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MBC 2014 update

The Mayor’s Book Club is an annual citywide reading campaign to develop a community experience through reading and discussion of shared books. Additionally, the program’s goal is to broaden and deepen an appreciation of literature in the Austin community, to increase the visibility of the Austin Public Library, and to promote its value to the entire community. 


This year, the Mayor’s Book Club has selected the latest novel from Austin author Elizabeth Crook: Monday, Monday

   Monday Monday cover      Elizabeth Crook 

Upcoming 2014 Mayor's Book Club Events 

Community Conversation  

Austin History Center
Friday, September 26 / 11:30am-1:00 pm

Nearly fifty years after the UT Tower shootings, we explore how the true events of August 1, 1966, altered the lives of witnesses, rescuers, journalists, and victims. While memorials and remembrances have been held throughout the years, this Community Conversation is a rare occasion in which victims and witnesses will speak publicly about their memories of that day. The event begins with a presentation from the Austin History Center archives, followed by a conversation with four people who experienced the event first-hand. KUT News Director Emily Donahue will moderate.

Featured Speakers:

Neal Spelce was news director at Austin’s local CBS station. Upon hearing the first report of shots fired from the UT Tower, he rushed to campus to begin a live broadcast that would last nearly two hours.

Clif Drummond was student body president at the time and was walking the West Mall when the shooting began. Drummond went to his office to grab a lab coat he could make into bandages. With his friend, Bob Higley, Drummond attempted to rescue five or six of the wounded in the midst of the gunfire.

Forrest Preece was a UT junior in 1966. He was eating lunch at Renfro’s Rexall Drugstore with his friends from the Longhorn Band. A cashier at the drugstore warned the group not to go outside because of the shooting, but the students ignored that admonition and went out of the building to stand along the sidewalk of Guadalupe. Shortly after, a bullet whizzed past Preece, striking Harry Walchuk, who was standing about four feet away and who died several hours later.

Headline Event & Reading

John H. Faulk Central Library
Saturday, September 27 / 2:00-3:30 pm

Elizabeth Crook will read from Monday, Monday, speak with readers, and answer questions about the novel. Book sales and signing to follow.

School Outreach

Tuesday, October 7

Elizabeth Crook will speak exclusively to students at Travis High School, discuss her experiences and work as a writer, and lead a writing activity.

About the Book

On an oppressively hot Monday in August of 1966, a student and former Marine named Charles Whitman hauled a footlocker of guns to the top of the University of Texas Tower and fired on pedestrians below. Sixteen people were killed and thirty-two were wounded. It was the first mass shooting of civilians on a campus in American history.

Monday, Monday follows three students caught up in the massacre. Shelly, who leaves her math class and walks directly into the path of the bullets; and two cousins, Wyatt and Jack, who heroically rush from their classrooms to help the victims. On this searing day, a relationship begins that will entangle these three young people in a forbidden love affair, an illicit pregnancy, and a vow of secrecy spanning forty years. Reunited decades after the tragedy, they must confront the event that changed their lives and ruled the lives of their children. ... Elizabeth Crook’s novel explores how we sustain ourselves and each other when the unthinkable happens. It is the story of a woman determined to make peace with herself, the people she loves, and a history that will not let her go. 

– from Sarah Crichton Books / Farrar, Straus, Giroux 

About the Author

Elizabeth Crook is the author of three previous novels: The Raven's Bridea Novel of Eliza, Sam Houston's First Wife; Promised Lands; and The Night Journal, which won a Spur Award from Western Writers of America and a WILLA Literary Award from Women Writing the West. She has written for magazines and periodicals including Texas Monthly and the Southwestern Historical Quarterly. She lives in Austin with her family.

Earlier 2014 Mayor's Book Club Events 

In May, the Austin Public Library Friends Foundation, the Texas Book Festival, the Austin Public Library, and Mayor Lee Leffingwell hosted the Mayor's Book Club Kick-Off Event at the Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum, announced this year's Mayor's Book Club Selection, and introduced Elizabeth Crook, who read from Monday, Monday and spoke with Tim Staley, executive director of the Austin Public Library Friends Foundation.

In August, Elizabeth Crook led a Writing Workshop for Adults at the Terrazas Branch Library. 

View the Fall 2014 Mayor's Book Club press release.
View the Spring 2014 Mayor's Book Club press release.

humanities texas logo   KUT radio

Previous Mayor's Book Club Selections 

Each year, hundreds of readers participate in Mayor's Book Club events, which include author readings, discussions led by authors and other well-known Austinites, writing workshops, and school visits. All events are free and the public is encouraged to attend.

 2013 - Kevin Powers' The Yellow Birds and
 Ben Fountain's Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk 

  Yellow Birds     Billy Lynn   

 2012 - Jesmyn Ward's Salvage the Bones
Event video: Jesmyn Ward 

  Salvage the Bones Cover

2011 - Siobhan Fallon's You Know When the Men Are Gone
and Tim O'Brien's The Things They Carried
Event videos:  IntroSiobhan Fallon,  Tim O'BrienQ & A

S. Fallon book cover   O'Brien book cover

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