The Big Read 2012

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West Hollywood Reads Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451

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The West Hollywood Library and the City of West Hollywood through its Arts & Cultural Affairs Commission presented The Big Read in April 2012, featuring a series of special events and book discussions  scheduled around Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451. The Big Read, an initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts, involves communities participating in the reading of one book as an exercise in building community and expanding literacy through the arts. You can find the list of events below.

Click here for a video of a special flash mob Fahrenheit 451 performance at the library. Look below for videos of other Big Read events (marked with an asterisk*). 

"The Big Read" Program Information [PDF]

Ray Bradbury

Ray Douglas Bradbury was born on August 22, 1920, in Waukegan, Illinois, into a family that once included a seventeenth-century Salem woman tried for witchcraft. The Bradbury family drove across the country to Los Angeles in 1934, with young Ray piling out of their jalopy at every stop to plunder the local library in search of L. Frank Baum's Oz books.

In 1936, Bradbury experienced a rite of passage familiar to most science-fiction readers: the realization that he was not alone. At a secondhand bookstore in Hollywood, he discovered a handbill promoting meetings of the "Los Angeles Science Fiction Society." Thrilled, he joined a weekly Thursday-night conclave that would grow to attract such science-fiction legends as Robert A. Heinlein, Leigh Brackett, and future Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard.

After a rejection notice from the pulp magazine Weird Tales, he sent his short story "Homecoming" to Mademoiselle. There it was spotted by a young editorial assistant named Truman Capote, who rescued the manuscript from the slush pile and helped get it published in the magazine. "Homecoming" won a place in the O. Henry prize stories of 1947.

Bradbury wrote Fahrenheit 451 on a rental typewriter in the basement of UCLA's Lawrence Clark Powell Library, where he had taken refuge from a small house filled with the distractions of two young children. Ballantine editor Stanley Kauffman, later the longtime film critic for The New Republic magazine, flew out to Los Angeles to go over the manuscript with Bradbury, plying the sweet-toothed perfectionist author with copious doses of ice cream.

The book came out to rapturous reviews. To this day it sells at lest 50,000 copies a year and has become a touchstone around the world for readers and writers living under repressive regimes.

In 2004, Bradbury received the National Medal of Arts, a presidential award administered by the National Endowment for the Arts. He accpted a citation recognizing "his gift for language, his insights into the human condition, and his commitment to the freedom of the individual."

Schedule

The Big Read events and book discussions were free and open to the public. Events with an "*" can be viewed on West Hollywood City Channel 10  at www.weho.org  and click on "Weho TV". Links are provided to the footage.

EVENTS

Saturday, March 31, 2012
10 a.m to 2 p.m.

Kickoff Event
West Hollywood Library Auto Court - 625 N. San Vicente Blvd.
The community will be introduced to The Big Read 2012 programming as part of the opening of the Friends of the West Hollywood Library Book Store. Book give-aways and surprises.

Monday, April 2, 2012
6:30 p.m.

City Council Proclaims Ray Bradbury Day*
Council Chambers at West Hollywood Park - 625 N. San Vicente Blvd.
A screening of the short film "A Conversation with Ray Bradbury" will be followed by the City Council Meeting during which Council will proclaim April 2nd as Ray Bradbury Day in the City of West Hollywood and share details of The Big Read with the community. A book give away will also be part of the evening.

You can watch the video here on WehoTV. The presentation begins at the 11.15 minute mark. The recorded presentation that took place at his home was the last time Ray Bradbury was captured on film before he passed on June 5, 2012.

 

 

Thursday, April 5, 2012
7:00-9:00 p.m.

"You Don't Stay For Nothing"
West Hollywood Library - 625 N. San Vicente Blvd.
Free poetry writing workshop led by poet Steven Reigns focusing on Bradbury's poetry and the poetic passages found in Fahrenheit 451. Expect a non-judgmental environment to write and share your poems.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012
7:00 p.m.-8:30 p.m.
The Man Behind the Masterpiece*
West Hollywood Library - 625 N. San Vicente Blvd.
Ray Bradbury’s biographer, Sam Weller will present a special lecture on Bradbury’s life and works.
Watch on WehoTV here.

Saturday, April 21, 2012
3:00 p.m.-5:00 p.m.

 

 

Dissent 451: Art and Activism Now
West Hollywood Library Council Chambers - 625 N. San Vicente Blvd.
The Center for Study of Political Graphics presents a panel discussion on art and activism and how it relates to Ray Bradbury's work including Fahrenheit 451.

Monday, April 23, 2012
4:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.

