@CHPL: Great American Read Panel Discussion: "Heroes"

Thursday July 12th 6:30pm-8pm at Chapel Hill Public Library

The Great American Read is an eight-part series that explores and celebrates the power of reading, told through the prism of America’s 100 best-loved novels. CHPL are hosting a series of panel discussions based on the five themes in the series: What We Do For Love, Heroes, Other Worlds, Who Am I?, and Villains.

Meeting Room B.

  • Heroes
    July 12, 2018
    6:30 pm - 8:00 pm
    - OVERARCHING QUESTION: Why are we drawn to these books with heroic characters, and how do they bring us comfort, hope and inspiration?

On the panel:

  • Jack Davis, founder of The Superhero Project, a student organization devoted to helping young patients find strength through creativity
  • Cate Lineberry, Author, Be Free Or Die
  • Chris Blue, Chief of Police & Executive Director of Community Safety, Town of Chapel Hill
  • Kwame Mbalia, Author Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky
  • Al Duncan, Assistant Professor, UNC Chapel Hill Department of Classics
  • Lloyd Kramer, Director of Carolina Public Humanities, will moderate

Through our experts and advocates, we will explore how and why we are drawn to books featuring four archetypes of heroes: classic, everyday, tragic, and antihero. We also see how great heroic characters have lasting power because they offer us a template for models of courage, strength and fortitude.













·  Other Worlds
August 23, 2018
6:30 pm - 8:00 pm
- OVERARCHING QUESTION: Why are we so drawn to these novels about other worlds and how do they help us gain insight into our own world?

On the panel:

  • Jennifer Ho, Associate Director, UNC Institute for the Arts and Humanities
  • Scott Reintgen, author of Nyxia Unleashed
  • Jason Mott, Author, The Crossing and The Returned
  • Ashle Page, a NC Space Grant Research Scholar and mentor for NASA GIRLS AND BOYS
  • Susan Brown, Director of Chapel Hill Public Library and the Town of Chapel Hill's Executive Director of Community Arts & Culture, will moderate

We love to read stories that take us into worlds unlike our own because they help us make sense of our own world, allowing us to explore ourselves, our desires, our concerns and above all, humanity, through a completely different lens.

These books allow us to escape through a wardrobe door, by spacecraft or even by the power of the mind and explore the unknown. We read these stories because they take us outside our lives and yet make us confront what our roles and actions are in our own universe. They allow us to experiment and test ourselves in situations, without risk or fear of the outcome.


·  Who Am I?
September 13, 2018
6:30 pm - 8:00 pm
- OVERARCHING QUESTION: How do our favorite books about self-discovery help us navigate our life’s journey?

On the panel:

While bookstore shelves are overflowing with self-help titles, we consider that FICTION could be an even better best way to examine the universal stages of personal growth we all go through in life. While self-help books may give us great advice, in fiction we learn from vivid example and context, and have the opportunity to draw our own conclusions.

In this hour, we examine some of your best-loved books that reflect our feelings as we attempt to find our way, to figure out how we relate to others and to develop our personal moral compass. These stories help us make sense of our own lives, as we observe the characters going through their own rites of passage—at every stage of life.

Regardless of the age of the characters or how old we are when we first read these books, they all teach us important lessons about empathy and coping with change. And they give us new perspectives that we may not have had before.


Villains & Monsters
November 8, 2018
6:30 pm - 8:00 pm
- OVERARCHING QUESTION: What do our favorite books about villains, monsters, and evil forces tell us about ourselves and our darkest desires?

On the panel:

We are drawn to stories of power, lust, revenge, and evil, with characters who haunt our sleep and torture our psyches. In fact, dear readers, you have chosen so many of these tales for your list of 100 best loved novels that it begs the question: what accounts for the attraction they exert? Where does this urge to enter the mind of a killer, or descend into another person’s madness, come from?

Perhaps we choose stories featuring villains and monsters because they allow us to experience our fears safely, and put them down again when we need to get away. Whatever form they take, our fears have much to teach us, and from Shelley to Rowling the experience of reading these books is cathartic, and quite often, wicked fun.



Event date: 
Thursday, July 12, 2018 - 6:30pm to 8:00pm
Event address: 
100 Library Drive
Chapel Hill, NC 27514