TORRINGTON – Billed as a “celebration of conversation and community”, Goshen County residents are participating in One Book Wyoming – a community reading program in which the same book is read and discussed statewide, according to the Wyoming Humanities Council.
The arts-centered non-profit organization partnered with the Wyoming State Library to renew the program with Ernest Hemingway’s “In Our Time”.
“’In Our Time’ is Ernest Hemingway’s first collection of short stories and the first introduction of his famous character Nick Adams,” the WHC website (thinkwy.org) reads. “The stories’ themes range from meditations on fatherhood and family to war’s impact on soldiers to the challenges of romantic relationships to the relationship between humans and nature. With that many diverse themes, not only will there be a story of interest to virtually everyone but opportunities to discuss and think more thoroughly about subjects you may not have thought much about in the past.”
Wednesday morning, Casey Debus, director at the Eastern Wyoming College library, handed out copies of the novel to a local book club.
“Ever since they announced they were doing this program, everyone’s been terribly excited,” Debus said. “We’ve been a part of One Book Wyoming before, but we didn’t have copies of the books. We just had the author come speak (Craig Johnson, “Longmire”). Due to budget issues, the program was put on hold for a couple of years.”
Janet Bass, a member of the aforementioned local book club, said she believes the program has several merits.
“I received the Wyoming Humanities newsletter, and we were short of a book for June,” she explained. “I saw (the information about the program) and thought maybe the club would like to participate … and then I actually contacted the Humanities Council and learned the books would be distributed around the state, including public and college libraries.
“I think it’s really nice that it’s a program for the whole state to participate in,” Bass continued. “It brings readers together … I’d encourage anyone to go their library and get information on this. Casey was very good in helping us get this organized.”
Goshen County Library is also participating in the program, according to Director Joan Brinkley. While the public library does not yet have the books on hand, Brinkley expects copies soon. In addition, the library is applying for grants to bring in speakers to discuss Hemingway, his book, and time in Wyoming.
“’In Our Time’ should also inspire you to check out other Hemingway in Wyoming activities, funded by a multi-year National Endowment for the Humanities grant ‘Creating Humanities Communities along the Hemingway Highway,’” WHC said on its website. “These include the ‘Hemingway Highways Tours,’ created using the TravelStoryGPS app, and featuring sites where Hemingway lived and worked throughout the state; traveling exhibits on Hemingway’s WWI service and artistic interpretations of Hemingway’s work; and, in 2020, the Hemingway Society Conference in Sheridan.
“’There are two places I love,’ Hemingway wrote: ‘Africa and Wyoming.’ It’s our goal for people throughout Wyoming to learn a bit more about Hemingway, his life, and his works, while engaging in lively, thoughtful conversations with their communities.”
“This program gets the whole state and all the communities talking about the same thing and sharing their different viewpoints, sharing what they’re reading – it really unites everyone.”