ROSSLAND READS – Panelists meet tonight to defend book of choice

Readers unite: Rossland Reads kicks off today with its first of four panel discussions at Café Books West.

While ski fanatics pray to the snow gods for an early season, bookworms nestle into the cooler temperatures with a good read by a warm fire.

Readers unite: Rossland Reads kicks off today with its first of four panel discussions at Café Books West.

Much like CBC’s Canada Reads, the Rossland rendition in its second year running promotes literacy by delving into four potential winning titles, which are defended by a distinguished panel.

But instead of listening to Jian Ghomeshi through the radio, enthusiasts can watch the discussion hosted by Almida Glenn Miller, author of “Tiger Dreams.”

To highlight the eight and counting book clubs in the Golden City, this year’s panel is made up of four different book club members acting as panelists.

This year’s titles include “Too Close to the Falls: A Memoir” by Catherine Gildiner, defended by Carol Markowsky; “The Woefield Poultry Collective” by Susan Juby, defended by Sarah-Jane English Christensen; “To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee, defended by Dawn Leithead; and “The Bishop’s Man” by Linden MacIntyre, defended by Francine Weigeldt.

“There’s just something nice about having the fire going and reading a book, the same way that it’s nice to have a really big snow dump and go out to the hill – it rejuvenates us,” said Carey Rudisill, chair of the Rossland Library board and member of “the no pressure book club.”

“This is a really big literary town, there’s a lot of writers, there are a lot of readers . . . but sometimes the arts scene is overshadowed.”

The event that started up as a means of promoting the local library also spurred one former panelists, teacher Christine DeMarco, to start a similar event at MacLean Elementary School.

“In smaller communities library budgets are something very special to be protected,” said Rudisill. “The library provides a place in the community that can be a social hub.”

Glenn Miller will direct panelists through a series of questions on topics such as character and setting, challenging them to recite passages that relate to their arguments.

Panelists will debate and defend their book of choice and then vote off their competitors one by one while the audience is encouraged to engage in the competition by guessing who they think will win the competition.

The first of the weekly series starts tonight from 7-8 p.m. at the bookstore on Washington Street, with others set for the same time Nov. 8, Nov. 15 and Nov. 22.

The free event, put on by the library board in conjunction with Café Books and Glenn Miller, is not just meant for those who’ve read all four books but anyone interested in dipping into the local arts scene and listening to lively discussion.

Free drip coffee, tea and goodies will be available and those looking for fancy drinks are asked to order early to avoid any noise distractions.