One Book Steamboat returns in October with ‘The Things They Carried’ |

One Book Steamboat returns in October with ‘The Things They Carried’

Nicole Inglis

— On Nov. 12, America celebrates a special Veterans Day.

On that day 50 years ago, the Vietnam War began, and the stories of tragedy and heroism of that unforgettable time are etched into history through the lens of those who lived it.

Vietnam veteran Tim O'Brien told his story in a series of short pieces about a platoon of soldiers, a collection called "The Things They Carried." The famed novel and memoir will be the centerpiece of this year's One Book Steamboat community read.

One Book Steamboat is a six-week celebration of reading and discussion organized by Bud Werner Memorial Library in partnership with local schools and Strings Music Festival.

In its third year, One Book kicks off Monday with the now traditional scavenger hunt.

Ten free copies of the book are hidden across Steamboat Springs, and clues will be printed in the Steamboat Today's News in Brief section Monday. There also are extra copies of the book for checkout at the library.

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After 10 days, the events begin, featuring live readings of parts of the book, book club discussions (including a special Southeast Asian-themed Cooks with Books), a documentary screening and the return of American Place Theatre for a workshop and performance.

American Place Theatre first came to Steamboat last year, bringing teaching artists and actors to lead workshops in the community and schools on the book "The Glass Castle."

This year's book was chosen not only because of the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War but because it, too, is an American Place Theatre title.

The Literature to Life workshop and stage presentation of "The Things They Carried" will take place Nov. 12 and 13, respectively, which will bring the themes of the book into a visceral reality through theater and interactive discussions.

Library adult programs coordinator Jennie Lay said the events are an opportunity for members of the community to come together through the common thread of good literature and thoughtful discussion of a significant, historical event.

"The library picks our community reads for their great stories, the craft of their writing and to create opportunities for discussion," Lay wrote in an email. Tim O'Brien offers us all of that in 'The Things They Carried.' It's as much a poignant story for the generations who lived through the Vietnam War as well as those who came later — the generations of Iraq and Afghanistan.

"And it can't be dismissed that Vietnam is a quickly modernizing, culturally rich country that should honestly be discussed beyond an era of war, even if that's where an American mindset may have left them."

One Book Steamboat schedule

Monday: One Book begins with a scavenger hunt for free copies of the book. Find the clues in Monday’s Steamboat Today. FREE. Various locations.

6:30 p.m. Oct. 11: Mike Forney reads “The Things They Carried” short story. FREE. Bud Werner Memorial Library.

6 p.m. Oct. 29: Book club discussion of “The Things They Carried” with Steamboat Springs High School teachers Jenny Gabriel and Deirdre Boyd. FREE. Bud Werner Memorial Library.

6:30 p.m. Nov. 1: “Vietnam War Stories” documentary screening. FREE. Bud Werner Memorial Library.

6:30 p.m. Nov. 5: Cooks with Books book club potluck and discussion of “The Things They Carried.” FREE with potluck dish (Southeast Asian theme). Bud Werner Memorial Library.

6:30 p.m. Nov. 12: Literature to Life workshop with American Place Theatre’s teaching artist Erin Ronder. FREE. Limited to 40 people, preregistration required. Bud Werner Memorial Library.

6:30 p.m. Nov. 13: Literature to Life stage presentation of “The Things They Carried.” $18. Strings Music Pavilion.

To reach Nicole Inglis, call 970-871-4204 or email

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