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.
In selecting Of Mice and Men for this year’s Mayor’s Book Club, the Library Foundation has forged an exciting partnership with Austin Opera, who will perform Carlisle Floyd’s unique operatic adaptation of the novella in January of 2016.
Various other educational and cultural organizations, including UT’s Humanities Institute, Harry Ransom Center, Blanton Museum of Art, Paramount Theater and both Austin and Round Rock Independent School Districts, will offer related programming throughout the fall leading up to Austin Opera’s production.
Event and program details will be announced later this summer. In the meantime, copies of Of Mice and Men are available at your branch library.
Programs & Events
Reading & Conversation
Saturday, November 21 / 2:00-3:30 PM
Local actors Michael Ferstenfeld, Matt Fitzgerald, and Diana Lynn Small will perform an excerpt from Of Mice and Men. UT literature professor James Cox, Austin Opera Artistic Director and Principal Conductor Richard Buckley, and fiction writer Deb Olin Unferth will discuss Of Mice and Men and take questions from the audience. Moderated by KUT's Morning Edition Host Jennifer Stayton.
Wednesday, October 14 / 6:00-8:45 PM
Featuring Of Mice and Men (1992), starring Gary Sinise and John Malkovich, with commentary by local filmmaker Johnny McAllister. RSVP and reserve your spot!
Book Discussion Groups
led by Badgerdog teaching artists
Of Mice and Men: The Opera
Austin Opera performs Carlisle Floyd's operatic rendition of Of Mice and Men. Purchase tickets here.
About the Novel
Published in 1937, Of Mice and Men tells the story of two migrant workers seeking employment across California during the Great Depression. George Milton is intelligent but uneducated, while Lennie Small is a physically powerful man of limited mental capabilities. After being fired from an earlier job, George and Lennie find work on a new ranch, where, for a time, their dream to some day own a piece of land seems within reach. But Lennie’s brute strength and lack of self-awareness ultimately lead to tragedy, and the two men must flee again, with George as Lennie’s lone protector. While George longs to guard Lennie from retaliation, he is nevertheless forced to confront the meaning and limitations of loyalty and friendship.
About the Author
Before his death in 1968, John Steinbeck authored 27 books, including 16 novels, 6 works of nonfiction, and 5 short story collections. Along with Tortilla Flat (1935), Cannery Row (1945), and East of Eden (1952), Of Mice and Men is one of Steinbeck’s most well-known works. His perhaps best-known work, The Grapes of Wrath (1939), won a Pulitzer Prize and has sold 14 million copies since its publication. Steinbeck earned the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1962, and many of his novels are considered iconic classics in American literature. Most of Steinbeck’s stories are set in southern and central California, and frequently explore themes of fate and injustice, especially among the economically and socially challenged members of American society.
About Of Mice and Men, the Opera
Austin Opera has developed a network of cultural and educational partnerships to enhance the community experience of this unique performance. Celebrated composer Carlisle Floyd’s music and libretto vividly captures the lives of the characters, the bunkhouse, the depressed economy, and Lenny’s tragic story. Austin Opera’s production of Carlisle Floyd’s Of Mice and Men premiers in Austin on January 23, 28, and 31, 2016. For a complete list of Austin Opera educational activities surrounding Of Mice and Men, click here.
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