Faculty, students sponsor Marathon Read to celebrate the resilience of books

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Ever since there have been books, there have been people trying to get rid of them. This year’s Marathon Read celebrates the resilience of books and book culture with readings of three dystopian novels, each of which imagines a future in which books are controlled, censored, banned or destroyed: Ray Bradbury’s "Fahrenheit 451," Margaret Atwood’s "The Handmaid’s Tale" and Aldous Huxley’s "Brave New World."

The College of the Liberal Arts and various departments and centers are organizing a marathon 24-hour reading of the novels, beginning at noon Thursday, Sept. 25, on the lawn in front of Pattee and Paterno Libraries. 

The event is free and open to the public to attend or to participate. Students and faculty are invited to camp out overnight and bring appropriate equipment. Pizza and breakfast will be provided by event sponsors. 

Select speakers will take turns reading aloud for approximately five minutes each throughout the event, but students, faculty, staff, alumni, friends and community residents are invited to sign up to read aloud.

Organizers also will have available translations in Spanish, French, German, Italian, Russian, Japanese, Arabic and Chinese for any readers. Penn State Distinguished Alumna Sue Paterno will begin reading at noon, Thursday, followed by women’s volleyball coach Russ Rose and President Eric Barron at 1 p.m.

“This event was a tremendous success the last two years, bringing together dozens of students, faculty and community members in a public space and showcasing the power of ideas, discussion and learning," said Christopher Reed, professor of English and visual culture, and a key organizer. "We launched the reading in 2012 with 'Catch-22,' which has origins on the Penn State campus, and last year, we chose 'One Hundred Years of Solitude' to celebrate Penn State’s commitment to diverse cultures and a global perspective. Penn State academics have never been stronger, and we want to share such excellence with the public and our communities."

Sponsors are the College of the Liberal Arts; School of Languages and Literatures; Department of English; Department of Comparative Literature; Departments of Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese; Department of French and Francophone Studies; Department of Germanic and Slavic Languages and Literatures; Department of Asian Studies; Department of Women’s Studies; the Paterno Fellows Program; the Center for Democratic Deliberation; and the Center for American Literary Studies.

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Last Updated September 18, 2014