The Treasure Valley's community reading project, an annual fixture since 2001, has a much broader approach this year. Instead of urging community members to read one particular title, the group picked more than 40.
It's a one-time variance from the usual model, timed to coincide with sesquicentennial celebrations in Boise and Idaho.
"We could not miss this opportunity to tie in with the history," said project coordinator Mary DeWalt, director of the Ada Community Libraries. "And when the committee started looking for a book to feature, we realized there's no way we could find title to encompass 150 years of Boise and Idaho Territory."
The titles chosen stretch from Anna Pike Greenwood's 1936 autobiography, "We Sagebrush Folks," to "Poetic Justice," the 2012 memoir of former Idaho Supreme Court Justice Byron Johnson. In between are Idaho-steeped novels, more memoirs and histories tracing Boise's early days and pivotal early figures. Two of the titles examine events that thrust the Treasure Valley into the national news: "Big Trouble," about the 1907 trial of union boss Big Bill Haywood in connection with the Caldwell assassination of Gov. Frank Steunenberg, and a chronicling of a mid-1950s homosexuality scandal, "The Boys of Boise: Furor, Vice and Folly in an American City."
Read Me Treasure Valley kicked off last month and continues through March with an array of events, including several presentations by authors of books featured on the reading list. Spokane resident Chris Crutcher, whose "King of the Mild Frontier" recounts his childhood in Cascade, will speak at the Egyptian on Friday night. And former Statesman columnist Tim Woodward, author of "Destination: Idaho," will discuss his impressions of his Boise hometown and other topics as part of a free showing Wednesday of "Idaho: The Movie," which Woodward narrated.
Also this month, area residents can learn the basics of capturing their own oral histories, listen to Basque music and a discussion of Basques in Idaho, and hear about the state's ethnic diversity.
Later this year, probably in late summer, the Read Me committee will choose a project for the 2014 reading project. The focus will again be on one book, DeWalt said, and Idahoans will be asked to help select that title. Read Me Treasure Valley partners include the Ada Community Libraries, Boise Public Library, Idaho Statesman, The Cabin and Boise State University.
Kristin Rodine: 377-6447