YAKIMA, Wash. -- “Heroes,” the theme of part four in the eight-part PBS series “The Great American Read,” aired Sept. 25. While the series “explores and celebrates the power of reading, told through the prism of America’s 100 best-loved novels (as chosen in a national survey),” part four specifically examined books on this list that feature heroic characters.
In the themed episode focusing on heroes, “celebrities, literary experts, authors and everyday book lovers discuss why our favorite heroes are complex and relatable, from the everyday hero to the tragic and unlikely or antihero.”
“Heroes” is one of five themed episodes that examine concepts common to groups of books on the list, the other four themes being “Who Am I?,” “Villains and Monsters,” “What We Do For Love” and “Other Worlds.”
“Heroes” featured books that spanned the palettes of readers from age 8 through adult: “1984” by George Orwell, “A Confederacy of Dunces” by John Kennedy Toole, “I, Alex Cross” by James Patterson, “Catch-22” by Joseph Heller, “Charlotte’s Web” by E. B. White, “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time” by Mark Haddon, “Don Quixote” by Miguel de Cervantes, “The Help” by Kathryn Stockett, “The Giver” by Lois Lowry, “The Hunger Games” by Suzanne Collins, “The Hunt for Red October” by Tom Clancy and “Invisible Man” by Ralph Ellison.
“Heroes!” is the theme of the Yakima Symphony Orchestra’s 2018-19 season. Most YSO concerts throughout the coming months will feature music written about, by and/or inspired by heroes. Heroes (or, more specifically, superheroes) is also the theme at the Yakima Humane Society’s Adoption Open House on Saturday, where participants (superhero costumes encouraged) can learn more about the facility and programs.
Additionally, it is the theme of the fourth annual Chalk Art Festival hosted by the Downtown Association of Yakima on Oct. 13. Children are encouraged to dress up as their favorite superheroes, and artists of all ages are encouraged to express their imaginations through chalk art.
While The Great American Read was designed to “get the country reading and passionately talking about books,” its subtheme of heroes engages and takes us far beyond this admirable aspiration. Heroes have a unique capacity to elevate, inspire, connect and transform. Experience it for yourself in these community events and at an entire season of heroic symphony concerts.
• This column was written by the staff of the Yakima Symphony Orchestra. Learn more at www.ysomusic.org.