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Scranton Reads Focuses Month Of Events On Sci-fi Thriller ‘War Of The Worlds’

October 3, 2018

Scranton Reads Focuses Month Of Events On Sci-fi Thriller 'War Of The Worlds'

This year’s featured Scranton Reads book lends itself to a mix of serious and laid-back programs that draw from its classic science-fiction theme.

Readers across the region will pick up H.G. Wells’ 1897 story “The War of the Worlds” in the coming weeks as part of the annual initiative that encourages the community to read a specific book and participate in book discussions and other related events.

“First of all, it’s science-fiction, which is fun, and we haven’t done one of those in a while,” said Jessica Serrenti, spokeswoman for Scranton’s Albright Memorial Library and a Scranton Reads committee member. “But I think it’s also timely with how much media is in our hands now. ‘War of the Worlds’ is a story that just makes you wake up and focus on what’s in front of you ... (and) just being aware of our surrounding.”

The joint venture between Scranton Public Library and the city started in 2002 and has featured such stories as “The Handmaid’s Tale” and “The Red Badge of Courage.” This year’s book focuses on an alien invasion of Earth in which humans fight back using a virus. Orson Welles’s infamous October 1938 radio adaptation of the story induced a panic among people who thought an invasion actually was occurring. It has been adapted for the screen a few times as well, most recently by Steven Spielberg in 2005.

Lackawanna County Library System libraries have free copies of the book available, and Scranton Reads also will hand them out during its events and at the Dunmore Cemetery Tour on Sundays, Oct. 7 and 14, at 2 p.m. at the West Warren Street cemetery.

“People were thrilled that it was kind of timely for October with Halloween, and it’s aliens and invasions,” Serrenti said of the book selection. “They got a kick out of that. … It’s reaching kind of a varying audience in that respect.”

Scranton Reads’ programs kick off with a First Friday celebration on Oct. 5 at Albright Memorial Library that will feature artwork inspired by the book.

Other activities focus on the scientific and pandemic sides of the story, including “A Scarcity of Caskets: The 1918 Spanish Flu in Scranton” on Wednesday, Oct. 24, at Lackawanna County Historical Society’s Catlin House, Scranton; “The War of the Worlds: When Will the Next Pandemic Occur?” on Monday, Oct. 29, at Marywood University, Scranton; and “Survival Skills” on Tuesday, Oct. 30, also at Marywood.

Dr. Philip Jenkins of Marywood University, meanwhile, will lead a discussion of philosophical issues in the novel during Albright Memorial Library’s Socrates Café program on Thursday, Oct. 18. And “The World Is Not Coming to an End. Trust Me: A Conversation about Telling the News” will bring together local journalists for a panel discussing “fake” news and how people can better consume news on Wednesday, Oct. 24, at Penn State Scranton, Dunmore.

Scranton Reads also will offer more light-hearted fare, including“War of the Worlds” film screenings and “History of the Carbondale UFO Sighting,” in which historian Robert Powell from Carbondale Historical Society examines the hubbub surrounded a supposed 1974 UFO crash there.

“Everyone has been going crazy for that,” Serrenti said. “They just think it’s such a fun idea just to see all the craziness and wariness that went around it at that time.”

Numerous county libraries will hold book discussions, too.

“Book discussions kind of allow you to keep an open mind about the interpretation of books and how others see it,” Serrenti said.

Contact the writer:

cwest@timesshamrock.com; 570-348-9100 x5107;

@cheaneywest on Twitter

Scranton Reads events

First Friday kickoff

When: Friday, Oct. 5, 6 to 8 p.m. Where: Albright Memorial Library, 500 Vine St., Scranton

 

“War of the Worlds” film screening

When: Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2 p.m. Where: Albright Memorial Library, 500 Vine St., Scranton

 

“History of the Carbondale UFO Sighting”

When: Wednesday, Oct. 10, 6 p.m. Where: Albright Memorial Library, 500 Vine St., Scranton

 

“War of the Worlds” film screening

When: Thursday, Oct. 18, 6 p.m. Where: Valley Community Library, 739 River St., Peckville

 

Socrates Café

When: Thursday, Oct. 18, 6:30 p.m. Where: Henkelman Room, second floor, Albright Memorial Library, 500 Vine St., Scranton

 

“The World Is Not Coming to an End. Trust Me: A Conversation about Telling the News”

When: Wednesday, Oct. 24, 12:15 p.m. Where: Hawk Lecture Hall: Business Building 201, Penn State Worthington Scranton, 120 Ridge View Drive, Dunmore

 

“A Scarcity of Caskets: The 1918 Spanish Flu in Scranton”

When: Wednesday, Oct. 24, 7 p.m. Where: Catlin House, Lackawanna County Historical Society, 232 Monroe Ave., Scranton

 

“The War of the Worlds: When Will the Next Pandemic Occur?”

When: Monday, Oct. 29, 6:30 to 8 p.m. Where: Learning Commons, Room 206, Marywood University, 2300 Adams Ave., Scranton

 

“Survival Skills”

When: Tuesday, Oct. 30, 6:30 to 8 p.m. Where: Learning Commons, Room 206, Marywood University, 2300 Adams Ave., Scranton

 

Book discussions

Thursday, Oct. 4, 6:30 p.m.: Taylor Public Library, 710 S. Main St., Taylor; 570-562-1234

 

Monday, Oct. 22, 6 p.m.: Nancy Kay Holmes Branch Library, 1032 Green Ridge St., Scranton; 570-207-0764

 

Thursday, Oct. 25, 1 p.m.: Carbondale Public Library, 5 N. Main St.; 570-282-4281

 

Tuesday, Oct. 16, 6 p.m.: North Pocono Public Library, 1315 Church St., Moscow; 570– 842-4700.

 

Tuesday, Oct. 23, 6 p.m.: Abington Community Library, 1200 W. Grove St., Clarks Summit; 570-587-3440

 

Wednesday, Oct. 24, and Thursday, Oct. 25, 6:30 p.m.: Valley Community Library, 739 River St., Peckville; 570-489-1765

 

Saturday, Oct. 27, 10:30 a.m.: Dalton Community Library, 113 E. Main St.; 570-563-2014.

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