Iola Reads offers ‘True Grit’ novel, movie 

Iola Reads offers "True Grit" to readers, followed by a chuck wagon dinner and line dancing on March 1, then a showing of the John Wayne movie on March and a book discussion on March 7.

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February 20, 2024 - 3:24 PM

Iola Reads is providing free copies of the novel “True Grit” for readers, with a chuck wagon dinner and line dancing scheduled on March 1, a viewing of the John Wayne version of the movie on March 5 and a book discussion on March 7. Photo by Vickie Moos

The book or the movie.

A debate often follows when asked which is better. 

When it comes to the story of “True Grit,” Iola Reads is offering a chance to discover the answer for yourself. Free copies of the book are available at the library, while a showing of the movie is planned for March 5 at Iola Public Library. A book discussion follows on March 7.

Time has proven the lasting appeal of the movie, for sure. The 1969 film starring John Wayne is arguably one of the most famous Westerns to grace the screen. It was followed by a 2010 remake by the Coen brothers that holds more tightly to the source material and was praised in its own right, with some critics even calling it a superior adaptation.

But what about the book? 

Curtis Porter wrote the novel in 1968. It would go on to become a New York Times bestseller and has been compared to Mark Twain’s “Huckleberry Finn.” It’s a fictional memoir of a woman, Mattie Ross, who is just 14 when a dastardly criminal named Tom Chaney shoots down and robs her father in Fort Smith, Arkansas. 

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