Mayor Richard M. Daley announced today that Chicago-born Raymond Chandler's novel, "The Long Goodbye," will be the 14th selection for Chicago's citywide book club, One Book, One Chicago.
"One Book, One Chicago has been a great success and has come to be viewed as the national model for creating similar programs. We look at it as a way to bring people together in all our neighborhoods and to foster the kind of communication that can only help make Chicago a better place to live," Daley said in remarks at the Budlong Woods branch Library, 5630 N. Lincoln Ave.
"We hope Chicagoans will enjoy this American classic about a fast talking, hard nosed private detective who finds himself caught in a complex story filled with characters who are trapped between the life they have, and the life they want," said Chicago Public Library Commissioner Mary A. Dempsey.
Raymond Chandler is widely accepted as a master stylist who transformed 20th century detective fiction. "The Long Goodbye", a crime drama that allows readers a glimpse into life in the affluent mansions and gritty streets of Los Angeles during the age of classic crime fiction features Chandler's great creation, the private detective Phillip Marlowe. Marlowe finds himself in constant conflict with both law enforcement and criminal elements while following his own code of honor and trying to solve a case.
Throughout its 135 year history, the Chicago Public Library has always encouraged Chicagoans of all ages to make reading a priority. One Book, One Chicago began in the fall of 2001, to encourage all Chicagoans to read the same book at the same time, and discuss a great piece of literature with friends and neighbors.
Chicago Public Library librarians have created resource guides and will conduct book discussions across the city. Thousands of Chicagoans are expected to participate in book discussion groups, lectures, dramatic readings and cultural events.
Mayor Daley also announced the results of a comprehensive study on the Chicago Public Library's 2007 Summer Reading Program. Nearly 2,000 Summer Reading Program participants and their parents were surveyed about their level of interest and satisfaction with the Summer Reading Program. The results indicate the Chicago Public Library program is steadily growing, highly valued by the community, and both children and parents feel strongly that participation improves reading skills and overall academic performance.
The 2007 Summer Reading Program, City of Big Readers, set new records for the 30 year old initiative, with 44,560 children reading 1,017,978 books. The survey indicates that 95 per cent of parents say they will enroll their child in the 2008 Summer Reading Program. Participants read an average of 23 books, an increase from an average of 20 in 2006.
"Chicago's place in the global economy and the quality of life in our city will be determined in large part by our children's ability to read with comprehension. One Book, One Chicago reminds us we can't just tell young people reading is important -- adults have to set the example," Daley said.
"When I became Mayor, most of our libraries were housed in small, rented storefronts with poor book collections and no technology. Hours of operation were short.
"But thanks to the efforts of many people working together, we have been able to create rich book collections in all 79 libraries, hire and train professional staff for all libraries, add state of the art technology to all libraries and build and open 52 new libraries since 1989."
"The Chicago Public Library has become a model for library systems across the country, because we've shown how building a library can make our neighborhoods stronger and improve the quality of life for all our residents," the Mayor said.
Daley outlined 4 simple ways everyone can make Chicago a city of readers and demonstrate that reading is a priority:
One Book, One Chicago can be experienced in virtually every Chicago neighborhood throughout April. This includes book discussions, film screenings, lectures, and panel discussions.
The Outfit Collective, a group of prestigious Chicago area crime fiction authors including: Sean Chercover, Libby Hellmann, Sara Paretsky, Marcus Sakey, Kevin Guilfoile, Barbara D'Amato, and Michael Allen Dymmoch, will take part in an online dialogue about The Long Goodbye and Raymond Chandler's influence on the crime genre at their blog (http://theoutfitcollective.blogspot.com). Teens will have the opportunity to interact with The Outfit Collective through a One Book, One Chicago workshop on crime writing, led by acclaimed authors Kevin Guillfoile and Marcus Sakey.
The Music Box Theatre will be celebrating Raymond Chandler's work with a weekend matinee series in throughout the month of April. Chicagoans will have the opportunity to see classic crime noir films on the big screen, with screenplays written by Chandler or based on his novels, such as: The Big Sleep, starring Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall; The Long Goodbye, directed by Robert Altman; Murder, My Sweet, based on the novel Farewell, My Lovely and The Blue Dahlia.
DePaul University will once again offer a ten-week, graduate level course beginning Wednesday, April 2. For more information, including course tuition, visit the Master of Arts in Liberal Studies Program Web site at www.depaul.edu/~oboc or call 773.325.7839.
Additionally, Harold Washington College and Shimer College, located on the campus of the Illinois Institute of Technology, will hold various public programs inspired by The Long Goodbye and a series of book discussions. One Book, One Chicago discussions will also take place at select Barnes and Noble locations, Gerber/Hart Library, Wright College and Loyola University.
Nearly 2,000 copies of "The Long Goodbye" and dozens of DVDs are available at Chicago Public Library locations. At 6 Chicago Public Library branches, patrons can check out a Book Club in a Bag which contains 8 copies of the novel and resource guides.
Previous One Book, One Chicago selections have been "To Kill a Mockingbird" by Harper Lee, "Night" by Elie Wiesel, "My Antonia" by Willa Cather, "A Raisin in the Sun" by Lorraine Hansberry, "The Things They Carried" by Tim O'Brien, "The Coast of Chicago" by Stuart Dybek, "In the Time of the Butterflies" by Julia Alvarez, "The Ox-Bow Incident" by Walter Van Tilburg Clark, "Pride and Prejudice" by Jane Austen, "One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich" by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, "Interpreter of Maladies" by Jhumpa Lahiri, "Go Tell It on the Mountain" by James Baldwin and "The Crucible" by Arthur Miller.
One Book, One Chicago programs are open to the public and free of charge. For an up-to-date schedule of events, visit www.chicagopubliclibrary.org or call 312.747.8191.
Now celebrating its 135th year, the Chicago Public Library continues to encourage lifelong learning by welcoming all people and offering equal access to information, entertainment and knowledge through materials, programs and cutting-edge technology.
The Chicago Public Library is comprised of the Harold Washington Library Center, two regional libraries and 76 neighborhood branches. All locations provide free access to a rich collection of books, DVDs, audio books and music; the Internet and WiFi; sophisticated research databases, many of which can be accessed from a home or office computer; newspapers and magazines; and continue to serve as cultural centers, presenting the highest quality author discussions, exhibits and programs for children, teens and adults.
The Harold Washington Library Center, Carter G. Woodson Regional Library and Conrad Sulzer Regional Library are open 7 days a week, the remaining 76 branch libraries are open 6 days a week and patrons can access all of the libraries' collections online 24 hours a day. For more information, please visit the website at chicagopubliclibrary.org or call the Chicago Public Library Press Office at 312.747.4050.