One Book, One Philadelphia celebrates its 15th anniversary this year with Mark Haddon’s The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. The program, featuring literary works that will promote library usage, literacy, and proactive concepts of citywide engagement and communion, strives to be inclusive and allows everyone — readers and nonreaders, theater heads, foodies — access to discuss and engage with a particular book, regardless of their backgrounds.
The lighthearted Curious Incident connects easily with all. Its protagonist, Christopher Boone, loves animals. He “knows all countries of the world, their capital cities, and every prime number up to 7,057,” writes Haddon of his smart, compassionate hero, who may be on the autism spectrum. The book's title quotes Sherlock Holmes in Arthur Conan Doyle's 1892 short story "Silver Blaze," and, like the great Sherlock, Christopher is in search of a challenging mystery with his best friends.
The Free Library of Philadelphia will open its One Book event series starting Wednesday. Here are our must-do event picks to celebrate Haddon's best-seller.
One Book, One Philadelphia Kickoff
Though Haddon, of London, can’t make the kickoff, he’ll be featured on a new video interview, while past One Book authors Lorene Cary (2003's The Price of a Child), James McBride (2004's The Color of Water), Carlos Eire (2007's Waiting for Snow in Havana), former Inquirer columnist Steve Lopez (2009's The Soloist), and Christina Baker Kline (2015's Orphan Train) will be on hand to enjoy original musical works inspired by Curious Incident that were composed by the Curtis Institute of Music's Nick DiBerardino.
7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Central Library of the Free Library, 1901 Vine St., 215-854-3514.
Christopher Boone uses compasses, protractors, and other tools to solve his Curious Case. So Paradigm Gallery offers free art classes in drawing and geometry.
Noon Jan. 29, Paradigm Gallery + Studio, 746 S. Fourth St., 215-266-0673.
Haddon never specifies Christopher’s condition in relation to autism, but critics and clinicians hail Curious Incident as an Asperger’s-based novel. Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia’s Center for Autism Research hosts a Q&A session in relation to the book’s themes.
6:30 p.m. Feb. 1, South Philadelphia Library, 1700 S. Broad St., 215-685-1866.
Wonder what it’s like to be an outsider with tales of complex relationships with household pets? Join the stand-ups of Good Good Comedy for humorous tall tales based on real-life experience.
7 p.m. Feb. 2, Good Good Comedy Theatre, 215 N. 11th St. $5, 215-339-1279.
University of Pennsylvania's Working Dog Center will bring in some of its dogs, demonstrating how they help people with disabilities, perform search and rescue, as well as other tasks. Linus, a therapy dog, will work with children while PAWS will be on hand with adoptables.
7 p.m. Feb. 8, Central Library of the Free Library, 1901 Vine St., 215-854-3514.
The only things that fascinate Christopher more than geometry and animals are the stars in the sky. See what Christopher sees, in a night hosted by the Franklin Institute's chief astronomer Derrick Pitts, with a cash bar available for adults.
6 p.m. Feb. 9 & March 9, Franklin Institute, 222 N. 20th St., 215-448-1200.
As all cooking is math with zest, Elizabette Andrade of Cooking Alchemy will instruct attendees on how to combine certain ratios for particular flavors. Plus, you can bring your results home.
6 p.m. Feb. 22, Fishtown Community Library, 1217 E. Montgomery Ave., 215-685-9990.
For the first time in its 15-year history, One Book has a large-scale theater work to go with its highlighted novel. This time, it's the 2015 Tony Award-winner for best new play, directed by twice-Tony-anointed director Marianne Elliot, and scripted by Tony-winning playwright Simon Stephens. "Working with the Free Library helps us connect fans of the book to an adaptation that stays true to the spirit of the original work," says Frances Egler, director of programming and presentations at the Kimmel Center. "It shows the power of live theater in creating the world of the novel onstage."
All events are free unless otherwise indicated. For a full list of events, go to freelibrary.org/onebook.