2018-02-01 / BookBag

Resistance Fiction

Centre County Reads 2018 Read-alikes
Maria Burchill | Schlow Centre Region Library

This year’s selection for Centre County Reads, the “one book, one community” reading event, is State High graduate Sunil Yapa’s Your Heart is a Muscle the Size of a Fist. This is the first book written by a local author to be selected by the Centre County Reads committee and it definitely deserves that honor. Yapa’s prose is extraordinary and his characters evoke strong emotional reactions (like compulsive page turning). He capably juggles changes in perspective while describing the events of a single day: the afternoon of the 1999 WTO protests in Seattle. Since some of the content may not be suitable for all audiences, here are some titles that address similar topics and score big with reviewers, readers and parents.

Little Brother (ages 15+) is a decidedly 21st century story that revolves around 17-year-old hacker Marcus Yallow. Going by the handle “w1n5t0n” (Winston), the high schooler is labeled a terrorist, arrested and thrown in prison after a statewide takeover by the Department of Homeland Security. Well-known blogger Cory Doctorow continues to receive high praise for this and other books he has written.

The Given Day (ages 18+) is a big one at more than 700 pages, but author Dennis Lehane is known for composing quality plots and believable characters. Readers looking for something a bit more historical can step back in time to post-World War I Boston and into the life of police officer Danny Coughlin. Multiple viewpoints, political unrest and civil disobedience are all explored in this epic historical fiction.

In The Hate U Give (ages 14+), the shooting of an unarmed young man by police leaves his best friend, Starr, the only person alive who knows what really happened that night. Longlisted for a National Book Award, this young adult novel by new author Angie Thomas has received high praise from authors and reviewers since its publication in 2017.

Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely’s book, All American Boys (ages 12+), was chosen recently by the State College Area School District for State High Reads. Like Yapa’s novel, All American Boys masterfully handles changes in perspective and the topic of police brutality. As collaborative fiction, the book is as unique as it is compelling.

Booked Up!

Get reading, and then get out! Centre County Reads is more than one book. Check out the various events and activities for this year’s community-wide read.

Kick-Off Event
Feb. 10, noon-3p.m.
Help warm the community! Join knitters of all experience levels for a knit-a-thon at the Centre County Library and Historical Museum in Bellefonte to knit scarves and other goods for Housing Transitions, Inc. Materials will be provided.

Book Discussions
Various dates and times
Community members will meet at area libraries to discuss the novel. The first is on Feb. 20 at Schlow. Visit the Centre County Reads website for discussion locations and times.

Roundtable Discussion
Feb. 27, 3:30-5 p.m.
What is activist literature? Three panelists will lead a discussion to attempt to answer that question in the Mann Assembly Room in the Paterno Library. Light refreshments will
be served.

The Art of Protest Contest
Deadline: Feb. 28
The annual writing contest encourages residents to submit a piece of short fiction, nonSunil Yapa. Photo by Beowulf Sheehan.Sunil Yapa. Photo by Beowulf Sheehan.fiction or poetry that explores representing or enacting protest. Enter by Feb. 28 for a chance at the $200 grand prize.

The Art of Protest Exhibition
March 1-31
Art created by Centre County residents on the theme of persuasion and resistance will be displayed in the Betsy Allen Rodgers Gallery at Schlow Library.

Evening with the Author
March 21, 7-8:30 p.m.
To culminate Centre County Reads, Sunil Yapa will discuss his book at the Hub-Robeson Center on campus. A book signing will follow.

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