Some Like It Hard-boiled

A few weeks ago my mother-in-law sent me a copy of the newsletter from the library where she works (The Urbana Free Library in Urbana, IL).  In it there was an article about the library’s recent Big Read event, with information about a series of programs which I’d like to share with Book Group Buzz readers, since it may provide some ideas for book and film discussions in other parts of the country.

The CU Big Read 2009, as it was called, was hosted by the Champaign Public Library and The Urbana Free Library from March 28 to April 30.  Library users were urged to read and talk about the iconic detective novel, The Maltese Falcon, by Dashiell Hammett, and then attend a pair of film showings introduced by P. Gregory Springer, a local critic and columnist.

The films were Murder, My Sweet, the 1944 adaptation of Raymond Chandler’s novel, Farewell, My Lovely, and Gun Crazy, a 1950 flick based on a short story by MacKinley Kantor.  Later in the month, a keynote address by Professor Pat Gill from the University of Illinois was held.  This talk, titled Film Noir: Dangerous Men and Deadly Dames, looked at the film noir genre in general as well as the film adaptation of The Maltese Falcon.

The Big Read wrapped up with a concert by the acclaimed local group, the Boneyard Jazz Quintet, which entertained attendees with tunes from the era of The Maltese Falcon.

The Maltese Falcon has long had a following among both lovers of detective novels and film noir aficiandos.  If you enjoy this particular genre and have been thinking about mixing reading and discussion with films and/or music, this could be the right recipe for your next event!



About the Author:

Ted Balcom lives in Arlington Heights, IL and conducts workshops on leading book discussions, about which he has also published a book: Book Discussions for Adults: A Leader’s Guide (American Library Association, 1992).

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