"The Adventures of Tom Sawyer" has been selected as the One Book for Two Cities in this year's Champaign-Urbana Reading Program.
Published in 1876, Mark Twain's first novel may have been among the first books on offer at Champaign-Urbana's fledgling free libraries, a press release said.
The Champaign Public Library opened in 1876; the Urbana Free Library was celebrating its second birthday.
Along with knowing Twain from his earlier writings, some residents would have seen the popular author in person not so long before that.
In December 1871, Twain delivered one of his legendary lectures at Barrett Hall in Champaign, according to the press release.
With a theme of Two Cities, One Book, CU Reading is meant to encourage everyone in the cities to join in reading and discussing the same book in September.
Events will kick off with a talk by Twain scholar Elliot Engel at 2 p.m. Sept. 30 at the Champaign Public Library.
The complete event schedule is available at http://www.cureading.org .
Both libraries have a good supply of books to loan. The title also is available as a free eBook through My Media Mall, the libraries' eBook catalog. Readers will also be able to follow Tom Sawyer online via Twitter during October, as he tweets about his adventures.
A number of book discussions will be offered for the public. Local clubs are encouraged to discuss the book at their own meetings. To facilitate that, book-club kits containing 10 copies of the book will be available at the Champaign library or adult services at the Urbana library.
CU Reading is made possible with support from the Champaign Public Library Friends and the Friends of the Urbana Free Library.
For information, call 403-2070 or 367-4405.