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The "Big Read" kicks off this week in the St. Croix River Valley. The idea behind the series of events, which run into May, is for people across the valley to read and discuss the novel "Love Medicine," by Minnesota author Louise Erdrich. It will include art exhibitions, a theater production, film screenings, guided nature hikes, and multiple book discussions.

Activities begin with the opening of a visual art exhibit at the ArtReach St. Croix gallery in Stillwater on Thursday, from 6 to 8 p.m. The exhibit, "Spirit, Heart, Home," is inspired by the themes of "Love Medicine".

The first book discussion will be Tuesday from 7 to 8 p.m. at the Marine Community Library in Marine on St. Croix. A full list of activities is available at ValleyReads.org or NEABigRead.org.