news-category: Dover Library

Fread’Em Book Talk in Dover Library Features ‘Still Alice’ by Lisa Genova

Collage featuring Still Alice Book Cover and a phot of Dr. Erin Montgomery

Gardner-Webb Professor Dr. Erin Montgomery will Lead the Discussion

By Ashley Rich, ’26 Intern for University Communications

BOILING SPRINGS, N.C.—The first Fread’Em Book Talk of the semester will be on Sept. 19 at 3 p.m. in Gardner-Webb University’s Dover Memorial Library. Dr. Erin Montgomery, assistant professor of nursing, will discuss the book, “Still Alice,” by Lisa Genova. Snacks are provided.

Instructional Librarian Katie Hartley

The event is organized by Instructional Librarian Katie Hartley. The talks are designed to create a space where students can engage with a text and its ideas with the help of other students and professionals. “We’re engaging students with information that they may or may not have already come in contact with,” she explained, “and going through some of the struggles of the art form itself and getting your point across in a creative way.”

For these presentations, Hartley asks for faculty volunteers to lead the discussions. They choose a text that is meaningful to them. “I give them the option of either doing a banned book, or doing something that speaks to their heart,” Hartley explained. “I think the best way to get people involved with a passion for reading and a passion for exploration and creative thinking is to have something that you’re passionate about to share with them.”

Though this event will center on a discussion of “Still Alice” and its contents, attendees are not required to read the book beforehand. Fread’Em talk presenters give an overview of the novel they’re discussing before presenting its content and themes, ensuring that everyone can participate in the discussion.

As a professional in the field of nursing, Montgomery selected the text for its difficult subject matter and distinct approach. “Still Alice” follows the life of 50-year-old Alice Howland as she receives a diagnosis of early onset Alzheimer’s disease and struggles to continue living her life in light of this news.

Erin Montgomery
Dr. Erin Montgomery

“This book is unique in that it is told entirely from the perspective of a person living with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease,” Montgomery shared. “I find it fascinating and humbling to read, and it has helped me examine and address my own biases towards people with dementia.”

At the book’s start, Alice is primarily focused on her professional life and achievements. As her illness progresses, however, she is forced to re-evaluate her priorities and recognize the other parts of her life that hold equal or greater importance to her work. “She realizes time is the most valuable thing she has, which is true of everyone,” Montgomery noted. “I wanted GWU students and our community to think about what really matters in their lives, and live accordingly.”

Although “Still Alice” does discuss the experiences of those with early onset Alzheimer’s, readers need not fear for their health each time they misplace a house key or a cell phone.

“One of the things most people experience while reading Still Alice is fear! I started worrying that I too might have early onset Alzheimer’s disease, because I forgot where I put my keys, couldn’t think of a word, etc.,” Montgomery reassured. “However, after I attended a talk with the author, Lisa Genova, I felt very reassured and plan to share the same information during this talk. So…don’t worry.”

Writer Ashley Rich is a Gardner-Webb English major from Etowah, N.C.

Auxiliary aids will be made available to persons with disabilities upon request 10 working days prior to the event.  Please call 704-406-4270 or email [email protected] with your request.

Gardner-Webb University is North Carolina’s recognized leader in private, Christian higher education. A Carnegie-Classified Doctoral/Professional University, GWU is home to nine colleges and schools, more than 80 undergraduate and graduate majors, and a world-class faculty. Located on a beautiful 225-acre campus in Boiling Springs, N.C., Gardner-Webb prepares graduates to impact their chosen professions, equips them with the skills to advance the frontiers of knowledge, and inspires them to make a positive and lasting difference in the lives of others. Ignite your future at Gardner-Webb.edu.

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