Fresno County Public Library Announces 2015 Big Read Kickoff

Mar 13, 2015 | 2015 Articles, Every Other Book, Kathy Eide Casas, Mysteryrat's Maze

by Kathy Eide Casas

It’s that time of year again…it’s time for the Fresno County Public Library’s BIG READ!

Readers, authors, literary enthusiasts and mystery-lovers alike, mark your calendars now for the ninth Annual Big Read, kicking off this Friday, March 13, 2015, at 2:00 p.m. at Arte Americas. Located in the heart of downtown Fresno, Arte Americas is the largest Latino Cultural Arts Center in the San Joaquin Valley and the perfect venue for this kick-off event. Plan for an afternoon of fun-filled and memorable experiences at Arte Americas.

The Big Read kickoff will start at 2:00 p.m. and continue until 4:00 p.m. Big Read attendees will be intrigued and captivated with the all-time favorite, The Maltese Falcon, written by Dashiell Hammett. Learn about the ties this thriller has to Fresno and the Central Valley, as attendees are treated to the reading of this superb classic. Selected as the novel for this year’s Big Read, The Maltese Falcon, is a spellbinding detective novel written in 1930. This thriller would eventually go on to become the standard for all future detective novels. Long acclaimed as one of the best detective novels ever written, according to the Big Read, The Maltese Falcon is also, “A brilliant literary work, as well as a thriller, a love story, and a dark, dry comedy. The only criticism one could offer Hammett’s private-eye classic is that it is so much fun to read, it might be hard the first time through to realize how deeply observed and morally serious it is.” library

During the first hour of the kick-off event, a host of dignitaries will share in the live reading of The Maltese Falcon and the first 50 attendees will each receive their own copy of the novel.

Beginning at 3:00 p.m., guests will take a trip back to the 1930s, with the cool notes and hot jazz sounds of Scats on the Sly. Live performances by the Fresno Swing Dance will put attendees in the mood for a whole lotta swingin’!

The Big Read offers a series of activities and events over the course of the next month, with something for everyone to enjoy!

For a complete list of all of the activities, visit the Fresno County Library website at or

Listed below you’ll find a snapshot of some of these mystery-laden happenings:

March 13 through April 18
Woodward Park Library
On Display Cover Art with student designs of The Maltese Falcon book cover, by Doug Hansen’s Illustration class, Fresno State University.
Movie Memorabilia

March 13 through April 18
Woodward Park Library
The Maltese Falcon movie memorabilia. On loan from the collection of Sawl & Associates.

Saturday, March 14 10:00 a.m.
The Fresno Connection
Yosemite Falls Cafe
Freelance author and pulp magazine historian Warren Harris will be speaking on the Fresno case that inspired The Maltese Falcon. Reservations: (559) 431-4360 by March 12

Tuesday, March 17 7:00 p.m.
Jazz Greats from the 1930s
Wooodward Park Library
JazzFresno presents an evening of music from the 1930s featuring the music from some of the greatest names in Jazz.library logo

March 21, Saturday 1:30 p.m.
Author Talk, featuring Julie Rivett, Dashiell Hammett’s granddaughter
Woodward Park Library
Hear Ms. Rivett discuss unpublished Hammett fiction, screen stories, and an unfinished Sam Spade adventure.

March 21, Saturday 7:00 p.m.
Whodunit Speakeasy
Fresno City College Library
An all-time favorite featuring 1920s and 1930s music, dance, games, costume contests and a whodunit mystery that will have guests on the edge of their seats! ‘All in the spirit of Hammett’s, The Maltese Falcon.
Hors d’oeurvres and no host bar. Rumor has it a crime may occur– be prepared!’

March 26, Thursday 7:00 p.m.
A Talk on the Darkside: The Mind of a Psychopath
Woodward Park Library
A presentation by Fresno State Criminology Professor Dr. Eric Hickey

Monday, March 23 6:30 p.m.
Fig Garden Library
Film Noir Discussion
A discussion of film noir lead by Paul Kaser featuring clips from some of the classics.
and Thursday, April 9 at 6:30 p.m.
Sunnyside Library

Wednesday, April 1 7:00 p.m.
“How to become a Private Eye”
Woodward Park Regional Library
Instruction in the Detective Arts

Thursday, April 2 6:30 p.m.
Mystery Author Symposium
Fig Garden Library
Panel discussion by local authors featuring Sunny Frazier, Marilyn Meredith, Cora Ramos and Kings River Life Magazine’s own Lorie Ham. Hear what, how and why they write. Learn more about these authors on the KRL event page.

Live Radio Play
April 17, 18, and 19
Fresno City College Old Administration Building Auditorium
The Maltese Falcon story jumps to life in front of your eyes as a live 1940s radio broadcast. Tickets are available free of charge at all Fresno library branches.

Wednesday, April 22 at 7 p.m.
Beyond Hard-Boiled:
Politics, Sociology, and Myth in The Maltese Falcon, a talk by Professor David Borofka
Fresno City College
Old Administration Building Room 251

The Big Read is a program of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest.

Kathy Eide Casas Kathy Eide Casas is a valley native and has been involved in politics, public policy and public relations her entire career. From the U. S. and state capitols to local projects, she has been a guiding force. Most recently, Eide-Casas completed the writing for two U Turns Allowed magazines, benefiting Focus Forward. Additionally, her work has run in several other local publications, including Valley Health Magazine.


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