Katie McLean | Staff Photographer
Sherra Babcock, Institution vice president and Emily and Richard Smucker Chair for Education, announces selections for the 2014 Chautauqua Literary and Scientific Circle Saturday on Bryant Day at Miller Bell Tower.
This last Saturday was Bryant Day, a tradition that marks the official start of the Chautauqua Literary and Scientific Circle reading season. The ceremony featured Sherra Babcock, vice president and Emily and Richard Smucker Chair for Education, announcing the first three selections of the year: Maya’s Notebook by Isabel Allende, What I Did by Christopher Wakling, and The Names of Things by John Colman Wood. The three novels fall within the season’s vertical theme, “Exploration and Discovery,” which honors Week Five’s morning lecture theme and the second interarts collaborative project on the American West.
Babcock said the three novels highlight different aspects of the vertical theme. Allende’s Notebook follows one girl’s journey in a more personal discovery as a citizen; Wakling’s What I Did can be seen as a discovery of family and society; Wood’s Names of Things is a more literal exploration of a separate world — northern Kenya.
“These are three books that I think people will devour — they’re all wonderful reading,” Babcock said. “I hope I have enough books for them by the time they finish reading these three, because they’re books that you don’t want to put down — all three of them.”
While it just so happened that the first three selections announced are novels, Babcock said other genres will be represented as always. She will be busy in the offseason selecting poetry, memoir, biography, history, and various styles of creative nonfiction.