Page Turners kick off annual reading event

Published 10:59 am Monday, April 15, 2013

Austin’s 12th annual Page Turners event is kicking off a little earlier than usual this year.

The city-wide reading event kicks off today when more than 30 people from about a dozen local book clubs come together to discuss this year’s book — Peter Geye’s “Safe From the Sea” — with a night of discussion and Norwegian treats from 6:30 to 8 p.m. in the upper level of the Riverland Community College library.

“We thought it’d be fun to have a big book club night,” said Bonnie Rietz, co-chairwoman of the Austin Page Turners Planning Committee.

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This is the first year the Page Turners have keyed in on the book groups, and Rietz described it as a way to generate interest and get people involved.

“It’s added to the buzz,” she said.

The book club gathering will lead into the main event on Thursday, when Geye comes to Austin. He will first speak to about 90 students in Austin High School’s Christgau Hall from 10:40 to 11:30 a.m. The event is open to the public. At the event, awards for a writing competition will be given to the winning students.

Then a reception will be held at 6:30 p.m. at the Austin Public Library, followed by a presentation, questions and book signing from 7 to 8:30 p.m.

Geye is a Minneapolis native who earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Minnesota, his master’s degree from the University of New Orleans, and his PhD from Western Michigan University. “Safe from the Sea” is his first book, published last year, and revolves around a son’s struggle to reconnect with his dying father, as well as the way families interact as years pass.

“Safe From the Sea” has been well received in Austin, and Rietz suspects it’s because the story focuses on family relationships.

“It’s a pretty popular book,” she said.

The Austin Public Library has many copies of “Safe from the Sea.” The novel is being sold at Philomathian Religious Books, 309 N. Main St., and they will also be available for sale at the event Thursday night.


— Trey Mewes contributed to this report.