“Hillbilly Elegy” was selected as the feature book for the Findlay-Hancock County Public Library’s 2018 CommunityREAD. J.D. Vance, New York Times Best-Selling Author of Hillbilly Elegy, visited Hancock County on Thursday, March 22 2018 during CommunityREAD at a sold-out public presentation at the Marathon Center for the Performing Arts.
J.D. Vance is an investor, commentator, and author of the #1 New York Times best seller “Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis”, described by National Review as a “brilliant book” and by The Economist as “one of the most important” reads of 2016. Ron Howard and Brian Grazer of Imagine Entertainment have announced plans to produce a movie based on Vance’s book. The book has been on the New York Times Nonfiction Best Sellers list since July 2016.
“Hillbilly Elegy” is a passionate and personal analysis of a culture in crisis—that of white working-class Americans. The decline of this group, a demographic of our country that has been slowly disintegrating over forty years, has been reported on with growing frequency and alarm, but has never before been written about as searingly from the inside. J. D. Vance tells the true story of what a social, regional, and class decline feels like when you were born with it hung around your neck.
Raised by his working-class grandparents in Middletown, OH, Vance graduated from Middletown High School in 2003 and then immediately enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps. During his time in the Marines, he deployed to Iraq in support if Operation Iraqi Freedom.
When he finished his four-year enlistment, Vance enrolled at Ohio State University, where he studied political science and philosophy, and helped coordinate the university’s bipartisan voter education drive in 2008. After graduating college, he studied at Yale Law School, where he worked at Yale’s Veterans Legal Services Clinic, providing free legal counsel to veterans of our nation’s wars in Vietnam and Iraq. Vance earned his law degree in 2013.
After a stint at a large corporate law firm, Vance moved to San Francisco to work in the technology industry. He serves as a principal at the leading Silicon Valley venture capital firm Mithril Capital, co-founded by Peter Thiel and Ajay Roan. As an investor, Vance has taken a special interest in the biotechnology industry and other transformative sectors of the economy.
In early 2017, Vance joined as a partner in AOL founder Steve Case’s venture capital company, Revolution LLC, which concentrates on bolstering entrepreneurship and disruptive, high-growth companies outside of the sphere of Silicon Valley. He also returned home to Ohio to found Our Ohio Renewal, a nonprofit organization dedicated to addressing the state’s opioid crisis and bringing high-quality employment and educational opportunities to Ohioans.
He regularly discusses politics and public policy, having appeared on ABC, CBS, and FOX News, and currently serving as a contributor on CNN. Vance lives in Columbus, Ohio, with his wife and two dogs, where he works on his nonprofit and investment activities.
Copies of the “Hillbilly Elegy” are available for loan at the Findlay-Hancock County Public Library and will be provided to area school libraries.
CommunityREAD is a month-long community event that encourages reading and promotes the benefits of literacy. Originally created by the Findlay-Hancock County Community Foundation in 2003, the administration of CommunityREAD was assumed by the Findlay-Hancock County Public Library in 2012. Each year, a different book is chosen and read by community members during the month of March. CommunityREAD 2018 and J.D. Vances’s presentation were funded by a Findlay-Hancock County Community Foundation grant, business and private sponsors, and the library’s general fund. For further information about CommunityREAD, call the library at 419-422-1712.
Community READ History
Community READ was started in March 2003 as a way to celebrate the Community Foundation’s ten-year anniversary, bring attention to the fact that illiteracy is an issue in Findlay and Hancock County and help promote the HancockREADS endowment fund. Local residents were asked to read and discuss a book and its related themes with friends and family during March of each year. Over the years, selected adult and children’s books have included:
Previous CommunityREAD Selection
- Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom and The Fall of Freddie the Leaf by Leo Buscaglia (2003)
- The Traveler’s Gift by Andy Andrews and The Traveler’s Gift by Mark Kimball Moulton (2004)
- Rocket Boys by Homer Hickam and Blueberries for the Queen by John and Katherine Patterson (2005)
- To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee and The Other Side by Jacqueline Woodson (2006)
- Pay It Forward by Catherine Ryan Hyde and Ordinary Mary’s Extraordinary Deed written by Emily Pearson (2007)
- The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls, Bud, Not Buddy by Christopher Paul Curtis and The Lady in the Box by Ann McGovern (2008)
- Marley & Me, Marley, A Dog Like No Other, and Bad Dog, Marley! all by John Grogan (2009)
- Teach with your Heart by Erin Gruwell, The View from Saturday by E.L. Konigsburg, Thank You, Mr. Falker by Patricia Polacco and Don’t Be Silly Mrs. Millie by Judy Cox (2010)
- Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford, Best Friends Forever by Beverly Patt, A Place Where Sunflowers Grow by Amy Lee-Tai and Yoko’s Paper Cranes by Rosemary Wells (2011)
- Still Alice by Lisa Genova, The Graduation of Jake Moon by Barbara Park and Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge by Mem Fox (2012)
- The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh, The Secret Garden by Francis Hodgson Burnett, The Boy Who Grew Flowers by Jen Wojtowicz and Flower Garden by Even Bunting (2013)
- The Help by Kathryn Stockett, The Lions of Little Rock by Kristin Levine, Child of the Civil Rights Movement by Paula Young Shelton, and Raul Colon and Back of the Bus by Aaron Reynolds (2014)
- Lost in Shangri-La by Mitchell Zuckoff, I Survived: Bombing of Pearl Harbor, 1941 by Lauren Tarshis, I'm the Scariest Thing in the Jungle! by David G. Derrick, Jr., Jungle of Bones by Ben Mikaelsen (2015)
- The Book of Unknown Americans by Cristina Henriquez
- The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey. Sean Covey, Executive Vice President of Global Solutions and Partnerships for FranklinCovey, was the feature event speaker.
In December 2011, The Findlay-Hancock County Community Foundation approached the Findlay-Hancock County Public Library about assuming the administration of CommunityREAD in 2013 with the understanding that the Community Foundation would continue to support CommunityREAD through the grant process. In January 2012, the library Board of Trustees approved the library becoming the program administrator.
To view the CommunityREAD youth books, click here.