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Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Star Wars Reads Day Celebrates Literacy

Written by Jon Williams

If you see an influx of patrons dressed in costume and carrying lightsabers this Saturday, don’t worry. They’re just there to participate in Star Wars Reads Day, an international event to celebrate reading and promote literacy.

The Star Wars franchise is most well known, of course, for the movies: the original trilogy of A New Hope (1977), The Empire Strikes Back (1980), and Return of the Jedi (1983), and the prequel trilogy of The Phantom Menace (1999), Attack of the Clones (2002), and Revenge of the Sith (2005). The animated The Clone Wars also played in theatres in 2008, paving the way for a television series that spanned five seasons before ending earlier this year. And of course, it’s common knowledge that a new trilogy is on the horizon, with the first installment slated for release in May of 2015.

While the films will always be what comes to mind first when someone mentions Star Wars, there’s no doubt that the books have expanded the universe and provided many hours of adventure for fans of all ages. However, that wasn’t always the case. Although the original trilogy created a huge number of fans for all things Star Wars, fandom went into a “dark time” following the release of Return of the Jedi in 1983, a period of time when there was little new material to satisfy the craving for more. That period was brought to a screeching halt in 1991 with the publication of Heir to the Empire, the first of a three-book series by acclaimed sci-fi author Timothy Zahn.

Since then, the literary reach of Star Wars has exploded, with books filling out the timeline from 25,000 years prior to the events of the original movie to nearly 50 years after. Along the way, there’s been something for just about everyone. Interested in the history of the Millennium Falcon? Fan of Han Solo or Obi-Wan Kenobi? Want to know the origin of Emperor Palpatine? Like zombies? All of these stories and more are available.

With the announcement of more movies leaving the stability of the Expanded Universe timeline in doubt, new books focus on eras that won’t be affected by the new trilogy. The most recent addition, Razor’s Edge, details Princess Leia’s struggle to establish a new base for the fledgling Rebel Alliance. Two entries are currently scheduled for 2014: Honor Among Thieves will begin a new series detailing the exploits of Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, and Princess Leia after the destruction of the Death Star, while Lockdown will follow Darth Maul on a mission for his dark master.

These titles will be in high demand for Star Wars Reads Day on Saturday, but Star Wars audiobooks are always a big hit. Be sure to SmartBrowse ‘Star Wars’ on our homepage for a complete selection of titles we offer, and to stay up-to-date with new titles as they’re announced.

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