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    Lynchburg Reads 2013: Life of Pi by Yann Martel

    Pi Patel is an unusual boy. The son of a zoo keeper, he has an encyclopedic knowledge of animal behavior, a fervent love of stories, and practices not only his native Hinduism, but also Christianity and Islam. When Pi is sixteen, his family emigrates from India to North America aboard a Japanese cargo ship, along with their zoo animals bound for new homes.

    The ship sinks. Pi finds himself alone in a lifeboat, his only companions a hyena, an orangutan, a wounded zebra, and Richard Parker, a 450-pound Bengal tiger. Soon the tiger has dispatched all but Pi, whose fear, knowledge, and cunning allow him to coexist with Richard Parker for 227 days lost at sea. When they finally reach the coast of Mexico, Richard Parker flees to the jungle, never to be seen again. The Japanese authorities who interrogate Pi refuse to believe his story and press him to tell them "the truth." After hours of coercion, Pi tells a second story, a story much less fantastical, much more conventional-but is it more true?

    Life of Pi is at once a realistic, rousing adventure and a meta-tale of survival that explores the redemptive power of storytelling and the transformative nature of fiction. It's a story, as one character puts it, to make you believe in God.

    Awarded Man Booker Prize for Fiction (2002)
    Selection for 2003 Canada Reads program
    Awarded Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature (2004)
    Made into film, directed by Ang Lee, in 2012.  Lee was awarded the 2013 Academy Award for Best Director for Life of Pi.

    Upcoming Events

    Indian Cuisine Lynchburg Reads Dinner

    Thursday, March 14, at 6:00 p.m.
    Smith Banquet Hall, Randolph College
    Please call 455-6330 by March 6 to reserve your tickets.  $20 per person. Sponsored by Friends of the Lynchburg Library and Randolph College.

    Live Video Chat with Yann Martel

    Join us on Thursday, March 14, for a live video chat with Life of Pi's author, Yann Martel.  Taking place in the Smith Hall Theatre of Randolph College at 7:30 p.m.  This event is free and open to the public.  Sponsored by Friends of the Lynchburg Library and Randolph College.

    Art Contest

    This year’s Lynchburg Reads program of events will include an art contest calling for submissions featuring Richard Parker, the Tiger character from this year’s reading selection, Life of Pi by Yann Martel.  Entrants must be 14 years old and up. Submissions must be submitted to the Information Reference Desk at the Main Library by 5:00 p.m. on Saturday, March 23. A judging will take place by March 29, with 20 pieces selected for a display at the Main Library during the month of April and a Grand Prize of $50 awarded to one contestant in the Young Adult (14-18 yrs.) category and one in the Adult (19 and up) category. Call for Submission and Art Release forms are available at the Information Reference Desk at the Main Library.  Call 455-6317 or 455-6318 for further details.

    Life of Pi Online Book Club

    During the month of April, experience a book club in a whole new venue when you go online with our Lynchburg Reads online book club.  Featuring this year’s selection, Life of Pi by Yann Martel, we will be posting questions and moderating a discussion on a GoodReads group site, open to anyone willing to create or use an existing GoodReads, Facebook, Twitter or Google account.  Between April 1 – April 30, you can access the discussion anytime at

    "Speaking of Books" Adult Book Discussion Group

    Wednesday, April 17 at 1:00 p.m.
    Life of Pi is April's selection for the Library's adult book discussion group.  Join us as we discuss Yann Martel's work on Wednesday, April 17 at 1:00 p.m. in the Main Library's Community Meeting Room.  Light refreshment's will be served.

    Faith in the Middle of the Ocean: Panel Discussion on Religious Themes in Life of Pi

    Tuesday, April 23 at 7:00 p.m.
    Community Meeting Room, Lynchburg Public Library (Plaza)
    Featuring Discussants:
    Suzanne Bessenger, Assist. Prof., Religious Studies, Randolph College
    David Knipe, Prof. Emeritus, Languages/Cultures of Asia and Religious Studies, University of Wisconsin
    Gordon Steffey, Assoc. Prof., Religious Studies, Randolph College
    Sabita Manian, Prof., International Relations/Political Science, Lynchburg College

    Audience will have opportunity to submit questions.  Light refreshments will be served.

    Lynchburg Reads has been bringing the community of Lynchburg together through reading since 2002.  Below are a list of past Lynchburg Reads selections.  For a full history, click here.

    • Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck (2002)
    • The Color of Water: A Black Man's Tribute to His White Mother by James McBride (2003)
    • The Ballad of Frankie Silver by Sharyn McCrumb (2004)
    • Wish You Well by David Baldacci (2005)
    • Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card (2006)
    • All But My Life by Gerda Weissmann Klein (2007)
    • Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria? by Beverly Daniel Tatum (2008)
    • The Rope Walk by Carrie Brown (2009)
    • God Grew Tired of Us by John Bul Dau (2010)
    • Under the Tuscan Sun by Frances Mayes (2011)
    • The Virginia Plan: William B. Thalhimer and a Rescue from Nazi Germany by Robert H. Gillette (2012)
    Average: 5 (1.0 vote)