Fort Bend County Libraries invites the public to join in the “Gulf Coast Reads” reading program, a community-wide reading project encouraging communities to read and discuss a particular book together in October. The 2017 selection for “Gulf Coast Reads” is News of the World, written by Paulette Jiles.
Set in post-Civil War Texas, News of the World is a historical-fiction novel about a 70-year-old veteran of two wars, Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd, and a 10-year-old girl named Johanna who was rescued four years after being kidnapped by Kiowa warriors. Captain Kidd makes his living by traveling through northern Texas, giving live readings from newspapers to paying audiences hungry for news of the world.
In Wichita Falls, he is offered a $50 gold piece to deliver Johanna to her relatives in San Antonio. After living with the Kiowa since the age of six, Johanna has forgotten the English language, tries to escape at every opportunity, throws away her shoes, and rejects any attempt to “civilize” her. The 400-mile journey south leads them through dangerous territory and unforgiving terrain. Yet as the miles pass, the two lonely survivors tentatively begin to trust each other, forming a bond that marks the difference between life and death in this treacherous land.
The reunion between Johanna and her relatives in San Antonio is neither happy nor welcome. The captain must hand Johanna over to an aunt and uncle she does not remember and who consider her an unwanted burden. He is faced with a terrible choice: abandon Johanna to her fate, or become – in the eyes of the law – a kidnapper himself.
Book discussions on News of the World will take place at different locations throughout the library system on various dates and times throughout the month of October. A re-enactment of Captain Kidd’s reading authentic news of the 1870s to townspeople will take place at George Memorial Library in Richmond on October 26, beginning at 7:00 pm.
The “Gulf Coast Reads” program is a collaborative reading initiative coordinated by Fort Bend County Libraries, the Harris County Public Library System, the Brazoria County Library System, the Montgomery County Memorial Library System, Houston Public Library, and other library and educational institutions, museums, and bookstores. This “one book, one community” reading event is designed to encourage reading and discussion of the same book at the same time, provoking dialogue among co-workers, friends, families, and classrooms.
For more information, call the library system’s Public Information Office at 281-633-4734.