Read All About It: There There is 2019's Treasure Valley Read 

"You really see the complexity of the characters. Real people, real experiences. It's an extraordinary read."

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Elena Seibert

At any given time, Mary DeWalt is making her way through a stack of books. As Ada Community Library Director, it's part of her job, but she's quick to add that it's also her passion.

"I'm a multi-tasker. I'm usually reading a good many titles. But then came There There...," she said. DeWalt paused, looked up and smiled. "There There, well, it deserved my full attention. When you dedicate yourself to the story, you really see the complexity of the characters. Real people, real experiences. It's an extraordinary read."

In the coming weeks, There There is destined to land on more must-read lists. In fact, it's the centerpiece of the 2019 edition of Treasure Valley Reads, the community-wide reading project. Think of it as Idaho's biggest book club. Beginning Friday, March 1, and running through Sunday, April 21, scores of Treasure Valley Read events—workshops, panels, films and even this year's annual Seven Arrows Powwow—will use the runaway bestseller by acclaimed author Tommy Orange as a foundation to consider themes of heritage and identity.

"Yes, Tommy Orange's new novel really is that good," raved New York Times book critic Colm Toibin in June 2018. The Times would ultimately include There There on its list of 2018's best books. Toibin added that the novel is a "picaresque journey, allowing for moments of pure soaring beauty." The raves kept coming. The National Book Review called There There "spectacular," and the Toronto Globe and Mail said the book "should probably be on reading lists for every creative writing program."

But Treasure Valley Reads is much more than just putting the same book on more Treasure Valley nightstands.

"When we consider a title, we're also considering programming. We think about our community partners, and we think about all of those neighborhood book clubs transforming into one grand scale [and] an entire community reading the same thing," said DeWalt. "And what happens, year after year, is someone meeting up with a friend and saying, "Hey, are you reading this year's book? It's amazing."

Following an official Treasure Valley Reads kickoff on Friday, March 1, at the Boise Art Museum, an eye-popping schedule of events will fill the calendar for the next seven weeks. The highlight is certain to be an appearance from Cheyenne and Arapaho native Tommy Orange himself. His appearance at Boise's Egyptian Theatre on Saturday, March 23, will also coincide with Storyfort, the all-things-literary wing of Treefort Music Fest.

"We knew that Tommy Orange would definitely appeal to the Storyfort demographic, so it made sense to collaborate," said DeWalt. "Storyfort is also promoting his presentation, so it definitely increases our exposure and furthers Storyfort's goal of bringing diverse and far-reaching stories to the Fest."

While There There's target demographic is mature readers, Treasure Valley Reads will also be promoting what it calls "complementary" titles that may be more appropriate for younger audiences, including Give Me Some Truth by Eric Gansworth (for teens), In the Footsteps of Crazy Horse by Joseph M. Marshall III (grades 3-8) and Bowwow Powwow by Brenda J. Child (Pre K-2nd grade).

"We'll have plenty of storytime events for kids, as well as a long list of events for grownups. And we're really excited to wrap up Treasure Valley Reads with this year's Seven Arrows Powwow in April. We just couldn't miss that opportunity," said DeWalt. "We shifted our full schedule so that could be our big finale. It's been 19 years for Treasure Valley Reads, and this year has to be one of the most exciting."

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