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Reading Series Celebrates Classic Heroes

The Let’s Talk About It, Oklahoma book discussion series returns to Oklahoma City University with the theme titled “What America Reads: Myth Making in Popular Fiction.” The series begins at 7 p.m. Jan. 18 with Margaret Mitchell’sGone with the Wind” in Walker Center room 151 near Florida Avenue and N.W. 26th Street.

The myth-making theme explores why readers respond so powerfully to certain novels that they become bestsellers.

“Perhaps their mass appeal comes from the combination of mythic characters and realistic, historically identifiable settings,” said Harbour Winn, director of OCU’s Center for Interpersonal Study through Film and Literature. “Characters like Scarlett O’Hara and Huckleberry Finn have a timeless cultural attraction and seem to be as popular now as when they were created. The settings of these novels also recall kernel events in our national psyche, from the Civil War to the American West. 

The opening book in the series, “Gone with the Wind,” reigns as one of the most enduring best sellers of all time. This epic narrative represents many things to many readers about the antebellum South, the Civil War, Reconstruction and the role of women in southern society. It became a blockbuster movie in 1936.

Humanities scholars make half-hour presentations at the beginning of each Let’s Talk About It, Oklahoma session. Small group discussions follow before the groups reunite for closing remarks.

Participants are encouraged to pre-register and read the selected literature before its discussion session. They may borrow the reading selections at the OCU Dulaney-Brown Library room 211 or 207. The library is west of the Walker Center.

For more information call Winn at (405) 208-5472 or e-mail hwinn@okcu.edu. Information is also available at the website www.okcu.edu/film-lit/.

Other books and dates in the series are Jack Schaefer’s “Shane” Feb. 1, James Jones’ “From Here to Eternity” Feb. 15 and John D. MacDonald’s “A Tan and Sandy Silence” March 1.

Books, services and other materials for this series are provided by Let's Talk About It, Oklahoma, a project of the Oklahoma Humanities Council with funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Funding for this series was provided by a grant from the Inasmuch Foundation.