The Herald Bulletin

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January 22, 2014

Revisiting history with Hoosier author

Hoosier novelist James Alexander Thom coming to Pendleton

PENDLETON, Ind. — The Pendleton Community Library has channeled a famous line from the movie "Field of Dreams," only with a twist: Read it and they will come.

Saturday, James Alexander Thom, a Hoosier historical novelist, is coming to town to talk about his books. According to reference librarian Christine Bellessis and Arlene Shannon, who manages adult programming, patrons were reading Thom’s books and never dreamed they would have the opportunity to meet him.

“Our book club has read his novels so we were just thrilled that he could come,” Bellessis said. “He lives in Brown County, Ind., and yet he is world renowned. Arlene found out about him and then a friend gave her his home phone number. He’s not been here before.”

The library has one of the largest book clubs in the state with 27 members in the Starry Night group and eight in the Afternoon Delight group.

Historical novels are currently on of the more popular genres. Only 1.6 percent of readers in a 2013 study conducted by M.K. Tod and endorsed by the the Historical Novel Society reported that they almost never read historical fiction. According to the survey at www.awriter of history.com, on average, 49 percent of women read historical fiction more than 50 percent of the time, versus 42 percent of men. Readers enjoy historical fiction because, in order of importance, 1) it brings the past to life, 2) it’s a great story and 3) to understand and learn without reading nonfiction.

Once Thom was on board at the library, the Pendleton Historical Museum decided to get into the act, according to Shannon. Before speaking at the library he is scheduled to speak at a luncheon at the community building, which seats about 100 people.

“This is the first time the museum has hosted a lunch for such an event,” said board president Nancy Noel. “In keeping with the time period of the presentation the menu will consist of beef stew, bread, relish tray, pie and drink. The lunch begins at 11:30 and the presentation will begin after everyone has been served.

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