Rip Van Winkle

In  celebration of the 400th anniversary of Henry Hudson’s first contact in North America and his sailing up the Hudson River, One Book One New Paltz  selected the short classic Rip Van Winkle by Washington Irving as the 2009 community read. Rip Van Winkle was chosen because of its regional, historical, and cultural setting, as well as for the timeliness and universality of its themes, and its appeal to a large spectrum of ages.

We were pleased  to have had the involvement of many faculty, staff and students from the New Paltz Central Schools and the State University.  Teachers  included the 2009 One Book, Washington Irving’s Rip Van Winkle, in their syllabi and developed engaging relevant activities for their students.  Librarians at all the schools brought special attention to our One Book selection.  State University faculty led discussions, and cultural events focused on Rip Van Winkle, including an evening performance of Rip Van Winkle by the New Paltz High School Drama Club.

Special hats off to Rebecca Burdett at Duzine; Linda Sinforoso and Sarah Holbrook at Lenape;  MaryAnn Lis-Simmons, Sue Pereira and Ron Constable at the Middle School; and to Mary Fakler, Andrew Higgins, Chirstopher Link, Joanie Perisse,  Anne Goding, Jan Schmidt,   Sarah Wyman , Greta Winograd,  Kerry Carso, Tom Mounkhall, and Reynolds Scott-Childress  at SUNY New Paltz for their support. 

The following letter to the editor of the New Paltz Times was written by One Book One New Paltz committee member, Maryann Fallek.

     It is that time of the year, once again, where the One Book One New Paltz (OBONP) Committee invites you to join with us and others to read and talk about a particular book.  As Harper Lee once remarked, folks who participate in such an experience would “…have learned new things about themselves and about each other, discoveries that can make for lasting good will.”
The OBONP Committee agrees: good things result from a community-wide reading program. For each of the last five years, with community input, we have selected and encouraged everyone to read One Book.  We then have planned and organized various activities focused on that book. The success of our effort to foster community through shared reading and conversation has encouraged us to continue the One Book One New Paltz program in 2009.
This year, with the Quadricentennial in mind, we selected Washington Irving’s classic tale, Rip Van Winkle, for the shared reading experience.  During the week of November 15, we encourage you
to participate in engaging activities based on this story, including community book discussions, performances, a film showing/discussion and an academic panel presentation.
Staying asleep for twenty years is a fascinating thought for all of us.  Whether you are nine or ninety, you will enjoy talking about the many interesting questions that Rip Van Winkle’s experience raises about how we live our lives. What if you had slept through the American Revolution, as Rip did?  What would life be like if you slept for the next twenty years? Does hard work lead to success?  What is success?  What is work?  To what degree, do you “participate” in your own life?  Did Washington Irving portray Rip as a mostly positive or mostly negative figure?  If Rip’s partner in life, how would you have responded to him?  The questions are intriguing and endless.
We invite you to read the book, share your thoughts and learn those of your neighbors.  Benefit from and celebrate our diverse ideas.
Don’t miss this unique opportunity to discover the pleasure and power of reading and discussing a single book with others in your community.  Visit  for the details, including information about the OBONP events from November 15 through November 22.
Enrich the life of our community by participating in One Book One New Paltz. Borrow the book from Elting Memorial Library or purchase it at a bookstore on campus or in the community.
Maryann Fallek 7 Outlook Farm Drive New Paltz, NY 12561 845 255 1398

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