and t-shirts to those who joined us for this fun-filled day. Since Guy Montag, the main character in F451, is a firefighter we had the Fort Atkinson Fire Department join us at the Kickoff. The firefighters let the kids try on a fireman’s uniform and even take a peek inside a real fire truck! Another feature of the Kickoff was celebrating our right to read with a display about “Banned Books.” This interactive display showcased classic novels and children’s books that have been banned or challenged in schools and libraries over the years and helped educate our visitors about the importance of exercising and celebrating our right to read! Overall, the Big Read Kickoff was a HUGE success and we look forward to our other upcoming Big Read events!

Guests and visitors checking out a real fire truck!

Guests and visitors checking out a real fire truck!

Banned Books displays at Busy Barns Farm.

Banned Books Interactive Display Banned Books displays at Busy Barns Farm.

Guests received free t-shirts.
Guests received free t-shirts.

Children created fireman paper bag puppets.

Children enjoyed making crafts and other projects at the craft table.

Children enjoyed making crafts and other projects at the craft table.Craft Table

Busy Barns Farm where the Kickoff was held.
Busy Barns Farm where the Kickoff was held.
Children could get tattoos and bracelets that said "I Love to Read"

Kids could get tattoos and bracelets that said “I Love to Read”

Some friendly kittens at the farm helped us draw in the crowds for the Kickoff.
Some friendly kittens at the farm helped us draw in the crowds for the Kickoff.

Our many guests and volunteers helped make this year's kickoff a great success!

Our many guests and volunteers helped make this year’s kickoff a great success!

Children were able to draw or write on our "world without books" mural, and then receive a free reading bag or book.

Children were able to draw or write on our “world without books” mural, and then receive a free reading bag and book.

Upcoming Events!

Check your local participating library for an upcoming Fahrenheit 451 book discussion!

Thursday, Oct. 24 at 3:30pm – Sam Weller speaks at Beloit Public Library (FREE event)

Sam Weller Keynote – Be sure to join us for a FREE event on Thursday, October 24, 6pm at Janesville Performing Arts Center!  Sam Weller is the authorized biographer of Ray Bradbury. His book The Bradbury Chronicles: The Life of Ray Bradbury was a Los Angeles Times best seller and winner of the 2005 Society of Midland Authors Award for Best Biography. The companion book, Listen to the Echoes: The Ray Bradbury Interviews, was published by Melville House/Stop Smiling Books in 2010. With Mort Castle, Weller co-edited the anthology Shadow Show: All-New Stories in Celebration of Ray Bradbury (William Morrow Paperbacks, July 2012), winner of the Bram Stoker Award for Superior Achievement in an Anthology. Weller is the former Midwest Correspondent for Publishers Weekly magazine. He has written for the Paris Review, the National Public Radio Program All Things Considered, and Slate magazine. His short fiction has appeared in numerous books and journals. Weller is a frequent lecturer on the life and legacy of Ray Bradbury. He has given over 250 talks around the world. He is currently working on a novel in the magical Bradbury tradition. Sam is an associate professor in the Creative Writing Department at Columbia College Chicago.

Friday, Oct. 25, 12-2pm (doors open at 11:30am) AAUW Luncheon at Elkhorn Community Center with special guest Sam Weller – Weller will speak about his book The Bradbury Chronicles.  All proceeds from this event will benefit the American Association of University Women Geneva Lakes Chapter scholarship fund.  Tickets are $15 and include a lunch buffet.  Please RSVP at (262)245-9268 or email rohr49@yahoo.com.

Fri. Oct. 25, 5pm – Sam Weller speaks at Eager Free Library in Evansville (FREE event)

Visit the calendar page for details about these and other special events that will be held in the upcoming weeks!

Welcome to Young Auditorium’s Big Read Blog

We are all fired up for our 6th Big Read: Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 – Spark Reading! Please click on the page tabs above for current information about events, resources, participating libraries, etc.  We will be adding new information to this site as it becomes available over the summer.  Visit frequently for information about special events, participating libraries and free books and materials!

The Big Read Kick-Off is Only One Week Away!  Join us on Sat. Sept. 21, 11am – 2pm, at Busy Barns Adventure Farm in Fort Atkinson (just off Hwy 12 between Fort and Cambridge).  We’ll be giving away books, t-shirts and more!  Story time is scheduled for 11:30am, and you can drop in any time during the event to make a Lego fire engine, view our interactive banned books display, enter a raffle to win free tickets to F451 on stage, and pick up free resources.  Enjoy the farm activities while you’re there, and bring home some pumpkins, gourds and mums!  Admission to the farm is $8 per person (under age 1 is free).  We hope to see you there!

The Big Read T-Shirts for “Fahrenheit 451 – Spark Reading!” are in!  We will be giving away over 100 T-shirts during the course of The Big Read.  Attend an event for your opportunity to wear the flame!

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