Big reads

I’ve written in my column about the NEA-affiliated Big Read drives in Pomona and Rancho Cucamonga and the independent On the Same Page drive in Claremont, in which residents were urged to read “Bless Me, Ultima,” “To Kill a Mockingbird” and “Cannery Row,” respectively.

I finished “Mockingbird” on my lunch break Thursday, completing the trifecta.

(My favorite line is the first sentence of Chapter 10, the daughter saying of her father: “Atticus was feeble: he was nearly fifty.”)

Tuesday I heard Steinbeck scholar Robert Morsberger speak at the Claremont Library, the final event in the “Cannery Row” series. Morsberger named “The Grapes of Wrath,” “Cannery Row” and “In Dubious Battle” as his Steinbeck favorites. “‘Cannery Row’ is the book I most enjoy rereading,” he said, describing it as funny and poetic. A friend, he added, says Doc is one of her favorite characters in literature.

Thursday I heard Mary Badham speak at Rancho Cucamonga’s Celebration Hall about her role as Scout in the movie version of “Mockingbird.” Badham, the sister of director John Badham, said she got the part in an audition in her native Alabama. She was honest enough to admit she was too young during filming to remember a whole lot other than Gregory Peck’s kindness and the boy actors fighting with her.

She was a real-life tomboy, so the part fit her. But she wasn’t especially interested in acting, she said, and thus didn’t do much after “Mockingbird,” although, among other things, she was in the very last “Twilight Zone” episode. As a first-timer without an agent, she didn’t get paid much for playing Scout. “I think the last residual check I got was for 89 cents,” she added. No wonder she was charging $20 for her autograph after the talk.

I already wrote about seeing Gustavo Arellano speak in Pomona about “Ultima,” which meant I went to at least one book event in each of the three cities.

But only Rancho Cucamonga put me on a poster.

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  • lynne winkelman

    I was having my morning coffee and started reading the paper and lo and behold, I just about dropped hot coffee all over! Please turn to page A8 and read the article for the Holiday feast at the Faith Lutheran Church in San Dimas!! A very special gift indeed!!! Must be a typo, but hilarious anyway!

    [The sentence in question: “Worshippers are asked to bring a special gift for the congregation’s emergency food panty collection.” Hmm. — DA]


    OMG!! Gotta have a David Allen poster to complement Farrah !

  • dedication

    I received a box of old Steinbeck books as I am a reader; alas, it was picked over and what was left over were some minor favorites from the ’40s to the early ’60s. Winter of our Discontent and Mamma’s House I think were a couple of them. Not Cannery Row to be sure but good reads nonetheless. Have a good day and keep up the good work. Regards, Ed.

    [I do recommend Cannery Row. It’s not one of those Major Statement kind of novels but y’know, maybe that’s to its credit. A fun read. — DA]

  • goddess of pomona

    Well, ya got me beat. I’m still on page forty-something of “Bless Me, Ultima.” It’s done a wonderful job of getting me to sleep for the past two nights.

    And those Rancho posters are too funny. Is the Gap next, David?

  • Robert Karatsu

    Hey David. Thanks for coming out and supporting the Big Reads across the IE (particularly the one in Rancho!).

    And this is where you want to point your poster link to! (This way you don’t have to go through Jack Lam or Dianne Williams to get to you, although you would miss out on Rex and technicolor dream sox…)

    [My feeling was, if readers were on my blog already, time obviously isn’t an issue for them. But thanks for the shortcut. — DA]

  • Judi

    Every time I see one of the posters for the reading program, I think of my high school English teacher and her emphatic lessons about never ending a sentence with a preposition. I wonder if her grave is where she is now rolling around in.

    (Congrats on your inclusion, however. Wow, first Grand Marshal, now poster boy. What’s next? Reality TV? Dancing with the Stars? 🙂

    [America’s Next Top Model? — DA]