Join us this winter for Wilmette Reads, an all new reading series for adults and teens. We'll be reading together, sharing books, enjoying events, and showing off our new Wilmette Reads swag.
Wilmette Reads begins Tuesday, January 2.
How to Participate
Take part in the way that makes sense for you. We’ll wrap the whole thing up with a celebration at the end of February!
To get started, stop by the Recent Arrivals Desk and pick out your selected swag and activity guide. You can collect a badge for each Wilmette Reads activity you participate in.
- Report on your reading with our online form
- Report in-person at the Recent Arrivals Desk
- Attend a Wilmette Reads book discussion or book chat
- Check out The Sentence or another of our suggested titles
- Attend one of our selected programs
Make sure to grab a badge for each activity you take part in!
We'll wrap up Wilmette Reads with a party on February 23. Stay tuned for full details and save the date!
Every Wilmette Reads participant gets to choose a Library Super User tote bag or super cozy winter hat when they sign up for Wilmette Reads. Show your support for the library all over town, and you can decorate your items with badges you collect for completing Wilmette Reads activities! Items are available while supplies last; visit the Recent Arrivals Desk to get started! Participants are limited to one item of their choosing.
What We're Reading
We’ve selected titles we’re excited to explore—Louise Erdrich’s The Sentence, as well as six additional titles that are thematically similar but tonally different. You’re also welcome to read whatever strikes your fancy! Join us at a book discussion to share your thoughts on The Sentence or anything else you’ve been reading this winter.
The Rediscovery of America
A sweeping and overdue retelling of U.S. history that recognizes that Native Americans are essential to understanding the evolution of modern America
The most enduring feature of U.S. history is the presence of Native Americans, yet most histories focus on Europeans and their descendants. This long practice of ignoring Indigenous history is changing, however, with a new generation of scholars insists that any full American history address the struggle, survival, and resurgence of American Indian nations. Indigenous history is essential to understanding the evolution of modern America.
Ned Blackhawk interweaves five centuries of Native and non‑Native histories, from Spanish colonial exploration to the rise of Native American self-determination in the late twentieth century. In this transformative synthesis he shows that
* European colonization in the 1600s was never a predetermined success;
* Native nations helped shape England's crisis of empire;
* the first shots of the American Revolution were prompted by Indian affairs in the interior;
* California Indians targeted by federally funded militias were among the first casualties of the Civil War;
* the Union victory forever recalibrated Native communities across the West;
* twentieth-century reservation activists refashioned American law and policy.
Blackhawk's retelling of U.S. history acknowledges the enduring power, agency, and survival of Indigenous peoples, yielding a truer account of the United States and revealing anew the varied meanings of America.
An Indigenous Peoples' History of the United States
New York Times Bestseller
Now part of the HBO docuseries "Exterminate All the Brutes," written and directed by Raoul Peck
Recipient of the American Book Award
The first history of the United States told from the perspective of indigenous peoples
Today in the United States, there are more than five hundred federally recognized Indigenous nations comprising nearly three million people, descendants of the fifteen million Native people who once inhabited this land. The centuries-long genocidal program of the US settler-colonial regimen has largely been omitted from history. Now, for the first time, acclaimed historian and activist Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz offers a history of the United States told from the perspective of Indigenous peoples and reveals how Native Americans, for centuries, actively resisted expansion of the US empire.
With growing support for movements such as the campaign to abolish Columbus Day and replace it with Indigenous Peoples’ Day and the Dakota Access Pipeline protest led by the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States is an essential resource providing historical threads that are crucial for understanding the present. In An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States, Dunbar-Ortiz adroitly challenges the founding myth of the United States and shows how policy against the Indigenous peoples was colonialist and designed to seize the territories of the original inhabitants, displacing or eliminating them. And as Dunbar-Ortiz reveals, this policy was praised in popular culture, through writers like James Fenimore Cooper and Walt Whitman, and in the highest offices of government and the military. Shockingly, as the genocidal policy reached its zenith under President Andrew Jackson, its ruthlessness was best articulated by US Army general Thomas S. Jesup, who, in 1836, wrote of the Seminoles: “The country can be rid of them only by exterminating them.”
