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Big Read spotlights The Wright Brothers

In NAHA News /

DAYTON, Ohio—The Miami Valley’s 2017 Big Read program officially kicks off in March with David McCullough’s The Wright Brothers as the selected book.

The New York Times’ best-selling book about the brothers Wilbur andOrville and their family will be the subject of book discussions and programs taking place at many area libraries, schools and other venues during the Big Read community reading project, according to Big Read organizers. The program officially runs March 12 through April 16, but some book discussions will take place as early as Monday, March 6.

The ending date coincides with the 150th anniversary of Wilber Wright’s birth.

Miami Valley readers selected David McCullough’s latest nonfiction book by an overwhelming majority. The Wright Brothers received 46.1% of the 2,193 votes cast online and at area libraries, beating the runner up Lock In by 529 votes, organizers said. Third place was Being Mortal and fourth place was Between the World and Me.

“I believe the community overwhelmingly chose this book to be the next Big Read because it appeals to us on a personal level,” said Ben Murphy, Chair of the Big Read committee. “Dayton is clearly proud of its aviation history and our connection to the Wright Brothers.”

The Wright Brothers tells the dramatic story of the Dayton duo who changed the course of history with powered flight. McCullough is a two-time Pulitzer Prize winner and recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor.

McCullough read hundreds of family letters and personal diaries while writing the book. Some of his research brought him to the Dayton area, including the Special Collections and Archives at Wright State University. Dayton plays a pivotal role in his book.

“Dayton was a place where people were making things. Factories made big items like railroad cars, heavy machinery, and cash registers, but also small things of all kinds,”McCullough said. “People were trying new things all around the Wright brothers, and it was a very stimulating atmosphere.”

The book focuses not only on the brothers, but on their sister Katharine as well.

“This remarkable woman deserves to be front and center stage. She’s a very entertaining, likable character,” McCullough said. “I’m pleased to give Katharine her due time in the limelight in a book for the first time.”

Actor-director Tom Hanks’s production company Playtone is producing an HBO miniseries based on the book. In April 2016, McCullough toured the Wright Co. factory in West Dayton and recorded a video in which he saluted community efforts to restore it.

The Big Read is a partnership among the following libraries and organizations: Books and Co., Bradford Public Library, Brown Memorial Public LibraryDayton Metro LibraryFranklin-Springboro Public LibraryGreene County Public LibraryMidPointe Library SystemNew Carlisle Public LibraryProject READSinclair Community CollegeTipp City Public LibraryTroy-Miami County Public LibraryUniversity of DaytonWashington-Centerville Public LibraryWright Memorial Public Library and Wright State University Libraries.

A brochure about this year’s program is available online as a downloadable PDF document. The latest list of events is available on the Big Read’s website, and Facebook users can discuss the book on the Big Read’s Facebook page.