Tinkers, by Paul Harding set the tone for this year’s Orem Reads series. Harding’s lyrical prose expressed the importance of family stories. The portrayal of quirky and unusual stories and characters made a memorable read. During Orem Reads, the library has presented events that focus on family stories and the importance of telling those stories.
At the kickoff event, Utah Poet Laureate Lance Larsen spoke about Tinkers. One of his tips for reading the novel was to take it as a series of stories or snippets, rather than a chronological story. Larsen also addressed the importance of literature in our lives. He emphasized that life and literature reflect one another, with memorable examples from his work. Some of his poems included his own family stories and stories from his youth.
Books by Lance Larsen: Erasable Walls, In All Their Animal Brilliance, Backyard Alchemy, Genius Loci
Author Paul Harding’s visit was delightful. Hearing him read selections from his 2010 Pulitzer prize-winning novel, Tinkers, was definitely a treat. One striking moment during his presentation was his account of finding out that he won the Pulitzer. The hilarity with which he expressed his initial disbelief and shock endeared him to the audience. Harding also shared how some of the characters in his book were modeled after members of his extended family, poignantly accenting the importance of family stories.
Brian Doyle spoke at the finale for Orem Reads. Doyle, an acclaimed essayist and novelist, is also an incredibly captivating speaker. He had the audience laughing and even brought some to tears with the stories he shared of his Irish Catholic upbringing as well as hilarious stories about raising his own children. If you haven’t read his essays, several are accessible online. Don’t miss “Dawn and Mary.”