The Lawrence Public Library cracked the covers of hundreds of books Sunday with the beginning of 2014's Read Across Lawrence program officially underway.
The library began dispensing 500 copies of "Housekeeping," by Marilynne Robinson at the Lawrence Arts Center following a lecture by Shane Lopez, a researcher on hope -- one of the book's themes.
There remained 180 free copies after the event, according to library spokesperson Jeni Daley, which saw about 120 people in attendance. The library will distribute the rest first-come, first-served at its information desk at 700 New Hampshire St. Twenty-five copies will also be available for checkout.
Sunday's function launched a series of literary events centered around Robinson's acclaimed novel, first published in 1980, which culminate in a lecture from the author at Plymouth Congregational Church on March 6.
The next gathering will be held in conjunction with Nerd Nite Lawrence on Feb. 12 at Pachamama's, 800 New Hampshire St., with a theme of "love gone wrong, sexuality and an ode to 'Housekeeping.' "
Lopez, also a Gallup senior scientist, related three stories of individuals who overcame considerable odds to live a successful life. He said two things the stories had in common were the subjects set exciting goals for themselves and had someone helping them.
"Housekeeping" focuses on two sisters who are raised by a series of relatives in a fictional Idaho town.
"As you read this book… I want you to think about your own story and how have you gotten to where you are in life and who were the people who made those things possible," Lopez said.