Remember book reports? Remember fidgeting in front of your fifth grade class, reciting your painstakingly crafted paragraph over your favorite book? Whatever happened to our awe of grown-up books, with tiny words and no pictures? When did our wonder over the untouchable nature of literature dissipate?

Kansas City, it’s time to go Old School.

Beginning in April and ending in mid-May, libraries across the Kansas City area are participating in the Big Read – essentially a metrowide book club, promoting the novel “Old School” by Tobias Wolff.

A myriad of events and lectures are taking place at multiple area libraries, as well as writing workshops and a contest for teenage writers. The author himself will be participating in a discussion of his book and career at the conclusion of The Big Read on May 12.

The idea behind The Big Read is to engage an entire community in the discussion and appreciation of the selected novel. A panel of librarians from the area nearly unanimously chose “Old School” as this year’s focus.

The novel is set in the year 1969 at a boy’s prep school in New England. Through an almost bleakly honest narrator, “Old School” unfolds as the story of the ambitions and disillusionment of one of the school’s aspiring writers.

While the reviews of the book have been decidedly mixed, I personally enjoyed reading it. As well as being exceptionally well-written, I found it to be a very clear, poignant portrayal of a young writer’s struggle for recognition and balance within his world of literary abandon.

A copy of “Old School” can be found at any local library, as well as most book stores. It’s a quick read, finishing out at just more than 200 pages, and is definitely worth the read, even if it’s a bit late to participate in the program itself.