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posted: 1/31/2010 12:01 AM

Batavia library program entertains music and history buffs

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  • Chicago actor R.J. Lindsey will portray FDR .

    Chicago actor R.J. Lindsey will portray FDR .
    Daily Herald file


"Playing with the Enemy" by Gary W. Moore is the 2010 One Book, One Batavia selection.

Batavia Public Library will offer a number of programs before the One Book, One Batavia grand finale on March 18, when Moore will give two presentations at the library, 10 S. Batavia Ave. Scheduled programs promise to entertain music buffs, history buffs, and veterans.

"Playing with the Enemy" is the story of Moore's father, Warren Eugene "Gene" Moore, who, as a young man from a small town in Illinois, had an extraordinary talent for baseball. His ability on the diamond attracted the attention of the Brooklyn Dodgers, who signed him, and Gene Moore began to dream of a professional baseball career. Then Pearl Harbor was attacked and Gene Moore enlisted in the U.S. Navy. His job - to catch for a Navy team in exhibition games to entertain the troops. Later, he was assigned to guard secret German POWs, whom he taught to play baseball.

But it was also during World War II that his dream of a career in the Majors fell apart.

After the war, the direction of Gene Moore's career took a turn, and he experienced some difficult years before accepting the new direction of his life.

"Gary Moore tells a story about real people, places, and events. His father's story didn't always go according to plan. This is a book about second chances and changing paths," said Stacey Cisneros, head of adult services.

Prior to Gary Moore's visit to Batavia, the library will host two programs and a book discussion in February, and three programs in March. A new One Book, One Batavia feature in 2010-an online book discussion about the book, which goes on live on the library Web site,, on Monday, Feb. 1.

"We know that it can be difficult for people to attend book discussions in person," Cisneros said. "By offering a book discussion online, we are hoping to involve more of the community of readers we have in Batavia."

The online book discussion will remain online through the end of March.

"This year, the library's slate of programs are both entertaining and educational, and reflect the World War II years at home and abroad," Cisneros said.

"Soldiers in Greasepaint," at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 2, will highlight the role of the USO during World War II. Singer and storyteller Donna Nowak, who toured twice with the USO, will sing songs of the big bands and tell tales of the USO during World War II.

The "Playing with the Enemy" book discussion will be held at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 9 at the library. Copies of the book are available to check out at the library.

"A Fireside Chat with Franklin D. Roosevelt" will be offered at 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 18. Chicago actor R.J. Lindsey will portray FDR talking about the New Deal, the attack on Pearl Harbor, his wife Eleanor, Winston Churchill, Joseph Stalin, and more.

In March, the library will host "World War II Radio Hour," a concert by the Batavia-based Festive Singers at 2 p.m. Sunday, March 7; an "Old Time Radio Show," featuring Those Were the Days Radio Players West, at 2 p.m. Sunday, March 14; and "World War II: A Rifleman's Perspective," with guest speaker Phil Lauricella, at 7 p.m. Monday, March 15.

Then on March 18, Gary W. Moore, author, businessman, musician, and motivational speaker, will talk about his father and his book at the library, during Books Between Bites at noon, and again at 7 p.m. Free tickets are required for the evening presentation and will be available beginning Feb. 1 at the library. Tickets are not required for Books Between Bites.

A One Book, One Batavia events schedule is now available at the library. A book discussion guide, developed by students in the Batavia High School American Literature honors class, will be available at the library at the end of February.

One Book, One Batavia is sponsored by the Friends of Batavia Public Library. All of the programs are free of charge. Reservations are required, except for Books Between Bites and the book discussions. For information and to register, call (630) 879-4777. Register online at