Northampton, MA – February 5, 2015 – All Hamptons Read  will launch its Big Read program in celebration of The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett with a program about American Crime Fiction on Wednesday, March 4, 2015 at 7 PM at the Forbes Library. The Big Read is presented by All Hamptons Read, a collaboration of the communities of Northampton, Florence, Easthampton, Southampton and Westhampton.

All Hamptons Read was formed in 2013 when the libraries in the five communities decided to encourage their communities to read the same book and then attend discussions and events to explore the themes of the book. “All Hamptons Read is all about the power of books to bring us together and further our understanding of ourselves and our communities. It is also a celebration of reading as a cultural pastime,” said Lisa Downing, Assistant Director at the Forbes Library.

This year the committee received a “Big Read” grant from the National Endowment for the Arts to support their endeavor with additional support by Florence Bank, Easthampton Savings Bank and the friends groups of each of the participating libraries. The Maltese Falcon was chosen from the list of possible books offered by the NEA for several reasons including the popularity of mysteries, the rich history of the area in the 1920s, and the opportunity to explore the cinematic noir genre including the 1941 film adaptation of the book starring Humphrey Bogart. This film will be shown at the Academy of Music theater in Northampton in April as one of the highlights of the program series. Other events in the series include an historical presentation about the Hamptons during the late 1920s, when the book was written, and a dance with the music and the dances of the 1920s in Easthampton. There will be programs for all ages including a birds of prey program in Westhampton, a shadow puppet show in Easthampton, a forensics and crime scene program for teens in Florence, and a youth theater workshop in Southampton. The group is also holding book discussions in each of the communities.

“Maybe you are one of those people who stays up late reading a mystery novel that you just can’t put down or perhaps you are are drawn to the cynical and stylistic film noir Hollywood classics of the last century. There are lots of us out there and All Hamptons Read is a great opportunity to explore the genre in greater depth and have some fun,” said Lyn Keating, Library Director at the Westhampton Public Library.

Copies of The Maltese Falcon are available to borrow from the participating libraries. You can find a listing of all of the events on the website, [link updated 2020-05-05].