Wyoming County commissioners (seated, from left) Tom Henry, Rick Wilbur, and Ernie King signed a proclamation at their Jan. 14 meeting to kick off the’Wyoming County Reads’ program, an annual collaboration between the Tunkhannock Public Library and the Wyoming County Cultural Center, represented by (standing, from left) Kristin Smith-Gary, Bill Chapla, and Erica Rogler.
Photo and story by Rick Hiduk
The Wyoming County Commissioners were visited during their first meeting of the year by representatives from the Tunkhannock Public Library and the Wyoming County Cultural Center to kick off the annual ‘Wyoming County Reads’ initiative.
Participants will begin by reading two books by Ian McEwan – “Atonement” and “On Chesil Beach.” Next, they take in free screenings of the film versions of the two stories at the Dietrich Theater. Finally, they partake in discussions at the library comparing the print and movie versions.
This marks the 16th year for the program, according to Erica Rogler, executive director of the Wyoming County Cultural Center. And this year, she noted, discussion facilitator Bill Chapla selected the books and the accompany films.
McEwan is an English novelist and screenwriter, who is nothing short of a cultural icon in his native land. His greatest period of mainstream success ran from 1988 to 2007. At least four of his novels were adapted into films, including the aforementioned books.
“Atonement” touches on three time periods in English history, starting in 1935, segueing into World War II, then wrapping up in modern day (2001) England as its characters deal with making mistakes, reflection, and eventually atonement. The 2007 film of the same name starred Vanessa Redgrave among others and won and Oscar.
McEwan’s book “On Chesil Beach” was released in 2007 and follows the lives a married couple from vastly different backgrounds, starting with their honeymoon on the Dorset coast. McEwan also wrote the screenplay for the 2017 film of the same name, which was directed by Dominic Cooke. Ironically, McEwan was charged a small fine for admitting that he kept several pebbles from the real Chesil Beach on his desk while writing, which is against Britain’s conservation laws.
“It’s really awesome to read a book and then see the film version of the same book,” Chapla remarked at the commissioners meeting.
The Tunkhannock Public Library at 220 W. Tioga Street has a limited number of the books available to loan and, according to library director Kristin Smith-Gary, people started reading the books prior to the holidays. Though she expects that the library will be able to keep up with interest in the campaign, she noted that most borrowers keep the books for at least a week.
“It’s not easy reading,” Smith-Gary said of the layers of intrigue. “You really have to think about them.”
“Atonement” will be shown at the Dietrich Theater at 60 E. Tioga Street on Wednesday, Feb. 12 at 1 pm and 7pm. “On Chesil Beach” will be screened on Wednesday, Feb. 26 at 1 pm and 7 pm. Discussions will be held at the library at 7 pm on Feb. 5, Feb. 19, and March 4.
For more information, interested readers may call the Dietrich Theater at 570-836-1022 or the Tunkhannock Public Library at 570-836-1677.
Wyoming County Reads is sponsored by the Wyoming County Commissioners.