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Forsyth reads To Kill a Mockingbird
Annual effort begins today
Harper Lee's "To Kill a Mockingbird" is this year's Forsyth Reads Together selection. - photo by Submitted

Forsyth Reads Together events this week:

• The movie “To Kill a Mockingbird” will be shown at 2 this afternoon in the Cumming Library.

• The traditional book discussion is set for 6:30 p.m. Monday at the Sharon Forks Library.

• The dramatic readings and discussion are scheduled for 6:15 p.m. Thursday at the Cumming Library.
For Angie Rigney, “To Kill a Mockingbird” is a family favorite.

She first read the book in an eighth-grade humanities class with the boy who would become her husband.

The book has gotten some wear in the Rigney household, where mother, father and son have read and enjoyed the classic tale.

“That [book] stretches across generations,” she said. “It really gets families talking.”

When hearing that the novel had been selected for Forsyth Reads Together, Rigney and her 19-year-old son reread it.

Now in its third year, Forsyth Reads Together is a community adult reading program offered through the county library system.

Vanessa Cowie, library programming coordinator, said the event promotes adult literacy and provides a group for adults, since the library usually focuses on children’s programming.

“It’s an invitation for the whole community to immerse themselves in one particular work of fiction so that they can be considering the same kind of questions, situations and issues that come up at more or less the same time,” Cowie said.

Each year, library staff members select one book and set up events for discussion.

Set during the Great Depression, the Pulitzer Prize-winning “To Kill a Mockingbird” follows the lives of the Finch family, exploring race relations and justice in the South.

Harper Lee’s classic celebrates its 50th anniversary this year, which Cowie said was a big factor in its selection for the reading program.

“I think primarily the reason that all of us here at the library who were discussing possibilities thought that not only is it a fabulous book, but it’s also wonderful timing since it’s the golden anniversary,” she said.

Reads Together events kick off today with the 1962 movie of the book and popcorn at the Cumming Library.

Tanya Long Bennett, head of the English department at North Georgia College & State University, will provide commentary.

A traditional book discussion will take place Monday at the Sharon Forks Library.

The program will wrap up Thursday with actors doing dramatic readings and Colleen Green of Off Broadway Productions discussing how to translate the book to a play, which will be presented in October at the Cumming Playhouse.

While organizers want residents to read together, people don’t have to read “To Kill a Mockingbird” to attend the programs, Cowie said.

Still, Rigney took the opportunity to read the novel for a third time.

As a child in Doraville, she said it was one of her “first eye-opening experiences in human relations.” The diverse makeup of her class made the book discussions hit home.

“Of course, I had been taught in history classes of the civil rights struggle and its painfully inherent violence,” Rigney said. “But it was brought more sharply and shockingly into focus by this book.

“The book was comfortable, yet shocking and haunting.”