MUSKOKA LAKES - Each year, the Muskoka Chautauqua Reading Circle generates a reading list and develops programming around the chosen authors and books. The theme this year is Our Canada: Rocks & Roots.
From a long list of 70 titles suggested by Reading Circle members, the list will be narrowed down to six, with the chosen titles announced this Saturday, April 21, at 11 a.m. at the Port Carling library.
Muskoka Chautauqua is a vibrant arts-based community where visitors come for personal growth, enrichment and renewal. At the turn of the century, Muskoka was known as Canada’s Literary Summer Capital. In the years 1916 and 1917 conferences were held at Windermere House and Elgin House to provide study, sport and spiritual uplift.
The original Reading Circle was established in 1922. The intention of the Reading Circle was to introduce and advance the works of Canadian authors. Chautauqua weeks hosted famous authors of the day such as Bliss Carman, G.D. Roberts, E.J. Pratt and Dorothy Livesay reading from their works, accessible to their readers and discussing issues of the day. Chautauqua provided inspiration and intellectual challenge for its members.
The Reading Circle was organized into four-year cycles where suggested lists of books were given to participants, and lectures and readings would be given to enhance the assigned books. There were formal graduation ceremonies for those who read all the assigned books.
The long list for 2012 includes many well-known Canadian authors, such as Alice Munro, Farley Mowat and Pierre Burton, as well as some local titles, including two by Metroland North Media’s own Andrew Wagner Chazalon: Frontlines – the tools of the artist and The Hidden World of Huckleberry Rock.
Historically the Reading Circle was an extremely important part of the Muskoka Chautauqua, and it continues to be a very active and important aspect of today’s Chautauqua. With the revival of the Muskoka Chautauqua, the reading list developed in 2010 was the first one in 80 years.
The long list for 2012 can be viewed at muskokachautauqua.ca.