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Northern Nevadans unite in literature

by Teri Vance, Appeal Staff Writer

Creative-writing teacher Jeff Greb is showing his students how to turn real life into stories others will want to read.

And he’s counting on help from “Mountain City,” a book about a small Nevada town.

“From what I’ve read, I think this book is very approachable,” Greb said. “It’s certainly appropriate for what we’re using it for.”

Greb’s students won’t be the only ones reading the book written by Gregory Martin, who grew up in Mountain City in northeastern Nevada with a population of 33.

The book is featured in the community reading project sponsored by Western Nevada Community College and public libraries in seven counties.

The project, “One Book, Many Stories,” began Tuesday. It is designed to encourage Northern Nevadans to read the same book then gather for a discussion.

Ken Sullivan, library director for the college, helped organize the project.

“It’s a fun read,” he said. “It’s about a town that people around here can relate to.

“All the people we’ve talked to who have done a program like this say that the personality of the author is key. People around here will love ‘Mountain City’ and Gregory Martin.”

The 193-page book is a collection of vignettes of observations of the town and its inhabitants, including Martin’s Basque family.

Greb anticipates Martin’s roots in Nevada will help his students relate to the book.

“When they see a connection close to themselves, they get more out of it,” he said. He added that many of the students’ favorite book of the year is “A Man in the Wheat Field,” written by Nevada author Robert Laxalt.

“I expect the same kind of response with this book,” he said. “It’s an educational tool — if it’s close to home, they can relate.”

Although “Mountain City” is a historical account, Greb hopes Martin will help guide his students in their assignment to re-fashion history into fiction.

The reading project will culminate in March when Martin is scheduled to visit the area.

He will be at the Brewery Arts Center, 449 W. King St., at 7 p.m. March 19.

A limited number of copies of the book will be given away by area libraries, and others will be available for checkout. Copies can also be found in bookstores or online.

Schedule of author Gregory Martin’s visits:

6 p.m. March 18

Oats Park Arts Center

151 East Park St., Fallon

7 p.m. March 19

Brewery Arts Center

449 King St., Carson City

1 p.m. March 20

Jeanne Dini Yerington Cultural Center

120 North California St., Yerington

7 p.m. March 20

Carson Valley Improvement Club (Old Minden Town Hall)

1606 Esmeralda Ave., Minden