Sunday, March 14, 2010

It's official!

The Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum is now a Literary Landmark -- the dedication ceremony today was a great success. Thanks to all who attended this and other One Island One Book events -- see you next year! Above, writer Les Standiford speaks at the dedication. Middle, Mike Morawski and Circulation Librarian Kris Neihouse hold the plaque while it's installed. Bottom, the plaque in its place of honor, right next to the front door.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

The big finale

We're on the homestretch of One Island One Book and it's been a great ride -- book groups, documentaries, and just this morning a great talk from Key West Library's own historian Tom Hambright about Key West in the 1930s, when Ernest Hemingway lived here and the Works Progress Administration changed the face of the island (they had this wacky idea that tourism was the future for Key West). We'll finish it all off on Sunday with the dedication of the Ernest Hemingway Home & Museum, 907 Whitehead Street, as a National Literary Landmark. This designation, which comes from the Association of Library Trustees, Advocates, Friends and Foundations (ALTAFF) with our own Friends of the Library as co-sponsors, is long overdue -- it will be the eighth literary landmark on our little island alone, and the second honoring Hemingway (the first is his birthplace in Oak Park, Illinois). Anyone with a local photo I.D. gets free admission to the Hemingway Home; writer Les Standiford will speak and we'll be serving refreshments. Hope you can join us!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Week Two Begins

The first week of One Island One Book was a smashing success -- big crowds for the movies and a good turnout for the special Saturday morning book discussion -- but if you missed it, don't worry -- there's more to come this week.
On Monday, we make it Two Islands One Book when the Book Bites book group holds a special meeting at 3 p.m. Monday at the Florida Keys Community College Library on Stock Island. All are welcome; if you've never been to the library it's worth the trip just to check out the place -- great collection, fabulous views and smart and wonderful staff. The Library is upstairs at Building A -- the blue building. On Wednesday, Book Bites meets again at its usual time, 5:30 p.m., at the Key West Library, 700 Fleming St. Once again, all are welcome -- you don't have to be a "member" of the group or even hold a Monroe County library card. On Thursday at 10 a.m. historian Tom Hambright will talk about the WPA (Works Progress Administration) in Key West -- that's the New Deal program that Hemingway described unflatteringly in several places, including "To Have and Have Not." (The head of the arts program, Al Dornbush, painted the map above left, one of the images in this year's Friends of the Library calendar.) On Friday at 5 p.m., we go back to the college for a talk by FKCC professors Sharon Farrell and Pat Silcox, followed by a viewing of "Soul of a People," the documentary about the Federal Writers Project. And it all wraps up on Sunday at 2 p.m. with the dedication of the Hemingway House as a Literary Landmark. If you have questions, call us at 305-292-3595.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Next up ...

The first event of One Island One Book was a huge success -- standing room only for the screening of "To Have and Have Not," the film "based" on Hemingway's book. Learn more about the writer today at 2:30 p.m. at the Library with a free showing of "Wrestling With Life," the biography of the writer produced by the Arts & Entertainment cable network. Afterwards, a discussion will feature guest speaker Brewster Chamberlin, Hemingway aficionado and member of the Friends of the Library board. See you here! Any questions? Give us a call at 292-3595.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

One Island One Book starts tomorrow!

One Island One Book officially starts tomorrow -- Wednesday, March 3 -- with a free screening of the film version of "To Have and Have Not" at 5 p.m. in the Library Auditorium, 700 Fleming St.

The movie version has a great pedigree -- it stars Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall and William Faulkner wrote the script -- but it does differ significantly from the novel on which it's based. For one thing Martinique is substituted for Cuba. For another, all the stuff about the social structure of Key West is gone. But it's still a great movie -- and the only movie that includes two Nobel Prize winners (Faulkner and our man Ernest Hemingway). The movie is free and you do not have to have a library card to attend.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Read all about us!

One Island One Book made it to the front page of The Key West Citizen on Tuesday -- sparking a run on copies of "To Have and Have Not" at the library. Such a run, in fact, that we're currently out of the book. But that doesn't mean you're out of luck. You can get on the waiting list (there are lots of copies so you could get one before the program starts in March). Or you could hit one of the local bookstores, Voltaire or Key West Island Books, to get a copy. The program begins in less than two weeks -- fortunately, it's not a very long book!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Les Standiford to speak at Hemingway House dedication

We are delighted to announce that writer Les Standiford, director of the Creative Writing Program at Florida International University and author of numerous books, both nonfiction and fiction, will be the speaker on Sunday, March 14, when the Ernest Hemingway Home & Museum is dedicated as a national Literary Landmark.

Standiford is the author of the John Deal novels and in recent years has written highly regarded works of historical nonfiction, starting with "Last Train to Paradise," which chronicles the building and destruction of Henry Flagler's Overseas Railway, connecting the Florida Keys to the mainland for the first time.
The railroad was destroyed when a Category 5 hurricane crossed the Upper Keys on Labor Day 1935. Hemingway was in the Keys at the time and went to Islamorada immediately afterwards to help in rescue and clean-up efforts. He was outraged at the deaths of hundreds of World War I veterans who were working on a New Deal highway program in Islamorada -- a rescue train was sent too late -- and wrote about the event in a piece for The New Masses.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

More details!

Copies of "To Have and Have Not" -- in regular and large print -- are now available at the Key West Library if you want to start reading. And we have a brochure with a handy calendar of events -- all taking place in the first two weeks of March -- including a showing of the movie version (yes we know it barely resembles the book but it's got Bogart and Bacall and a script by William Faulkner). We'll also be showing the documentary Soul of a People about the Works Progress Administration, which was very active in Key West in the 1930s. The Book Bites Reading Group will hold a special session at the Florida Keys Community College Library. Historian Tom Hambright will talk about the WPA in Key West. And it will all wrap up with a long-overdue honor: the Ernest Hemingway Home & Museum will become a Literary Landmark on Sunday, March 14. Stay tuned here for more details or stop by the library. You can also call us at 305-292-3595.

Friday, January 15, 2010

It's on!

It's official! Key West's first community read -- called One Island One Book -- will take place during the first two weeks of March and the book we'll be reading is "To Have and Have Not" by Ernest Hemingway. Why? Because this is Hemingway's only novel set in Key West -- and because the Depression setting has strong resonance as we go through our own economic hard times. So get a copy of the book -- the Key West Library has a bunch, the Florida Keys Community College Library is getting a bunch and local bookstores have been advised to buy plenty. Start reading and watch here for future updates.