By Lee Scott
Even though it doesn’t often get cold enough in Beaufort to keep us inside — thankfully — there are many entertaining events to attend around town during the winter months.
One of the events I have enjoyed since moving here is the “Books Sandwiched In” series over at USCB Center for the Arts. If you have not heard about this program, it is a weekly series of book reviews by local “celebrities,” and it is free.
The program, which is sponsored by the Friends of the Beaufort Library (and others), is meant to entice attendees to read the books presented, either before or after the program. The first two programs this year have been fantastic.
What I find interesting about this program, and why I keep going back to it, is the presenters themselves. Their enthusiasm about their chosen books is so entertaining that it makes you want to read the books. The book being reviewed the first week was “When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing” by Daniel H. Pink. It was presented by Ann Marie Adams, who was animated and amusing. She took what some would consider a dry topic and made it interesting. One of my neighbors, who sat next to me during the program, said, “I really don’t read non-fiction, but I love to hear the speakers.” After the program, she admitted she might tackle the book after all. That is an indication of the quality of Adams’ presentation.
The second session featured Russell Baxley, the president and CEO of Beaufort Memorial Hospital. The book he presented was “Five Days at Memorial” by Dr. Sheri Fink. This book detailed the events at Memorial Medical Center in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina and how everything fell apart. Baxley’s review of the book from a hospital administrator’s position was informative and spine-tingling. He could have spent another hour answering the audience’s questions regarding disaster healthcare protocols. He mentioned too that the book was 1,000 pages long, which brought a groan from some of the attendees, me included. Then it dawned on me, “Maybe there is a Reader’s Digest version.”
One of the things I have learned by attending these talks is not to worry about whether I like the book, the author, non-fiction, or fiction. What I want is to hear someone describe a book they enjoyed. Even my spouse has come to a few programs in the past, including the “Washington’s Spies,” which was enlightening. He might like the Feb. 25 presentation on “Belichick: The Making of the Greatest Football Coach of All-Time,” by Ian O’Conner.
If you are interested, the series runs through March 4. In the meantime, I have reserved “Five Days at Memorial” from the library since my quest for a Reader’s Digest version has been in vain.