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‘A River Runs Through It’ a Starting Point for River-Inspired Events
Wednesday, January 26, 2022


A river runs through the Wood River Valley.

And that’s why Norman Maclean’s novella “A River Runs Through It” was selected for this winter’s BIG READ.

“We wanted to focus on the environment during this winter read,” said Martha Williams, program director for The Community Library. “This book has a definite fly-fishing focus and it dwells on family dynamics. But the river is a unifying force for the family, even though they have differences of opinions when it comes to their beliefs and lifestyles. It invites us to think about the human relationship to the natural environment through the experiences of two brothers coming of age.”

The Winter Read, which will involve libraries in Ketchum, Hailey, Bellevue and Stanley, will be accompanied by a variety of lectures and discussions. In addition, The Community library will have an exhibition in the Library Foyer called “Reel Legends: Fly-Fisherwomen of the Wood River Valley.”

The exhibition, which will be on display through March, will highlight four local women who will share objects and words about their histories and experiences on the river.

Norman Maclean’s son John Maclean, who has just written a memoir, “Home Waters: A Chronicle of Family and a River,” will discuss his and his father’s work on Wednesday, Feb. 2. Like his father’s beloved classic, his memoir chronicles a family and the land they call home as it meditates on fly fishing and life along Montana’s Blackfoot River where four generations of Macleans have fished, bonded and learned timeless lessons.

Jordan Salama will tell of his journey along the thousand-mile Rio Magdalena, which runs though the heart of Colombia from the high Andes to its mouth on the Caribbean coast on Feb. 8. The journey involves meeting biologists studying invasive hippopotamuses and a librarian who uses donkeys to haul books to rural children.

“You can learn almost everything about Colombia by traveling its river,” observed Williams.

And Heather Hansman, who told of her solo kayak trip on the Green River in Utah in the book “Downriver: Into the Future of Water in the West,” will discuss that and the future of ski towns, which she wrote about in her book “Powder Days,” on March 3.

“We’ll talk about different rivers, the health of our rivers, how important they are to us, how they impact us and what the community can do to ensure their sustainability,” said Williams.

Norman Maclean’s novella, “A River Runs Through It,” is very accessible, as it’s only a hundred pages—“very short,” said Williams.

Books are available in English and Spanish at The Community Library in book form, eBook, Nook, audiobook and eAudiobook. Books are also available at libraries in Hailey, Bellevue and Stanley.


Jan. 31—VIRTUAL KICKOFF for the 2022 Winter Read. 6 p.m. The Library’s interns will discuss their self-created projects, contests and more on Vimeo at

 Feb. 2—HOME WATERS: A CHRONICLE OF FAMILY AND A RIVER. Norman MacLean’s son John Maclean will share stories of their family and the river that bound them together. 6 p.m.

Feb. 2—Zoom discussion on Henry David Thoreau’s “Walden.” 4 p.m. Sign up at

Feb. 8—EVERY DAY THE RIVER CHANGES: FOUR WEEKS DOWN THE MAGDALENA. Jordan Salama will discuss his new travelogue on Colombia’s stories river in a virtual event that will stream in Spanish and English. 6 p.m.

Feb. 9—Zoom discussion on Annie Dillard’s “Pilgrim at Tinker Creek,” a non-fiction about the author’s explorations near her home and contemplations on nature and life. 4 p.m. Sign up at

Feb. 10—STREAM ECOLOGY: HOW RIVERS AND HUMANS INTERACT. Dr. Colden Baxter of Idaho State University, will lead this virtual event hosted by the Hailey Public Library. Learn how to participate at

Feb. 16—Zoom Discussion on “Pilgrim at Tinker Creek.” Sign up at

Feb. 16—Zoom book discussion on “A River Runs Through It” led by Jane Somerville of Stanley Community Library. 5:30 p.m.

Feb. 17—NATION BUILDING ACTIVITIES AND VISIONS. Sammy and Jessica Matsaw, co-founders of River Newe, an indigenous-owned nonprofit based in Fort Hall, will discuss nation-building activities and visions from their perspectives as a scientist and an educator. 6 p.m. Register to attend in person. Or, watch on Vimeo at

Feb. 24—RESTORING TRIBUTARY HEALTH TO STAGE ZERO RESTORATION. Brian Cluer, fluvial geomorphologist with NOAA Fisheries in the West Coast Region, will discuss this in partnership with the Wood River Land Trust. 6 p.m. Register to attend in person at Or, watch on Vimeo at

March 2—FROM THE SOURCE TO THE SEA. Rafter Bob Beckwith, of Stanley, will tell of his adventure rafting from the source of the Salmon River to the ocean during a virtual event hosted by the Stanley Community Library. 5:30 p.m.

March 3—HOW DOES WATER MATTER IN THE WEST? Heather Hansman, author of “Down River and Powder Days,” will discuss rivers and powder days in light of climate change. 6 p.m. Register to attend in person at Or, watch on Vimeo at

March 8—Zoom Book Discussion of “A River Runs Through It” led by Bellevue Public Library Director Kristin Marlar and the Winter Read Teen Interns. 5:30 p.m. at

Learn more at


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