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Author Jane Smiley Headlines Series of Events
Wilmette Public Library’s 2015 One Book Program
The Wilmette Public Library’s tenth annual One Book, Everybody Reads program moves into full gear in March with a series of events that will culminate on April 26 when Pulitzer Prize-winning author Jane Smiley discusses her latest book, Some Luck. The event will take place at 2:00 p.m. at the Wilmette Junior High School, 620 Locust Road, Wilmette.
Tickets are not required for the author event. A book signing will be held following the program, and books will be available on site for purchase from The Book Stall at Chestnut Court.
Some Luck is this year’s selection for One Book, Everybody Reads, the Library’s annual community-wide reading and book discussion program, funded by the Friends of the Wilmette Public Library. Each year, local residents are encouraged to read the selected title and participate in a series of events that explore the book and its themes. The program began in 2006 and takes place each spring.
Over the course of its 10-year history, the One Book program has featured works by an extraordinary list of authors, including Pulitzer Prize winners, National Book Award winners, National Book Critics Circle Award winners, and more. Hundreds of local residents participate in the One Book, Everybody Reads program each year by reading the selected book, coming out to hear the author, and taking part in an exciting array of related programs.
“Selecting a book is challenging, but we have found that our readers are game to try new books and eager to share their insights and reactions to the book,” says Betty Giorgi, Head of the Library’s Adult Services Department and a member of the One Book committee.
“The author visit is a highlight for everyone and provides a memorable, shared reading experience,” Ms. Giorgi says. “The community response has been overwhelming, and we have seen a steady rise in participation in the One Book program over the years.” To accommodate reader interest, the Library now lends approximately 100 copies of the book in a variety of formats, including regular print and large type, audio editions, and downloadable ebooks and audiobooks.
A sweeping multi-generational novel, Some Luck is the first volume of a trilogycalled The Last Hundred Years and tells the story of Iowa farmers Rosanna and Walter Langdon and their 5 children from 1920 through 1953. With each chapter covering a single year, the saga chronicles the family’s triumphs, tragedies, dreams, realities, births, and deaths, all against a backdrop of a country undergoing tremendous social and economic change. Early Warning, the second volume in The Last Hundred Years Trilogy, will be released nationwide on April 28, just after Ms. Smiley’s visit to Wilmette, but will be available for purchase at the April 26 author event. The trilogy’s third volume will be published later in 2015 and will carry the family’s story to the year 2020.
In exploring Some Luck, this year’s robust series of programs focuses on the themes of farming, family, and the decades featured in the novel. Events will begin on March 21 and run for 5 weeks, culminating with Ms. Smiley’s visit. All events are free and open to the public, and, unless otherwise designated, will be held at the Wilmette Public Library Auditorium, 1242 Wilmette Avenue, Wilmette. Please note that some programs will be held offsite.
The 2015 One Book series begins on March 21 at 2:00 p.m. when Terra Brockman, author of The Seasons on Henry’s Farm, discusses her family’s multi-generational, biodiverse, sustainable farm in Central Illinois. Ms. Brockman and film director Ines Sommer also will preview excerpts from their upcoming documentary, A Season of Change on Henry’s Farm. Produce, jam, and herbal tea blends from Henry's Farm will be available for tasting. The Brockmans may be familiar to some area residents as they have been selling their organic vegetables and fruits at the Evanston Farmers’ Market for more than 20 years.
On March 23 at 7:00 p.m., the Library’s Fourth Monday book discussion group will feature a conversation about Some Luck. An Adult Services staff librarian will lead the discussion.
“Some Luck at the Movies with Mike” takes place on March 29 at 2:00 p.m., when independent filmmaker, author, and film studies instructor Mike Smith presents a program focusing on farm-related films. Featured clips will show how the lives of men and women living and working on farms play out against the backdrop of the harvesting and reaping cycles, creating a rich and uniquely American cinematic tapestry.
Paul Marinaro, Chicago's premier male vocalist, performs “Interpretations of the Great American Songbook, 1920s - 1950s” on April 12 at 2:00 p.m. Mr. Marinaro will offer an intimate program of selections from the Great American Songbook, focusing on the years covered in Some Luck, including material celebrating the centennials of Billie Holiday and Frank Sinatra.
A second book discussion takes place on April 14 at 10:30 a.m. when Some Luck is the selected title for the Library’s Classics and Contemporary discussion group. A staff librarian will facilitate.
On April 19 at 2:00 p.m., Northwestern University faculty member, theatre director, and renowned professional storyteller Rives Collins presents “Storytelling: The Tie That Binds.” Prof. Collins will examine multi-generational storytelling as the glue that links us with the past even as it provides a sense of identity necessary to face the future.
A tour of Historic Wagner Farm, 1510 Wagner Road, Glenview, takes place on April 22 from 1:00 to 2:30 p.m. A butter-making class will follow the tour. Registration for this event is required via the Library’s website or by calling (847) 256-6930. Those attending should meet at the main farm building, rain or shine.
Community members are invited to learn about genealogy resources at “Getting Started With Your Family Tree,” held at the Wilmette Family History Center, 2726 Lake Avenue, Wilmette, on April 23 at 1:00 p.m. This one-hour workshop will focus on the fundamentals of starting family research. Registration for this event is required via the Library’s website or by calling (847) 256-6930.
was longlisted for the 2014 National Book Award
and named one of Library Journal’s Top Ten Books of 2014
, NPR’s Best Books of 2014, and the Washington Post’s Top 50 Fiction Books of 2014. The novel was called “a lush and grounded reading experience” by Booklist and a “tour de force” by BookPage. The Chicago Tribune described the book as “audaciously delicious,” and the Philadelphia Inquirer deemed it “a treasure.”
A novelist and essayist, Jane Smiley won the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Midland Authors Award, and the Heartland Prize for her novel A Thousand Acres. She was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award in Fiction for both The Age of Grief and Moo and received theSpur Award for Best Novel of the West for her book The All-True Travels and Adventures of Lidie Newton. Her novel Horse Heaven was shortlisted for the Orange Prize, she was awarded the Friends of American Writers Prize for her novel At Paradise Gate, and she is a three-time winner of the O. Henry Award for short stories. In 1997, Ms. Smiley was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and, in 2006, she received the PEN USA Lifetime Achievement Award for Literature.
In addition to numerous other novels, Ms. Smiley has written several works of nonfiction, including Thirteen Ways of Looking at the Novel, a history and anatomy of the novel as a form, and The Man Who Invented the Computer, an account of the complex and sometimes amazing circumstances that led to one of the most important inventions of the 20th century. Ms. Smiley also has published a five volume horse series for young adults.
Community partners for the 2015 One Book program include The Book Stall at Chestnut Court, League of Women Voters of Wilmette, Make It Better, NS (Modern Luxury for the North Shore), Rotary Club of Wilmette, Village of Kenilworth, Village of Wilmette, Wilmette Beacon, Wilmette/Kenilworth Chamber of Commerce, Wilmette Harbor Rotary Club, Wilmette Life, Wilmette-Kenilworth Patch, and Wilmette Public Schools District 39.
Previous One Book selections have been Claire of the Sea Light by Edwidge Danticat (2014), Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter (2013), State of Wonder by Ann Patchett (2012), Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCann (2011), Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout (2010), The Man Who Loved China by Simon Winchester (2009), Loving Frank by Nancy Horan (2008), A Hope in the Unseen by Ron Suskind (2007), and Before You Know Kindness by Chris Bohjalian (2006).
For more information about this spring’s One Book, Everybody Reads program, visit www.wilmettelibrary.info/onebook or call (847) 256-6930.