is pushing to make the Town of Oyster Bay into one big summer reading club.
With the help of librarians across Oyster Bay, Alesia's program is encouraging residents to read "The Great Gatsby," F. Scott Fitzgerald's 20th Century masterpiece of love and death set amid the excesses of the Jazz Age.
At last week's town board meeting, Alesia announced the kick-off of the town-wide summer reading project called "One Town, One Book: Oyster Bay Reads." It is part of a larger national movement seeking to challenge communities to read the same book and discuss reaction with friends and families.
The goal, said Alesia, is to promote literacy while creating a great sense of community within Oyster Bay.
"Gatsby" makes all sorts of sense for the program. Alesia, who admitted to being a "big reader" since she was a child, said the novel is widely accessible, has nearby local connections and offers many parallels between the the Roaring Twenties and today.
The setting for the novel was the Gold Coast of Long Island, where the Fitzgerald's Gatsby represented the shady "new money" of "West Egg," while his love interest, Daisy Buchanan, was from the old-monied set of "East Egg" Scholars believe the opposing mansions face each other in the author's mind across Manhasset Bay, perhaps Sands Point and Kings Point, or Manhasset and Great Neck. Fitzgerald moved to Great Neck in 1922. He died in 1940.
All of it is reminiscent of communities in the Town of Oyster Bay, as well. Alesia has enlisted the help of each of the town's local libraries, including Plainview's, to help coordinate the program. The ultimate goal will be to have small and large group discussions about the work and how it is still relevant in American society.
The added bonus is that you'll be ahead of the curve. The latest movie version of "Gatsby," starring Leonardo DiCaprio as the mysterious Long Island party boy, is scheduled to come out in December.