Homelessness focus of 2010 One Book selection

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Read to Succeed invites the community to read “The Soloist” by Steven Lopez for the 2010 One Book Community Read.

“Every year the One Book committee challenges the community to read a book that will draw attention to an issue facing our county,” said Leslie Walker, the One Book chairperson for this winter’s read. “ ‘The Soloist’ tells with real empathy and insight the story of homelessness and mental illness. It also offers us a profound look at the life of people in our own community, who too often go unnoticed and unchampioned.”

In his non-fiction work “The Soloist,” L.A. Times columnist and author Steve Lopez recounts the story of a homeless person he happened by one day, who was coaxing classical music from a tattered violin with just two strings.  What began as a good idea for his column turned into a much bigger story and deeper relationship when he discovered that the ragtag soloist, Nathaniel Ayers, was a Julliard-trained musician.

“The element of music in the book underscores the potential talents and inherent worth of individuals society too often discards and also the makes the story even more meaningful for a Middle Tennessee community like ours, known for its rich musical tradition,” Walker said.

“The Soloist” is a story of the homeless plight in America as depict in the real life circumstance of Nathaniel Ayers. It is also a tale examining the inner conflicts of those who try to ease the struggle of the homeless as seen in Lopez’s honest portrayal of himself. 

It’s a wise and poignant tale, sometimes funny, often heart wrenching, concerning the power of music and the struggle for personal dignity in the face of mental illness and the resulting homelessness.

Published in 2008, “The Soloist” is heralded by critics for its “elegant sparseness” and “humanity” as a literary work of non-fiction and is the subject of a major motion picture starring award-winning actors Jamie Foxx and Robert Downey Jr.

Read To Succeed, Linebaugh Library, Barnes and Noble and Middle Tennessee State University, in conjunction with encouraging the community to read “The Soloist” will be promoting an understanding of homelessness and the joys of classical music.

Interested Rutherford County readers, businesses and organizations can learn more about getting involved by joining the One Book Rutherford Facebook page or visiting the One Book Rutherford Blog at http://onebookcommunityread.blogspot.com.

For more information, contact Walker at crm2292@bn.com or 615-895-8580.

Tagged under  Economy, Event, One Book, Read to Succeed

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