An acclaimed investigation into the conditions and effects of factory farms has been selected as the 2012 title for the community reading program known as Linn Area Reads. “Righteous Porkchop: Finding a Life and Good Food Beyond Factory Farms” by Nicolette Hahn Niman will be the centerpiece of this year’s programming. Linn Area Reads is a program of the Metro Library Network, which is made up of the Cedar Rapids, Marion, and Hiawatha Public Libraries. The kickoff is tonight at all the participating area libraries. Niman was the senior attorney for Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s environmental group Waterkeeper and was quickly immersed in the world of factory farms. Horrified by what she found, she began a passionate fight to reform the industry. “Righteous Porkchop” is an account of the troubling practices of industrial animal operations. Hahn Niman also offers alternatives for more sustainable livestock farming and recounts her personal love story along the way. Niman will give a presentation at 7 p.m. May 11 at the Hotel at Kirkwood as the finale event of the Linn Area Reads program. Other Linn Area Reads events are as follows. l Book discussions will be held for the next four Thursdays at 6:30 p.m. at Barnes & Noble, 333 Collins Rd. NE, Building 1. l On April 14 at 2 p.m. at the Marion Public Library, 1095 Sixth Ave., Marion, The Gazette will host a panel discussion entitled “Beyond Factory Farms.” l On April 22 from 1 to 5 p.m., a “Farm to Market” vendor fair will be held at Westdale Mall, 2600 Edgewood Rd. NE, to help people learn more about local food production. l Seven of the Linn Area Reads organizers will be participating in an ongoing blog conversation about the book and the issues it raises at http://linnareareads.blogspot.com. Linn Area Reads is supported by Barnes & Noble Booksellers, Friends of the Cedar Rapids Public Library, Friends of the Hiawatha Public Library, Friends of the Marion Public Library, The Gazette, the Giacoletto Foundation, the University of Iowa’s Hancher, and the Metro Library Network.