Lake Oswego Reads Announces Book for 2016
The Lake Oswego Public Library has selected Shorts Nights of the Shadow Catcher: The Epic Life and Immortal Photographs of Edward Curtis by Timothy Egan for the book for the 2016 annual citywide reading program.
Edward Curtis was dashing, charismatic, a passionate mountaineer, a famous photographer, and he was thirty-two years old in 1900 when he gave it all up to pursue his great idea. He would try to capture on film the Native American nation before it disappeared, with the backing of Theodore Roosevelt and J.P. Morgan. Curtis, the charming rogue with the grade-school education, would go on to publish twenty volumes, fulfilling his promise: he made the Indians live forever.
Library Director Bill Baars said, “I’ve always loved the Edward Curtis photographs but I had no idea of the level of his struggles, sacrifices and dedication until I read Tim Egan’s book. Curtis’ work was enlightening and haunting and it remains one of the great records of those who first lived on this land. When Brian Doyle spoke during our month of programs around his book Mink River, I loved his passion about community, especially as he spoke of us, here, as Walugans, and reminded us that it is essential to remember, honor and maintain that unique sense of place, just as his characters had manifested theirs in Mink River. Developing that sense is – for me – central to our program and this book will provide a great opportunity to continue that conversation. The Lake Oswego Reads Steering Committee has and continues to do great work and they have been extremely generous with their time, input and enthusiasm. Short Nights is going to provide us with some excellent programming ideas, and I have to say that our discussions of this book have been among the most engaging we have had so far. We are excited to be sharing this with our community. It’s going to be another terrific February.”
Egan is the author of seven books including The Worst Hard Time: The Untold Story of Those Who Survived the Great American Dust Bowl, The Big Burn: Teddy Roosevelt and the Fire That Saved America, The Winemaker’s Daughter and Lasso the Wind: Away to the New West. His nonfiction account of the Dust Bowl won the 2006 National Book Award, considered one of the nation’s highest literary honors, and he was featured prominently in the 2012 Ken Burns film on the Dust Bowl. A lifelong journalist, Egan now writes an online opinion column for The New York Times. Prior to that, Egan worked as a national correspondent for the Times, roaming the West. The Library is contacting Timothy Egan about the possibility of speaking in Lake Oswego in February.
The official kickoff of Lake Oswego Reads will be Monday, January 11, 2016 at the Library, with complimentary books distributed to Lake Oswego Public Library card holders, thanks to the Friends of the Lake Oswego Public Library. The committee is presently developing a schedule of programs for February so that Lake Oswego residents can not only discuss the book but also experience the book with speakers, music, food, displays, art and more.
This will be the program’s tenth year and all events will be free due to the financial support of the Friends of the Lake Oswego Public Library, Lake Oswego Rotary Club, Lake Oswego Women’s Club and the Lake Oswego Review.
The Steering Committee for Lake Oswego Reads, consisting of librarians, community leaders, high school English teachers and high school students, selected the book. After this year’s successful selection of All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr which won the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, the committee knew it would be challenging to find a great book for 2016. After reading and discussing close to 20 books, the committee is excited and shared their thoughts about the 2016 book.
Daniella Bonanno, Lakeridge High School English Teacher said, “One of the many challenges as well as joys of selecting a community reads book is finding the most engaging work for a wide, diverse audience of readers. Egan's account of the life and photographs of Edward Curtis is that book: telling the fascinating story of this mountaineer, businessman, and photographer in his quest to document the lives of American Indians as those traditions fade nearly as quickly as Curtis documents them.”
Andrew Edwards, Lakewood Center Executive Director said, “A very informative read with me- memorable stories about the Pacific Northwest, an obsessive photographer, Indian culture and life at the turn of the century.”
Paul Graham said, “Our 10th LO Reads Anniversary needs an epic tale. And now we have it! Short Nights of the Shadow Catcher by Timothy Egan starts close to home in Seattle, before taking us throughout the US. This gripping, non-fiction adventure begins humbly with an innately skilled photographer before passion changes his life. It touches on perseverance, family, presidents, men of wealth, the Indian tribes that came before them and leaves a unique legacy. As I read it, I wondered why I hadn’t encountered the amazing life of Edward Curtiss and his photographs before now!”
Lilly Logan said, “Lake Oswego Reads has a very loyal following. No matter the book, fans come for the book and enjoy the events. The hard part is finding a title that will bring in a different segment of our town to explore a book they may not have ever picked up and go on to experience more at the events. The joyful part is seeing all the new faces meeting our fans and learning something new, together. One book can pull a community together.”
Rhys Richmond, Lake Oswego High School student said, "I believe Short Nights is a great choice for the LO Reads Program due to the unique perspective of Timothy Curtis on Native American life. Curtis' life experiences and adventures make for an enthralling historical biography."
Joann Geddes, Lewis & Clark College Faculty member said, “The L. O. Reads selection process is in and of itself a truly collaborative community-building process and reflects what we hope will take place when readers come together to read and discuss our next book. Shorts Nights of the Shadow Catcher: The Epic Life and Immortal Photographs of Edward Curtis by Timothy Egan promises great opportunities to learn more about Native Americans, the photography of Curtis and the work of a Northwest author.”
Nancy Niland, President of the Friends of the Library & Chair of the Library Advisory Board said, “I feel thrilled that we selected this book! I am already looking forward to the engaging conversations and programs we’ll enjoy as a community for our 10th year of Lake Oswego Reads.”
Cyndie Glazer, Lake Oswego Library Program Coordinator said, “The hard part is finished. Now the fun part begins of finding displays and 30 events that will tie into the book. We really appreciate the suggestions that our community will come forward and share. We look forward to hearing from you!”