Pulitzer Project’s legacy felt as book club decides to continue past December

As the Pulitzer Project nears the end of its year-long journey, its legacy is already taking shape, as members of its monthly book club meetings decided they did not want to stop talking about books.

Leona Charleigh Holman said the members of the club are forming “The Guild” so they can keep talking about books even after December, though the scope will broaden considerably.

“It will be more inclusive of other genres,” Holman said. “We already determined the next year’s materials.”

This impact the project has had on the community, she said, represents the power of reading and story-telling as a whole.

Holman said while her mother is American, her father is Canadian, and she spent much of her education around Canada’s aboriginal population. She said their culture encourages oral story-telling in all aspects of life.

“As soon as you can walk and talk, you are molded to tell a story,” she said. “Everything is a story.”

She said this physical form of story-telling, with hand motions and facial expressions and annunciations, was part of the reason why it took longer for her to get excited about reading, which is often a solitary occasion with few other participants, if any.

“Story-telling, through all of history, has given us perspective,” Holman said. “It is the technical parts of writing that take the place of that.”

She said these stories are so ingrained into society that even children, before they pick up their first book, know how to tell a story verbally.

“When we are children and we are told stories, it primes the pumps for them to enjoy reading,” she said.

These stories, whether they come from the campfire or from the library, then become part of culture, which is part of why The Guild’s creation carries so much weight.

“It is a good feeling to encourage adults to read,” she said. “It has been very fulfilling to know the community has supported the project and wants to continue it.”

She said the group’s broader goals and expressions help drive home the point of reading: keeping the mind elastic.

“Our worldview becomes bigger,” Holman said. “I do not think reading without storytelling has the same impact.”

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