REPORTERS NOTEBOOK: He hopes not to add more fiber to his diet

KELLEYS ISLAND Reading is not only good for your brain, but on Kelleys Island, it could save a natio
Sandusky Register Staff
May 24, 2010

KELLEYS ISLAND

Reading is not only good for your brain, but on Kelleys Island, it could save a national figure from terrible indigestion.

David Kipen, the literature director for the National Endowment for the Arts, said he'll eat a copy of "To Kill A Mockingbird" if all 128 residents of Kelleys Island don't read the book.

The challenge to residents is part of The Big Read, a program by the NEA that asks members of communities to read the same book to inspire discussion.

Here's an excerpt from his blog, explaining how the challenge started:

"For most of the life of The Big Read, I've been wishing aloud for a town small enough and brave enough to accept the challenge of dragooning every last literate resident, without exception, into tackling its chosen book.

Once I even blogged about it: 'Someday I'd like to get a Big Read into a real microdot of a town, just a wide spot in the road where all the kids have moved away and it's just 40 or so bitter-enders and a post office -- and then notch 'em all, get 100% participation. It's nothing I'd want to make a habit of, especially as we here at the NEA grow a tad greedier for that high-hanging metropolitan fruit. But just once, for grins, it'd be nice to land The Heart is a Lonely Hunter , or Cynthia Ozick's The Shawl, on every last ever-loving nightstand in town...'

So there I was last June at Big Read orientation in Minneapolis, doing my usual kingdom-for-a-horse bit about 100 percent participation. Well, who should introduce herself but Terri from Sandusky, who said she had just such a town in her jurisdiction? Only her town wasn't a town -- it was an island."

Kelleys Island to be exact.

He's already gotten 70 pledges and needs just 58 more to do the entire island. If everyone reads the book and signs an affidavit attesting to that, he promised to return and buy them all pizza.

If not, he'll eat something a little less tasty: The book itself.

-- Jason Singer

Conscientious kitty

Josh the cat is a conscientious kitty, even if it does take him a while to get around to things. But then again, he's a cat. They do things on their own schedule.

Josh's human, Theresa Woodburn of Sandusky, wrote us the week before last to say Josh was "totally delighted by his celebrity status" upon being featured in the Register's "Simply the Best Pet" essay contest -- way back in September. "It took him a good week for his head to go down!" she wrote.

We got Josh's history wrong, though, and it was time to set things straight:

"Josh was adopted from the Humane Society of Ottawa County, 2424 E. Sand Road, Port Clinton, Ohio, which is a blessedly no-kill shelter," Woodburn wrote.

"Thankfully, they cared for three-legged Josh until I could bring him home."

Where, one presumes, he makes good use of the Register.

-- Don Lee