Biographer's Lecture Focuses on Bradbury's 'Fahrenheit 451'

Oct. 17, 2008

by Lauren Venegas, student newswriter, (254) 710-6805

The Big Read, One Book, One Waco and the Honors Residential College at Baylor University will host a biographer's lecture as part of the community reading program series from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 23, in the Alexander Reading Room in the Honors Residential College. The event is free and open to the public.

The fall 2008 community-wide reading selection is "Fahrenheit 451" by Ray Bradbury. The book recounts the story of a future society in which books are outlawed and burned by firemen. Bradbury biographer Sam Weller will lecture on "Burning Books? Shining Light on 'Fahrenheit 451.'"

"Sam Weller's in-depth knowledge and expertise in studying the genius behind Bradbury will give us a clearer understanding of 'Fahrenheit 451' and its meaning in our lives," said Allan R. Marshall, director of community development for the Greater Waco Chamber of Commerce and chair of the "One Book, One Waco" program.

"The most notable reason why we chose 'Fahrenheit 451' for the program is because the proximity of the presidential election provided us with the perfect forum to talk about some of the issues prevalent in the book," said Bryan Fonville, Baylor's student body president. "'Fahrenheit 451' also was chosen because of its overarching message. The book really speaks to the heart of the One Book, One Waco program."

The mission statement of One Book, One Waco" is to impact the Waco area through a community-wide program that promotes reading and thoughtful discussion with activities and events focused on encouraging community participation, with an overall vision to bring together diverse people of Waco in an open dialogue.

"Part of our mission is to encourage people of all ages to read and understand why reading is so important," Fonville said. "In 'Fahrenheit 451,' society devalues reading on all accounts by turning its attention toward other forms of communication and the citizens realize that reading is the pathway to the brighter future. In our community, we believe that greater reading comprehension and the pursuit of knowledge is the pathway to a brighter future."

The Big Read is an initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with the Institute of Museum and Library Services and Arts Midwest.

"I believe that partnering with a national movement for improving literacy is extremely important" Marshall said. "One Book, One Waco and The Big Read" want reading to return to the center of American society, and this is a great way to highlight both of these programs."

The lecture is the final event in the series of One Book, One Waco dialogue discussions, which have been held at various schools and colleges in the Waco area and hosted by the Greater Waco Chamber of Commerce and program sponsors.

More information on "One Book, One Waco" events can be found at or contact Marshall at (254) 757-5630.

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