By Sam Conner
A small, but growing group of library patrons and book lovers has held two book talks at the Winslow Public Library and plans to hold another at 4 p.m. on Thursday, March 28.
The first such meeting was held two months ago with only a handful of persons in attendance. All had read the book up for discussion, though, and shared some interesting opinions about the book, its author and its influence on American history.
That first book discussed was The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck. Those in attendance agreed that it was an important book and had also been made into an excellent movie starring Henry Fonda. One even said that it was one of the three most important books one should read to understand America.
Members of the group selected To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee as the next book they wanted to discus, and that was the selection for the next month. The number of participants in that discussion practically doubled, and all seemed well versed on the book, its value and knowledge about the author.
Most commented on being amazed that she had only published that one book, which was a prize winner and rated one of the best books of the 20th century. Lee had a relative who lived in Winslow in the 1960s and probably earlier, too, who was a piano teacher. She was a childhood friend of Truman Capote, himself a successful author. Most scholars believe he is the model for a character in To Kill a Mockingbird.
This book, like The Grapes of Wrath, was made into an excellent motion picture. Gregory Peck was the star of the movie and played a memorable character indeed. The discussion of To Kill a Mockingbird was interesting, and those present expressed a desire to continue having the book discussions.
The March 28 discussion will be more on a person than just one book, primarily because it was not known whether there would be enough copies of one book on the person of interest. The group chose to read Builder Upon the Red Earth or another book on Mary Colter, a woman of great significance to Winslow.
Colter designed La Posada at Winslow for Fred Harvey, who built and operated top quality hotels and other buildings along the Santa Fe Railroad and at the Grand Canyon. She was one of the leading architects of her day.
This discussion should be a learning experience for any who wish to know more about this very important person in Winslow history. Even those who have not read a book about her will probably find attendance an interesting learning experience.
It is probable that the group will continue discussions on books that have considerable appeal, and that those at the next meeting will select what book or subject they would like to discuss during the following meeting.
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By Sam Conner