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Sixth PLS Big Read kicks off with event at Norman’s Embassy Suites

Joy Luck Club Book CoverThe Pioneer Library System begins its sixth annual celebration of literature and reading with its PLS Big Read Kickoff, set for 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday, March 29, at the Embassy Suites Hotel and Conference Center, 2501 Conference Drive in Norman.

The event launches a month of programming centered around Amy Tan’s novel “The Joy Luck Club.” The book, published in 1989, looks the relationships of four sets of mothers and daughters who are Chinese-Americans living in San Francisco through a series of vignettes. The book received much acclaim, including being a finalist for the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award.

The kickoff will take place in the lobby and bar area of the hotel and features a variety of activities.

Traditional Chinese Dragon Dancers will perform for guests, and an interactive touch screen station presented by the University of Oklahoma Confucius Institute will show off various elements of Chinese culture. Local musicians John and Leah McGaha will perform songs throughout the evening on a guzheng, a traditional Chinese stringed instrument.

Participants in the PLS Big Read Writing Contest are especially invited to the program, where the winning entry will be announced and those authors awarded with tickets to a private brunch featuring the author at the conclusion of the month of activities. Entries for the contest will be taken until 11:59 p.m. Wednesday, March 14, through the PLS Big Read website,

Any kickoff guests who sign up for one of many book discussions offered in PLS hometown libraries during April will receive a free copy of “The Joy Luck Club” at the event.

The PLS Big Read continues through the end of April, when author Amy Tan will make a pair of appearances, at a free public program 7 p.m. April 27 at the Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History in Norman, and the private brunch at 10:30 a.m. April 28 hosted by the PLS Foundation at Moore-Norman Technology Center’s South Penn Campus. Ticket information for that program is available through the PLS Development Office at 701-7662 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

This is the sixth year for the PLS Big Read, which began as an initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts. Previous books featured include “The Grapes of Wrath,” “Bless Me Ultima,” “To Kill a Mockingbird,” “The Maltese Falcon,” and last year’s featured novel, Tim O’Brien’s “The Things They Carried.”

The PLS Big Read is made possible by major funding from the Oklahoma Humanities Council, National Endowment for the Humanities, Norman Arts Council, Pioneer Library System, Pioneer Library System Foundation, Anne and Henry Zarrow Foundation, Friends of the Norman Public Library, University of Oklahoma Outreach, University of Oklahoma College of Liberal Studies, Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, University of Oklahoma Precollegiate Programs and the Confucius Institute at the University of Oklahoma. This project was made possible, in part, by a grant from the Norman Arts Council Hotel Tax Grant Program.

Additional funding is provided by sponsors and donors from communities in the Pioneer Library System’s three-county service area.

For more information on the PLS Big Read: The Joy Luck Club, contact any local hometown PLS library or go online to

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