Blythewood Reads Honors Vets

‘Eli the Good’ Featured at Sept. 22 Event

BLYTHEWOOD (Sept. 1, 2016) – Last May, the Blythewood community came together in solidarity to remember fallen service members by hosting the Wall that Heals, a memorial honoring those who died during the Vietnam War. Fiona Smith, Library Associate at the Blythewood Library, watched as the community embraced one another and shared memories of their past.

In an effort to keep the camaraderie alive, she has challenged Blythewood to read “Eli the Good,” a book that tells the story of the aftermath of Vietnam on a small Southern town. She hopes the public will join her for the Blythewood Reads event at the Langford-Nord House on Sept. 22 to discuss the book and share their own wartime stories.

“The book is about a Vietnam vet who has returned to a community like Blythewood. He comes back – it’s 1975 – and his sister moves in with the family. She’d been a protester,” Smith said. “We decided [the book] would be good because a lot of people reminisced about that era. They liked hearing about the ’70s and remembered things that had happened to them. We also thought it might inform younger people about the conflicts that went on.”

The event is shaping up to be larger than expected, Smith said. “Eli the Good” has been checked out roughly 45 times and five different book clubs have expressed interest in attending. Volunteers are bringing cookies and tray bakes, and the library is serving water and sweet tea to attendees.

“The house itself has several spaces where we can have groups, but there are also picnic tables outside so we can spread out. We’re going to have small groups with facilitators so people aren’t intimidated. We’ve got five facilitators so far, and we’ll look out for another one or two just in case,” Smith said.

She is hoping the high schools get involved come November and use the book for their lessons on the Vietnam War. The goal is to keep people engaged by learning about the past and to strengthen the bond within the Blythewood community. Smith hopes to continue Blythewood Reads in the future and to find a new book to engross Blythewood’s bookworms.

Blythewood Reads will be hosted at the Langford-Nord House on Sept. 22 at 7:30 p.m.