JACKSON, Tenn. – June 17, 2004 – John Grisham’s The Last Juror has been selected for Union University’s second annual Jackson Reads discussion series, which begins June 22.
Each week through July 20 will feature two lecturers who will lead open dialogues with the audience. The program will conclude with a panel discussion on July 27.
“The program is designed to help us build community as we talk about issues we would not be able to discuss as comfortably as in the context of a book,” said Barbara McMillin, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Union.
“I am excited about discussing The Last Juror with my students and with my neighbors. I am confident that Grisham's delightful and insightful depiction of small town Southern culture will provide us with ample opportunities to ponder many facets of our own particular culture, including racial issues, political dynamics, the role of the church and, of course, good Southern cookin’!”
The program has the support of Jackson Mayor Charles Farmer. “Any project that provokes thought and then provides an open forum for the exchange and discussion of ideas and opinions is a project worthy of endorsement,” Farmer said.
Farmer has read The Last Juror and enjoyed it very much. “I know this is a book my mother would have enjoyed reading too. She would have liked the great section on Southern food. I thought it was one of his best writings in establishing personal relationships,” he said.
The success of the last year’s program led Madison County Mayor Jerry Gist to enthusiastically lend his endorsement for the second year. “When John Grisham was asked to pick the first selection for the Today show’s book club, he chose Stephen Carter’s The Emperor of Ocean Park, which was also the first selection of Union University’s Jackson Reads program,” Gist said. “That series of lectures/discussions gave members of the community a wonderful opportunity to come together and join in thoughtful and meaningful dialogue.”
Each Tuesday evening session will be held at Union University’s Hartley Recital Hall in Jennings Hall, with the first presenter beginning at 6 p.m. followed by a second presenter at 7 p.m. Those interested in attending are encouraged to read the book prior to the first session.
“When you pick the books for your summer reading, choose The Last Juror if you have not yet read it,” Gist said. “Then mark the calendar and plan to attend the programs. A community book club is a great way to combine the joy of reading a real page turner with the intellectual stimulation of open dialogue about timely topics.”
Presenters will each bring a unique perspective from his or her discipline or profession to the discussion of ethics, law, journalism, religion and other facets of the text. The schedule of presenters is as follows:
For more information, call the College of Arts and Sciences at (731) 661-5356.