Book giveaway to kick off Lake Oswego Reads
After two years of focusing on non-fiction works, Lake Oswego Reads will venture into a post-apocalyptic world transformed by an unknown disaster next week when the program kicks off its 12th-annual series of events at the Lake Oswego Public Library.
The popular citywide reading program launches on Monday, Jan. 8, with the giveaway of a novel that has inspired nearly 30 events throughout the month of February: Lily Brooks-Dalton's "Good Morning, Midnight."
Library staff will hand out 800 complimentary copies of the book to library cardholders beginning at 6:30 p.m. on Monday, according to Program Director Cyndie Glazer, who says attendees will also be treated to book-related foods like trail mix, chai tea and caribou jerky.
Brooks-Dalton's novel unfolds as the world has come to an end — or has it? — and tells the story of two outsiders who find themselves on the fringes of civilization with no idea about what has happened.
Augustine, an aging astronomer, is isolated in a remote research post in the Arctic Circle, where he must preserve not only his own life but also that of a strange child who has wandered into his care. For astronaut Sully, the circumstances are just as grave — her spacecraft is making the long voyage home from Jupiter when mission control stops talking.
Together, they must confront an uncertain future, grappling along the way with issues of love, regret and survival.
"What I loved about this book is that when I finished it, I wanted to go talk to someone about it," Glazer says, "and that is important for a community read."
With that in mind, Lake Oswego Reads has scheduled four librarian-led book discussions in February, along with a variety of demonstrations and presentations from local and regional experts. Topics range from operating a HAM radio and making "Arctic Crawlers" to the study of glaciers and research in extreme environments. Some speakers will talk about living in space and the effects of isolation; others will look at climate change and the "moral dimensions of a planet in crisis."
On Feb. 24, Lake Oswego Fire Chief Larry Goff will talk about what to do during and after a catastrophe, while Lewis & Clark College Associate Professor Liz Safran will explore "the end of the world as we know it" on Feb. 27. Throughout the month, there will be an art show, film presentations, an "LO Speaks" event put together by the City's Youth Leadership Council and more.
Brooks-Dalton herself will visit Lake Oswego on Feb. 13 to talk about her book. She told The Review late last year that she was inspired to use space and the Arctic as settings because they are both "so desolately beautiful. And I wanted that conflict between beauty and bleakness to be a theme throughout the story."
Brooks-Dalton, who grew up in southern Vermont and currently lives in New York City, says she is deeply interested in travel, writing and motorcycles. Those passions inspired her 2015 memoir "Motorcycles I've Loved," which was a finalist for the Oregon Book Award.
"Good Morning, Midnight," which was published in 2016, is Brooks-Dalton's second novel. It was named one of the best books of the year by both the Chicago Review of Books and Shelf Awareness, and has been praised as "ambitious," "masterful" and "powerfully moving."
Glazer says that after back-to-back years of non-fiction books, "Good Morning, Midnight" is the perfect fit for 2018.
"(We) have people read books they usually wouldn't, and we feel really honored that when we announce the book, everyone just goes and reads it. It's a perfect rapport that we've built with the community," Glazer says. "Library Director Bill Baars always says that whatever book we choose also has to be well written, and that was one of the reasons we selected this one."
Indeed, "Good Morning, Midnight" quickly rose to the top of 22 books considered for the 2018 program by a steering committee composed of librarians, community leaders, high school English teachers and high school students. The committee had its work cut out for it: Last year's selection, Nathalia Holt's "Rise of the Rocket Girls," was an incredibly popular account of the women — called "human computers" — who helped launch America into space, breaking the boundaries of both gender and science along the way.
Now in its 12th year, Lake Oswego Reads is designed to strengthen civic pride, foster discussion among the city's residents and bring the community together through the common bond of reading. Most of the related events are free, thanks to the financial support of the Friends of the Lake Oswego Public Library, the Lake Oswego Rotary Club and The Lake Oswego Review.
For a full schedule, look for the special section tucked inside LO Monthly magazine, which is included in today's issue of The Review. You'll also find more information online at www.lakeoswegoreads.org.