The Book That Dreams Are Made of

It’s a shame in a way – but then again, not at all – that most people first come to Dashiell Hammett via Tinseltown translations of his hardboiled prose. The Glass Key. The Thin Man. The Maltese Falcon. The latter book, adapted in letter-perfect fashion for the big screen by John Huston, stands supreme. First published in 1930, the novel hatched Sam Spade, the definitive American anti-hero, and planted the seeds of a new (and seedier) society.

Scholar Richard Layman knows his Hammett. Hell, he wrote the book – six of ’em, actually – on the Hammett bibliography, and Layman leads a discussion of Falcon (the novel) in conjunction with the National Endowment for the Arts’ “Big Read” project.

Fri., Sept. 19, 7 p.m., 2008