What Stories are For

by kiya@evpl on Tuesday, March 6 2012, 3:03pm. Viewed 959 times.

 "Forty-three years old, and the war occurred half a lifetime ago, and yet the remembering makes it now. And sometimes remembering will lead to a story, which makes it forever. That's what stories are for. Stories are for joining the past to the future. Stories are for those late hours in the night when you can't remember how you got from where you were to where you are. Stories are for eternity, when memory is erased, when there is nothing to remember except the story."

-Tim O'Brien, The Things They Carried, p.36

War and Our Communities: the 2012 Community Readbook jacket: The Things They Carried

The Community Read is a community project where various groups read The Things They Carried, written by Vietnam War veteran Tim O'Brien, and discuss the effects of serving in an active combat zone, how it affects soldiers and their families, and how the community can help ease veterans' reintegration.

The Reader's Guide describes the book:

Tim O'Brien's The Things They Carried (1990) is considered one of the finest books about the Vietnam War. Far from a combat story of pride and glory, it is a compassionate tale of the American soldier, brimming with raw honesty and thoughtful reflection.

The book's narrator follows a platoon of infantrymen through the jungles of Vietnam. We see them trudge through the muck of a constant downpour, get hit by sniper fire, pull body parts out of a tree, laugh while they tell their stories to each other, and fall silent when faced with making sense of it all-both in the moment and twenty years later.

The book is available at EVPL. Book discussions are being held at two EVPL locations:

  • Tuesday, March 6, 6:30 pm at North Park Branch Library
  • Monday, March 12, 3:30 pm at Oaklyn Branch Library

If you are interested in joining another group and are curious what groups are accepting new members, contact Helen D. Azarian by phone at 812/759-7635 or by email. If you are a veteran looking for a group, contact Greg Wagoner. Join an online discussion at the Community Read's Facebook page, or learn how to start your own online discussion.

Many other events are planned for the month of April.

Comments (1)

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kiya@evpl wrote
on Tuesday, March 6 2012, 3:11pm

I asked some of my friends if they had read this book, and what they thought. One said, "Tim O'Brien recreated a part of my life better than any other author I've read."