“Shiloh” discussion on Sept. 12 sets stage for Easley lecture

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“Shiloh,” title story of Bobbie Ann Mason’s award-winning collection, “Shiloh and Other Stories,” will be the centerpiece of a community reading and discussion on Tuesday, September 12, 6:30 to 8:00 pm, at the Calloway County Public Library, 710 Main Street in Murray. Dr. Staci Stone, Professor in Murray State University’s College of Humanities and Fine Arts, will facilitate the discussion. The event is free and the public is welcome, whether or not they have read the 13-page short story.

First published in The New Yorker, “Shiloh” explores the nascent unrest in Norma Jean and Leroy Moffitt’s marriage. When an accident sidelines Leroy, he can no longer drive an 18-wheeler to make a living. Recuperating at home, he sees Norma Jean, his wife of 18 years, from a new perspective.

Leroy considers her new-found interests in weight training, cooking exotic foods, and taking a composition course at the local community college as strange behavior. His meddling mother-in-law, Mabel, agrees. She suggests a weekend getaway to the Shiloh Battlefield, where she and her husband honeymooned, as a way to quell the unrest in her daughter’s marriage.

Dr. Staci Stone is looking forward to guiding the library discussion on September 12. “I’ve taught “Shiloh” to Murray State students for years, and the students from this area often make personal connections to the story,” she said. “They understand the characters’ attitudes and are familiar with the settings, such as the Tennessee battleground of the story’s title.”

The community reading event of “Shiloh” sets the stage for the inaugural Easley Lecture Series at Murray State University. Renowned Kentucky author Bobbie Ann Mason, a native of Graves County, will launch the annual lecture series on September 19, at 7 pm in the Curris Center, with a presentation entitled “Making Fiction Out of History.”

According to Melissa Easley, she and her husband both admired Bobbie Ann Mason’s writings. “Sid had a passion for history and a sense of place, and Dr. Mason writes about her Western Kentucky roots and the rich history of this special place,” Mrs. Easley said.

For more information about the community reading event of the story “Shiloh,” on September 12 at 6:30 pm, contact Sandy Linn at Calloway County Public Library. She can be reached at (270)753-2288 Ext. 111 or sandy.linn@callowaycountylibrary.org.

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