01/22/06 — Wayne gets ready to read

View Archive

Wayne gets ready to read

By News-Argus Staff
Published in News on January 22, 2006 2:06 AM

Wayne County residents who haven't yet gotten their copy of "Night" by Elie Wiesel should rush the nearest bookstore. Oprah's Book Club fans just might clean out the stacks.

The annual Wayne County Reads program will kick off its 2006 season this week, just on the heels of the announcement that television host Oprah Winfrey has chosen the same book for her next club selection.

The timing of the announcement should benefit Wayne County Reads, which had already chosen "Night," said Jane Rustin, director of the Wayne County Public Library System.

"Now when people read the book, they'll be able to talk about it not only with their neighbors but with friends and relatives across the country," she said. "It's really exciting."

Wayne County's celebration of reading will open with a free reception and presentation Friday at the Wayne County Museum.

The reception featuring traditional Jewish refreshments will begin at 6 p.m. The presentation about "Night" and its place in Holocaust literature will follow at 6:45 and conclude by 8 p.m.

Dr. Steve Gowler, an associate professor at Berea College in Kentucky, will be the featured speaker for the event. He teaches about the Holocaust and leads a travel course to camps in Europe.

An exhibition on Wayne County's Jewish heritage will be unveiled the same evening at the Wayne County Museum and will remain on display until the end of March.

The book selected for this year's Wayne County Reads program, "Night," is Wiesel's autobiographical account of his family's forced relocation and imprisonment during World War II. Wiesel has been an outspoken advocate for oppressed people around the world and received the Nobel Prize for Peace in 1986.

Selection of the book was prompted by the commemoration in 2005 of the 60th anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi death camps and the recent death of camp survivor and Nazi-hunter Simon Wiesenthal.

Wayne County Public Libraries has copies of "Night" and related books available for checkout at all of its branches. People who want to buy their own copies may do so at the bookstores at Wayne Community College, Mount Olive College and Books-A-Million in Goldsboro.

"Oprah" will feature "Night" in February.

Ms. Winfrey will travel with Wiesel to Auschwitz to tape segments to be shown on the show. She is also sponsoring a national high school essay contest.

The show's Web site www.oprah.com includes many "Night" resources, including an interactive map of places mentioned in the book, a profile of Wiesel and a teacher's guide to the book. Readers can also submit questions to Wiesel.

Ms. Winfrey said during her show last week unveiling the book that it is an important one for everyone to read.

"Like Dr. King, I have a dream of my own, too, that the powerful message of this little book would be engraved on every human heart and will never be forgotten again," she said. "These 120 pages should be required reading for all humanity."

Wayne County Reads is a countywide reading project organized by the library system, Wayne Community College, Mount Olive College, Wayne County Public Schools, Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, the Arts Council of Wayne County, the Foundation of Wayne Community College, Friends of Wayne County Public Library and other community partners.

This is the project's third year. Previous selections were "To Kill A Mockingbird" in 2004 and "Big Fish" in 2005.