LEWISTON – Area residents are reminded that there is still time to join this year’s community reading program, “L-A Reads!” Also known as the One Book/One Community program, the project is part of a national effort to encourage literacy and the appreciation of fine literature through the annual selection of a book, which serves as the focal point for book discussions and related events in a community.

The Twin Cities’ book-of-choice for 2006 is “Gilead,” a Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Marilynne Robinson, which offers vignettes from 19th century America as it examines the importance of familial and fraternal connections through the generations.

The Lewiston and Auburn public libraries have invested in several extra copies of the book for readers wishing to participate in the program.

Business has been brisk, with patrons checking out “Gilead” since it was first announced as the 2006 L-A Reads! selection in January, said Rosemary Waltos, director of the Auburn Public Library, “but we have plenty of copies to go around, both here and at LPL,” she said, “so no one should hesitate to drop in for a copy, or, if they prefer, to call in advance to reserve one.”

“Lewiston and Auburn have taken the community read-in concept one step further by using books and reading to build cooperation and goodwill between the residents of the two cities,” said Waltos. “This year’s pick is a thought-provoking book that is sure to stimulate discussion about looking back at our shared history and culture.”

Readers will have a choice of two “Gilead” discussion sessions: Tuesday, March 28, at 6:30 p.m. at the Auburn Public Library, or Thursday, April 6, at noon at the Lewiston Public Library.

At 7 p.m. Wednesday, April 5, at LPL, local author and life-writing coach Denis Ledoux will present “Gilead: Crossing Boundaries between Truth and Fiction,” in which he will use the book to illustrate the differences between memoir and myth. All three events are open to the public free.

Readers interested in purchasing the book may do so at a 20 percent discount from three area bookstores that have joined the libraries as partners in the L-A Reads! program: Mr. Paperback and the Page Turner in Lewiston and WaldenBooks in Auburn.

Also participating as program partners are Lewiston Adult Education, Auburn Adult Education, L-A College, Literacy Volunteers Androscoggin and the Sun Journal.

More information is available by calling the Auburn Public Library at 782-3191 or the Lewiston Public Library at 784-0135.

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