Bryant Day reveals a Shakespearean 2013 CLSC season


Four 2013 CLSC books displayed in the Colonnade office of Sherra Babcock, director of the Department of Education and Youth Services: Immortal Bird by Doron Weber; The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski; Paris: A Love Story by Kati Marton; and What Money Can’t Buy by Michael J. Sandel. Photo by Michelle Kanaar.

Jennifer Shore | Staff Writer

The Bryant Day celebration on Saturday began at Miller Bell Tower and ended with books.

Bryant Day, a Chautauqua tradition, marks the start of a new reading season with a ceremony led by the Alumni Association, and each member of the Chautauqua Literary and Scientific Circle Class of 2012 rings the bell.

Sherra Babcock, director of the Department of Education and Youth Services, announced a few CLSC selections after toting the books from her office in the Colonnade to Miller Park. Babcock kept the books hidden in her office until they were revealed to Bryant Day attendees.

The CLSC joins Chautauqua’s other arts programs in celebrating Romeo and Juliet in 2013, but Babcock emphasized it is in a broad sense, and all selections have themes similar to Shakespearean work.

Week Four

Week theme:
“Markets and Morals: Re-imagining the Social Contract”

CLSC selection: What Money Can’t Buy by Michael Sandel

Shakespearean correlation: The Merchant of Venice, Measure for Measure

Sandel, a Harvard professor, is the adviser on the week on ethics, and he will open the week with the questions of the moral limits of markets, Babcock said.

“We’re looking at what is provided, what should be provided, what should be bought and sold and what should be equally available to all,” Babcock said.

Two of his books have been previous CLSC selections, and What Money Can’t Buy asks an important ethical question: Is there something wrong with a world in which everything is for sale?

Week Six

Week theme:
“Crime and Punishment”

CLSC selection:
The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski

Shakespearean correlation: Hamlet

The plot follows Edgar, a mute boy whose family members have been dog breeders, who flees the farmland after his father dies but returns to track down the killer.

“It just is different from anything anybody would read,” Babcock said. “It’s a completely original novel.”

It is the first book by Wroblewski, and it became a New York Times best-seller in 2008 — shortly after, it was selected for Oprah Winfrey’s book club.

Week Seven

Week theme:

CLSC selection:
Paris: A Love Story by
Kati Marton

Shakespearean correlation: Sonnet 116

The memoir follows Marton after the death of her husband, Richard Holbrooke, and her time in Paris allows for reflection as well as a new beginning.

“This is about the love of life, love of learning in Paris,” Babcock said. “It’s romantic. It’s historic. It fits the diplomacy week because of what she covered (as a journalist), who she was with and what she was doing in Paris.”

Marton is an award-winning journalist who has reported for ABC News and NPR.

Week Nine

Week theme:
“Health Care: Reform and Innovation”

CLSC selection:
Immortal Bird: A Family Memoir by Doron Weber

Shakespearean correlation: The Tempest

Weber’s son, Damon, was born with a single ventricle in his heart, and the memoir follows the “harbors this family went through to help the young man survive,” Babcock said.

“It’s a very sad book, but it’s also a very happy book, because his son was a wonderful, different kind of child, and because he had health problems his entire life, they treasured what they could do.”

Immortal Bird fits into the week’s theme because of the questions and affirmations about the American health system.

There is one comment

  1. Chautauqua Honors Immortal Bird: One of Nine Literary Selections for 2013 « Immortal Bird Postscript

    […] Sherra Bacock, director of the Department of Education and Youth Services at Chautauqua who oversees CSLC, said that each book selected this year also has a Shakespearean theme and a play connected to it. For Immortal Bird, she chose The Tempest because Damon had a serious illness and the book describes “the harbors this family went through to help the young man survive,” Babcock said. […]

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