"PYM" Marathon Read Takes Place Sept. 12

Rhode Island College President Nancy Carriuolo, faculty, staff and students will kick off this year's Open Books-Open Minds series of events with a marathon reading of "PYM," by Mat Johnson on Thursday, Sept. 12, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., in front of the James P. Adams Library.

The goal is to bring the book to life for readers, said Anita Duneer, Open Books-Open Minds co-chair and assistant professor of English.

“We want to create a buzz around “PYM,” Duneer said. “The idea of the marathon read is that freshmen, seniors, library staff, administrators, faculty - everybody – are all brought together.”

Duneer and Open Books-Open Minds co-chair Zubeda Jalalzai, professor of English, were inspired to create a marathon read by the Mystic Seaport and the New Bedford Whaling Museum’s “Moby-Dick” marathon readings.

The reading marathon will be a cover-to-cover read and is open to the entire Rhode Island College community. There is an assigned list of readers, but anyone interested in being a part of the marathon read is invited to come and have a time slot assigned.

“It will work like an open mic night,” Duneer said.

RIC Vice President for Academic Affairs Ronald Pitt will be the first “PYM” reader at 8 a.m. President Carriuolo will read at 1 p.m. Joining them will be numerous RIC faculty, members of the Open Books-Open Minds committee, students and staff.

“PYM” is this year’s common book selection. RIC’s common book program is designed to bring together first-year students with upper-level peers, faculty, staff, administrators and alumni through book discussions, programs and activities.

The novel is the story of a man obsessed with Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym,” who embarks on a quest to retrace the steps of Poe’s narrator and in his travels encounters zombie-like creatures and global warming.

The “PYM” marathon read also is meant to encourage students to attend the other events that center on this year’s common book selection. On Thursday, Oct. 10, at 4 p.m., “PYM” author Mat Johnson will be speaking about the novel and also signing books in Alger Hall room 110.

The events culminate in the Third Annual Open Books – Open Minds Student Conference on April 11, 2014, where students inspired by big themes of the novel, “Imagination and Exploration,” will have the opportunity to become involved in academic life by presenting their work to faculty and fellow students. More information about “PYM” and other Open Books-Open Minds events can be found at http://www.ric.edu/obom/.

In the case of inclement weather, the marathon read will be held in the James P. Adams Library Reinhardt Room.