We are excited to announce our 2022 Arlington Reads series. We will continue to provide live streaming for our online audiences and will be back in-person in the fall.
2022 Arlington Reads: Rebooting the Classics
Classic novels are for everyone. They have lasted as classics in part because they offer glimpses into the past while sharing insights on themes and issues that remain universal to this day.
Author Reginald Dwayne Betts had his mind opened to literature while in prison, and his life afterward was transformed because of it. His journey took him from a sixteen-year-old boy facing incarceration to becoming a critically acclaimed poet, lawyer and the founding director of Freedom Reads.
Betts' Freedom Reads project harnesses the power of literature to counter what prison does to the spirit by building Freedom Libraries which contain curated collections of 500+ books installed in prisons all over the country. These collections include classic novels with new introductions by contemporary authors — a remixing of the classics.
The 2022 Arlington Reads: Rebooting the Classics author talk series is hosted by Library Director Diane Kresh — in-person and/or online.
Throughout this year, Arlington Public Library will present seven thought-provoking writers to talk about their own interactions with classic novels — how we as a society define classics, make them accessible to everyone and how classic novels influence other authors. These writers include:
- March 2: Reginald Dwayne Betts
- March 23: Deb Olin Unferth
- April 7: Deesha Philyaw
- April 21: Parul Sehgal
- May 19: Kiese Laymon
- September 29: Marlon James
- October 20: George Saunders
Some of the classic novels, which will be discussed during the author talks, include:
- The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
- The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne
- Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
- Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
- Dubliners by James Joyce
The 2022 Arlington Reads series is hosted in partnership with Offender Aid and Restoration (OAR), a nonprofit organization that helps individuals returning to the community from incarceration and that also confronts the racist legal structures that create a justice system based on retribution as opposed to restoration.
Arlington Reads brings authors and readers together to talk about the important topics of our time.
Arlington Reads, a community engagement program of Arlington Public Library, promotes literacy, the joy of reading and intergenerational participation.
“The program brings together people to talk about books and the important topics of our time,” said Library Director Diane Kresh.
Since its inception in 2006, Arlington Reads has featured both national and international fiction and nonfiction authors and cultural icons, such as Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Wendell Berry, Katherine Boo, Matthew Desmond, Anthony Doerr, Richard Ford, Roxane Gay, Colum McCann, Tim O’Brien, Ann Patchett, Viet Thanh Nguyen, Elizabeth Strout, Zadie Smith and Colson Whitehead.
Arlington Reads is made possible in part through the generous support of the Friends of the Arlington Public Library.
Arlington Reads Archive
2021 - Valeria Luiselli
2021- Laila Lalami
2021 - Rebecca Traister
2021 - Jenny Offill
2021 - Masha Gessen
2020 - Colson Whitehead
2020 - David Brooks
2020 - Rachel Louise Snyder
2020 - Alexis Coe
2020 - Roxanne Gay
2019 - Our Stories, Ourselves: Jacqueline Woodson, Mary Karr, Susan Orlean, Tracy K, Smith
2019 - Michael W. Twitty
2018 - Beth Macy
2018 - Zadie Smith
2018 - Habitats for Inhumanity
2017 - Why Fiction Matters
2016 - The Human Displacement of WWII
2015 - Being Black in America
2014 - Dazed and Confused: Boomer Angst
2013 - Out of Bounds: the Immigrant Experience
2012 - Life, Love, Loss
2011 - The Soldier's Story
2010 - Know What You Eat
2009 - Inside the Supreme Court