Winter Reads returns to the Carver County Library in 2020.
Winter Reads is a reading program just for adults. You can sign up in person at your library or online by following the Winter Reads link at www.carverlib.org. Participants read and review books, thereby earning copies of books to take home and keep. You can turn in written reviews or use our handy online version.
At the end of the program, we’ll give away Kindle Fires as grand prizes. The Kindle Fire will enable the lucky winners to access digital content, both eBooks and eAudiobooks, through the cloudLibrary. In addition to the reading program, look for special events listed in this weekly column. Winter Reads runs from Jan. 2 through Feb. 29.
What where the best novels of 2019? Everybody has an opinion, but here are three of our favorites.
“City of Girls” by Elizabeth Gilbert. In 1940, 19-year-old Vivian Morris has just been kicked out of Vassar College, owing to her lackluster freshman-year performance. Her affluent parents send her to Manhattan to live with her Aunt Peg, who owns a flamboyant, crumbling midtown theater called the Lily Playhouse. There Vivian is introduced to an entire cosmos of unconventional and charismatic characters, from the fun-chasing showgirls to a sexy male actor, a grand-dame actress, a lady-killer writer, and no-nonsense stage manager.
But when Vivian makes a personal mistake that results in professional scandal, it turns her new world upside down in ways that it will take her years to fully understand. Ultimately, though, it leads her to a new understanding of the kind of life she craves — and the kind of freedom it takes to pursue it. It will also lead to the love of her life, a love that stands out from all the rest.
“Mrs. Everything” by Jennifer Weiner. Growing up in 1950s Detroit, they live in a perfect “Dick and Jane” house, where their roles in the family are clearly defined. Jo is the tomboy, the bookish rebel with a passion to make the world fairer. Bethie is the pretty, feminine good girl, a would-be star who enjoys the power her beauty confers and dreams of a traditional life.
But the truth ends up looking different from what the girls imagined. Jo and Bethie survive traumas and tragedies. As their lives unfold against the background of free love and Vietnam, Woodstock and women’s lib, Bethie becomes an adventure-loving wild child who dives headlong into the counterculture and is up for anything (except settling down). Meanwhile, Jo becomes a proper young mother in Connecticut, a witness to the changing world instead of a participant. Neither woman inhabits the world she dreams of, nor has a life that feels authentic or brings her joy. Is it too late for the women to finally stake a claim on happily ever after?
“The Silent Patient” by Alex Michaelides. Alicia Berenson’s life is seemingly perfect. A famous painter married to an in-demand fashion photographer, she lives in a grand house with big windows overlooking a park in one of London’s most desirable areas. One evening her husband Gabriel returns home late from a fashion shoot, and Alicia shoots him five times in the face, and then never speaks another word.
Alicia’s refusal to talk, or give any kind of explanation, turns a domestic tragedy into something far grander, a mystery that captures the public imagination and casts Alicia into notoriety. The price of her art skyrockets, and she, the silent patient, is hidden away from the tabloids and spotlight at the Grove, a secure forensic unit in North London. Theo Faber is a criminal psychotherapist who has waited a long time for the opportunity to work with Alicia. His determination to get her to talk and unravel the mystery of why she shot her husband takes him down a twisting path into his own motivations — a search for the truth that threatens to consume him.
Tails for Reading: 10:30 a.m. to noon, Saturday, Jan. 4. Preschool and elementary school age children are welcome to read books aloud to specially trained therapy dogs to encourage confidence in reading. Presented by North Star Therapy Animals. Children read for a 15-minute session on a first-come, first-served basis. No registration required.
Creating Mindfulness: 1:30 to 4 p.m., Sunday, Jan. 5. Start the new year with mindfulness. We’ll decorate a box with collage personalized to you and share ideas for filling it with items to create calm and relieve stress. We’ll also have book lists to help you start on winter reading. Sponsored by the Library Foundation of Carver County. Registration required.
ECFE on Wheels: 11:30 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 7. For ages birth to 5. Registration for each child is required. Parent/guardian needs to stay with children. Parent education staff provides a free ECFE experience for families, caregivers and children ages birth to 5 to share together. There will be circle time, songs, an art activity and literacy take-home project. Please register each child who will be participating.
Local Author Bookshelf Live Read: 10:30 a.m. to noon, Saturday, Jan. 4. Hear a story sample and find a new favorite local author. Chaska Community Cable will record the session. To participate in reading, authors must have a book in our local author collection.
ECFE on Wheels: 11:30 a.m. to 12:15 p.m., Wednesday, Jan. 8. For ages birth to 5. Registration for each child per event session is required. Parent/guardian needs to stay with children. Parent education staff provides a free ECFE experience for families, caregivers and children ages birth to 5 to share together. There will be circle time, songs, an art activity and literacy take-home project.
Lapsit Storytime: 10 :30 a.m. Thursday, Chanhassen. For ages birth to 18 months. Babies and their caregivers share quality time in a 20-minute session designed to encourage language development through board books and movement activities, followed by time for visiting and play.
Patrick Jones is branch manager for the Chanhassen and Victoria libraries. He can be reached at email@example.com.