Capital Read Book Chosen for 2012

A Good American by Alex GeorgeA Good American has been selected as the 2012 Capital Read, the communitywide reading program which is returning for its seventh consecutive year. Written by Mid-Missouri resident Alex George, the book takes place largely in a small Mid-Missouri town and mentions Jefferson City and other local places.

“In the past, the Jefferson City community has been extremely supportive of Capital Read,” said Claudia Schoonover, Assistant Director of Public Services/Collection Development. “We hope that having a local author, who has written about our area, will really inspire people to read this book and become involved with Capital Read.”

A Good American begins in 1904, when Frederick and Jette must flee her disapproving mother and go to America. They end up in New Orleans, and later find themselves, more by chance than by design, in the small town of Beatrice, Mo. Not speaking a word of English, they embark on their new life together.

Beatrice is populated with unforgettable characters: a jazz trumpeter from the Big Easy who cooks a mean gumbo, a teenage boy trapped in the body of a giant, a pretty schoolteacher who helps the young men in town learn about a lot more than just music, a minister who believes he has witnessed the Second Coming of Christ, and a malevolent, bicycle-riding dwarf.

A Good American is narrated by Frederick and Jette's grandson, James, who, in telling his ancestors' story, comes to realize he doesn't know his own story at all. From bare-knuckle prizefighting and Prohibition to sweet barbershop harmonies, the Kennedy assassination, and beyond, James's family is caught up in the sweep of history. Each new generation discovers afresh what it means to be an American. And, in the process, Frederick and Jette's progeny sometimes discover more about themselves than they had bargained for.

A variety of events are being planned as part of Capital Reading and will conclude in the fall with the opportunity to hear Alex George discuss his book and read a part of it.

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