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Westport Opens The Book On Selection For Townwide Reading Program

Westport has chosen "Bettyville" by George Hodgman as the 2017 WestportREADS selection.
Westport has chosen "Bettyville" by George Hodgman as the 2017 WestportREADS selection. Photo Credit: Facebook

WESTPORT, Conn. -- The Westport Library has announced the selection of George Hodgman's book "Bettyville" for the 2017 WestportREADS program.

"Bettyville" is a humorous and insightful memoir about an accomplished gay man who leaves New York City to care for his aging and ailing mother in Paris, Mo.

The library encourages members of the community to read the book and attend programs related to the book throughout the month of January.

Companion books for younger readers are "I’ll Give You the Sun" by Jandy Nelson (high school), "Lily and Dunkin" by Donna Gephart (middle school), "George" by Alex Gino (upper elementary) and "Red," a picture book for the youngest readers, by Michael Hall.

WestportREADS is an annual program dedicated to strengthening the community through the shared experience of a book.

This year, a committee of library staff and community residents decided on the theme of identity as the means of selecting the book. All of the books explore the nature of identity along with other topics.

"Bettyville" conjures questions about the author’s identity as a gay man, as a writer, as a son and whether he is a New Yorker or Midwesterner, according to a release from the Westport Library.

"I'll Give You the Sun" is an award-winning book about first love, family, loss and betrayal that invites contemplation about the identity of artists, the release said.

The middle school book, "Lily and Dunkin," and "George," for preteens, focus on how and why children label themselves.

The picture book "Red" is a light-hearted story about a crayon with an identity crisis.

Hodgman is a veteran magazine and book editor who has worked at Simon & Schuster, Vanity Fair and Talk magazine.

His writing has appeared in Entertainment Weekly, Interview, W and Harper’s Bazaar, among other publications.

Click here for an NPR Fresh Air Interview with George Hodgman.

WestportREADS is funded by the estate of Jerry Tishman. For additional information about the program, call 203-291-4800 or visit westportlibrary.org.

The Westport Library is at 20 Jesup Road, Westport.

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