 4-5pm – Target Plaza (La Brea/Santa Monica)
6-7pm – In front of West Hollywood Library entrance
8-9pm – In front of The Roxy on Sunset

"Taking it to the Streets" on World Book Night
Various locations throughout the City (via Social Networking)
West Hollywood celebrates World Book Night, a worldwide initiative to give away a million free paperbacks to new readers! You never know where you might come in contact with a free book!

This annual event is free to both take part in and receive books from. More info here.

 

 

Wednesday, April 25, 2012
7:00 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.

Doing is Being: A Reading of Ray Bradbury’s Poetry
West Hollywood Library Community Meeting Room- 625 N. San Vicente Blvd.
In honor of National Poetry Month, Steven Reigns and other poets share selections of Ray Bradbury's poetry.

Saturday, April 28, 2012
4:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.

 

 

 

Science Fiction and the Enduring Influence of Ray Bradbury*
West Hollywood Council Chambers - 625 N. San Vicente Blvd.
Los Angeles Science Fantasy Society presents a panel discussion on Ray Bradbury and his influence on science fiction and fantasy. Watch the video on WehoTV here.

Monday, April 30, 2012
7:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.

Censorship Today and the Enduring Legacy of Fahrenheit 451*
West Hollywood Council Chambers - 625 N. San Vicente Blvd.
This closing event features LA Times Book Critic David Ulin, Adam Somers, Diane Lefer, and Leslie Schwartz discussing the current state of censorship in our society. Watch the video on WehoTV here.

 

BOOK DISCUSSIONS

Tuesday, April 3, 2012
7:00 p.m.-8:30 p.m.

Women’s Advisory Board Book Club
West Hollywood Library Community Meeting Room - 625 N. San Vicente Blvd.
The Women's Advisory Board Book Club will hold a special book discussion led by PEN Center USA Emerging Voices Fellow.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012
11:00 a.m.- 4:30 p.m.

Family Story Time
West Hollywood Library - 625 N. San Vicente Blvd.
Family Story Time in the children’s story-telling theatre.

Saturday, April 7, 2012
10:00 a.m.

 

 

 

 

Jones Coffee House
625 N. San Vicente Boulevard
A PEN Center USA Emerging Voices fellow will lead a book discussion at Jones Coffee House.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012
7:00 p.m.
West Hollywood Library
West Hollywood Library, Community Meeting Room -  625 N. San Vicente Blvd.
A PEN Center USA Emerging Voices fellow will lead a book discussion

Monday, April 16, 2012
3:00 p.m.-4:30 p.m.

 

 

Conversation Café
Plummer Park - 7377 Santa Monica Blvd.
The Russian Advisory Board will lead a Russian/English book discussion group at Plummer Park. The group will include both native Russian and native English speakers and the discussion will be in English.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012
7:00 p.m. - 8:30 p.m. 

 

West Hollywood Library
West Hollywood Library Community Meeting Room - 625 N. San Vicente Blvd.
PEN Center USA Emerging Voices fellow will lead a thematic book discussion.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012
3:30 p.m.-4:00 p.m.

Family Story Time
West Hollywood Library - 625 N. San Vicente Blvd.
Family Story Time in the children’s story-telling theatre.

Thursday, April 19, 2012
3:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.

 

Russian Literature Club
7377 Santa Monica Blvd.
The Russian Literature Club will discuss Fahrenheit 451 in Russian.

Thursday, April 26, 2012
7:00 p.m.-830 p.m.

West Hollywood Library
West Hollywood Library Community Meeting Room - 625 N. San Vicente Blvd.
A PEN Center USA Emerging Voices fellow will lead a thematic book discussion.

 

Interested in learning more about Ray Bradbury?

Check the West Hollywood Library catalog for works about and by Ray Bradbury.

Other Works about Bradbury and Fahrenheit 451

  • Aggelis, Steven L., ed. Conversations with Ray Bradbury. Jackson, MS: University Press of Mississippi, 2004
  • West, Jerry. Bradbury: An Illustrated Life; A Journey to Far Metaphor. New York: William Morrow, 2002.
  • Weller, Sam. The Bradbury Chronicles: The Life of Ray Bradbury. New York: William Morrow, 2005.

Selected Works by Ray Bradbury

  • Dark Carnival, 1947
  • The Martian Chronicles, 1950
  • The Illustrated Man, 1951
  • The Golden Apples of the Sun, 1953
  • Dandelion Wine, 1957
  • Something Wicked This Way Comes, 1962
  • I Sing the Body Electric!, 1969
  • Death is a Lonely Business, 1985
  • Ray Bradbury Collected Short Stories, 2001
  • The Cat's Pajamas: New Stories, 2004

 

              

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The Big Read is an initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest. For more information viisit www.neabigread.org