WestportREADS | events

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

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WestportREADS, organized annually by the Library since 2001, is once again underway, this time exploring the nature of identity. In Bettyville, George Hodgman tackles questions about his identity as a gay man, as a writer and as a son. A funny and heartbreaking memoir, it chronicles a complicated mother-son journey. Reserve a copy of Bettyville.

The companion books continue this reflection. 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 middle-grade book Lily and Dunkin and the upper-elementary book George focus on how and why children label themselves. The picture book Red is a light-hearted story about a crayon with an identity crisis. 

Guide composed by reference librarians on all of the books.

If you would like a facilitator for a book discussion, please contact Mary Parmelee at mparmelee [at] westportlibrary [dot] org or Kathleen Malloy at kmalloy [at] westportlibrary [dot] org.

WestportREADS is funded by the estate of Jerry A. Tishman.

Below, a listing by dates of the events scheduled.

All month: Riverwalk Hallway Exhibit: "Where Were You in the 1970s?"
A look at Westport & Westporters in the ’70s.

All month: Identity Wordle
Express Yours! In the MakerSpace

All month: January Artist-in-Residence Challenge—"Identityville" Selfie
Use an easy folded-paper technique to show 2 parts of your personality
Workshop: Wednesday, January 4 from 4-5 pm in the Great Hall
Family Workshop: Saturday, January 7 from 2-3:30 pm in the Great Hall

Thursdays, January 5-26 from 5:30-7:30 pm:
Throwback Thursdays—Repair an Organ
In honor of Betty’s love of the organ, as described in the memoir Bettyville, take apart and repair a vintage Wurlitzer organ. In the MakerSpace

(Prior date: Saturday, January 7)
Westport Cinema Initiative Screening & Discussion of In & Out 

Sunday, January 8 at 2 pm: Discuss Bettyville at Barnes & Noble

Sunday, January 8 from 2:30-3:30 pm: Grandparent Story Project
Bring  a grandparent or older friend/relative to make a keepsake book. Grades 1 & up. Register online. The Great Hall

Tuesday, January 10 at 2 pm: Movie: The Music Man
This classic musical stars Robert Preston and Shirley Jones.
(1962; 2h 31m) Enjoy a Shake Shake custard too! McManus Room

Tuesday, January 10 at 7 pm: Caring for Aging Parents
A panel of eldercare experts discuss the issues you might face as your parents age—the emotional, legal and practical issues of caring for your parents whether they live close by or far away. McManus Room

Wednesday, January 11 from 4:30-5:30 pm: Drawing Kindness
In honor of the kindnesses shown in the Bettyville, draw, collage and color KINDNESS in ourselves and each other with artist and author Elaine Clayton. We'll make a book celebrating our communal dedication to being kind. Grades 3 to adult. Register online. The Great Hall

Wednesday, January 11 at 7 pm: Art as Identity
Artist Nancy Moore discusses her use of disparate artistic media to express her thoughts about gender identity in loving response to her transgender son and inspired by his courage. McManus Room

Saturday, January 14 at 2 pm: “The Longest Way Round is the Shortest Way Home”: Homecoming in Bettyville
Dr. Mark Schenker, Dean of Academic Affairs in Yale College, will give a talk on the theme of homecoming in Bettyville and other works of literature and myth.  McManus Room

Tuesday, January 17 at 11 am: PageTurners & the Westport Center for Senior Activities Discuss Bettyville. Sheffer Reading Room

Tuesday, January 17 at 2 pm: Movie: Sunday in the Park with George
Past merges with present in this hit musical by Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine. (1986; 2h 26m) McManus Room

Thursday, January 19 at 7 pm: Keynote Talk with Author George Hodgman
Hear writer and editor George Hodgman when he talks about the WestportREADS 2017 selection Bettyville. His critically-acclaimed memoir relates with wit and tenderness a son's journey from New York City to care for his irascible mother in his Missouri hometown. Register online. Saugatuck Congregational Church, 245 Post Road East.

Saturday, January 21 at 1 pm: Getting a Grip on Gender
Robin McHaelen, director of True Colors, Inc., will lead a family-friendly, free-wheeling discussion about today's changing gender norms. Register online. Light lunch and refreshments included. Register online. McManus Room

Sunday, January 22 at 2 pm: Discussion of I'll Give You the Sun at Barnes & Noble.

Tuesday, January 24 at 2 pm: Movie: The Boy Friend
Twiggy stars as an understudy thrust into the spotlight. (1971; 2h 17m) 
McManus Room

Thursday, January 26 at 7 pm: Discussion of I'll Give You the Sun. 
Weeks Seminar Room

Thursday, January 26 at 7 pm: Neighbors & Newcomers and PageTurners Discuss Bettyville. McManus Room

Saturday, January 28 at 4 pm:
Westport Cinema Initiative Screening & Discussion of In & Out 
A high school drama teacher (Kevin Kline) questions his sexuality in the midst of preparing for his wedding, after a former student makes a comment about him at the Academy Awards. (1997, 1h 32m) Tickets, $10, at westportcinema.org. At Westport Town Hall

Sunday, January 29 at 1 pm: Rescuing a Dog
In honor of the role an adopted dog played in Bettyville, Westport Animal Shelter Advocates (WASA) highlight their efforts and sponsor a pet food drive. McManus Room

Monday, January 30 at 6 pm: Discussion of Lily and Dunkin
Recommended for grades 6-9. Higgins Room

Tuesday, January 31 at 2 pm: Movie: Funny Girl
This bittersweet, classic musical drama stars Barbara Streisand. (1968; 2h 31m) McManus Room

WestportREADS is funded by the estate of Jerry A. Tishman.