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Find a book and take a look

I’ve been reading for a long time — a long time. My mother told me that when I was about 3, I would write out random letters and say, “That spells ‘car.’” She would say, “No, it doesn’t,” and I would say, “What, then?” and she would write out the word. A few thousand rounds of this game later, she eventually taught me how to read.

When I was in third grade, I told her that I didn’t need to keep going to school because I could learn anything I needed to know by reading. (Yeah, right. Forty years later…)

Although I still have a lot to learn about a lot of things, there was a bit of truth in that thought. Reading can take you anywhere, show you anything and teach you anything you would want to know.

Today, Demopolis joins the rest of the state in taking part in “The Big Read.” The Big Read is kind of a party, and everyone is invited.

Across the state, we are all reading “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer,” a great novel that pretty much anyone can relate to, but it’s more than a great big reading club.

In Demopolis, we will have picket-painting contests and a scavenger hunt. Prizes will be given out today, and lots of other fun — and free — events will be held as part of “The Big Read.”

When I first heard about The Big Read and its focus on Tom Sawyer, I immediately thought of my friend at Murray State, Bob Valentine. Bob has been doing one-man shows impersonating Mark Twain for years, and I thought it would be great to bring him down to my hometown and let you get a chance to see him perform. Library director Morgan Grimes made the call, the NEA grant and the Friends of the Library got the money together, and he will be at the library today from 1 to 3 and performing his one-man show at the DHS auditorium tonight at 7— all for free.

I don’t know if you’ve read “Tom Sawyer” yet or not, or if you enjoyed it if you did. This is a great chance to dust it off and read or re-read it and find some things that you may have missed the first time through.

If you don’t like Tom Sawyer, find something else to read or re-read. Treat yourself to the fun — the gift — of reading. It is a gift that you can treasure throughout your life.

David B. Snow is the managing editor of the Demopolis Times.