The Big Read focuses on The Bear

Lewis & Clark Library celebrates Andrew Krivak's acclaimed novel

New & Notable

As part of the Big Read, the Lewis & Clark Library in Helena is celebrating Andrew Krivak’s The Bear through a series of discussions, lectures, films, programs and events.

The Lewis & Clark Library's Big Read program focuses on The Bear by Andrew Krivak.
The Lewis & Clark Library’s Big Read program focuses on The Bear by Andrew Krivak.

The library was one of 62 recipients nationwide of a NEA Big Read Grant – the 16th in the library’s history.

The series began with the new moon in September and ends with October’s full moon. Highlights include an author event with Krivak, 7 p.m. Oct. 26 at St. Paul’s United Methodist Church on Lawrence Street. Other titles by Krivak will be for sale at the event, including his latest, Like the Appearance of Horses.  A signing will follow the free presentation.

The Washington Post describes The Bear as “Lyrical… Gorgeous… Krivak’s serene and contemplative novel invites us to consider a vision of time as circular, of existence as grand and eternal.”

According to Lewis & Clark Library Adult Services Librarian Suzanne Schwichtenberg, the Big Read grant enabled the library to purchase over 1,000 copies of the book to give away, “as well as bring in the author, speakers, and experiences to our community.”

She noted that the goal of the Big Read is to create a forum for ideas and experiences to be shared, beginning with reading the same book at the same time.

“Events and discussions pull out themes and activities from the book and we encourage everyone to participate, listen, talk, and learn together,” she explains. “The NEA Big Read isn’t just about reading; it’s a meal, an art project, exploring, learning new skills, a conversation. It creates collaboration between community groups and organizations that normally might not work together.”

Among the upcoming events:

  • Wildlife Photography by Lea Frye, on display through October at the library.
  • An Inconvenient Grizzly with Greg Smith, 6:30 p.m. Oct. 3 in the Large Community Room; Smith lives in Bozeman and was a Ranger Naturalist and Backcountry Ranger in Glacier National Park for nearly 20 years.
  • Becoming an Outdoors Woman (BOW) Workshop: Maps & Compass, 1-5 p.m. Oct. 7 in the Large Community Room. Learn basic navigation skills using map and compass to find your way from Fish, Wildlife & Parks staff. Registration is required; sign up at
  • The Resurgent Wild with Christopher Preston, 6:30 p.m. Oct. 10 at Helena College, 1115 N. Roberts. Wild nature fills the mythology of the American West. But is the wild disappearing? Preston teaches environmental philosophy at the University of Montana.
  • Solar Eclipse Shadow Viewing, 9-11:30 a.m. Oct. 14 at the library; the library will provide supplies to see eclipse shadows with paper and other supplies.
  • Mindfulness in Nature, Sessions 1 and 2, 2-3:30 p.m. Oct. 14-15 at the Pioneer Cabin in Reeder’s Alley; registration is required for both sessions, which are led by Ashley Martens, an experienced naturalist and mindfulness guide.
  • International Observe the Moon Night Event, 6:30 p.m. Oct. 21, at the Lewis & Clark Library. Dr. Kelly Cline of Carroll College discusses lunar science and exploration.
  • Storytelling: The Power to Connect Our World, 11 a.m. Oct. 28 at the library. Using her experience working on documentary film projects, Lailani Upham leads participants through a discussion on the creative and healing process of storytelling.

The Big Read also includes films, book discussions, star gazing and full-moon parties.

For Schwichtenberg, seeing people interact and connect is the best part of the experience. “The excitement is contagious! The NEA Big Read gets people talking about their memories of reading a book for the first time, or their reactions to a new book. Readers connect over their likes and dislikes of characters, the story, the writing, and discover they are not alone. That connection between people is one of the most powerful experiences the NEA Big Read provides.”

For the complete schedule, head to