Spanning more than four hundred years, this classic bottom-up peoples’ history radically reframes US history and explodes the silences that have haunted our national narrative.
An Indigenous Peoples' History of the United States is a 2015 PEN Oakland-Josephine Miles Award for Excellence in Literature.
Words are My Matter
Hard times are coming, when we'll be wanting the voices of writers who can see alternatives to how we live now, can see through our fear-stricken society and its obsessive technologies to other ways of being, and even imagine real grounds for hope. We'll need writers who can remember freedom -- poets, visionaries -- realists of a larger reality. . . .
Words Are My Matter collects talks, essays, introductions to beloved books, and book reviews by Ursula K. Le Guin, one of our fore- most public literary intellectuals. Words Are My Matter is essential reading. It is a manual for investigating the depth and breadth of con- temporary fiction -- and, through the lens of deep considerations of contemporary writing, a way of exploring the world we are all living in.
We need writers who know the difference between production of a market commodity and the practice of an art. Developing written material to suit sales strategies in order to maximise corporate profit and advertising revenue is not the same thing as responsible book publishing or authorship." *
Le Guin is one of those authors and this is another of her moments. She has published more than sixty books ranging from fiction to nonfiction, children's books to poetry, and has received many lifetime achievement awards including the Library of Congress Living Legends award. This year her publications include three survey collections: The Found and the Lost: The Collected Novellas; The Unreal and the Real: The Selected Short Stories; and The Complete Orsinia: Malafrena, Stories and Songs (Library of America).
* From "Freedom" A speech in acceptance of the National Book Foundation Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters.
The Lions of Fifth Avenue
A Good Morning America Book Club Pick and New York Times bestseller!
"A page-turner for booklovers everywhere! . . . A story of family ties, their lost dreams, and the redemption that comes from discovering truth."--Adriana Trigiani, bestselling author of The Shoemaker's Wife
In New York Times bestselling author Fiona Davis's latest historical novel, a series of book thefts roils the iconic New York Public Library, leaving two generations of strong-willed women to pick up the pieces.
It's 1913, and on the surface, Laura Lyons couldn't ask for more out of life--her husband is the superintendent of the New York Public Library, allowing their family to live in an apartment within the grand building, and they are blessed with two children. But headstrong, passionate Laura wants more, and when she takes a leap of faith and applies to the Columbia Journalism School, her world is cracked wide open. As her studies take her all over the city, she is drawn to Greenwich Village's new bohemia, where she discovers the Heterodoxy Club--a radical, all-female group in which women are encouraged to loudly share their opinions on suffrage, birth control, and women's rights. Soon, Laura finds herself questioning her traditional role as wife and mother. But when valuable books are stolen back at the library, threatening the home and institution she loves, she's forced to confront her shifting priorities head on . . . and may just lose everything in the process.
Eighty years later, in 1993, Sadie Donovan struggles with the legacy of her grandmother, the famous essayist Laura Lyons, especially after she's wrangled her dream job as a curator at the New York Public Library. But the job quickly becomes a nightmare when rare manuscripts, notes, and books for the exhibit Sadie's running begin disappearing from the library's famous Berg Collection. Determined to save both the exhibit and her career, the typically risk-adverse Sadie teams up with a private security expert to uncover the culprit. However, things unexpectedly become personal when the investigation leads Sadie to some unwelcome truths about her own family heritage--truths that shed new light on the biggest tragedy in the library's history.
The Left-Handed Booksellers of London
A girl's quest to find her father leads her to an extended family of magical fighting booksellers who police the mythical Old World of England when it intrudes on the modern world. From the bestselling master of teen fantasy, Garth Nix.
In a slightly alternate London in 1983, Susan Arkshaw is looking for her father, a man she has never met. Crime boss Frank Thringley might be able to help her, but Susan doesn't get time to ask Frank any questions before he is turned to dust by the prick of a silver hatpin in the hands of the outrageously attractive Merlin.
Merlin is a young left-handed bookseller (one of the fighting ones), who with the right-handed booksellers (the intellectual ones), are an extended family of magical beings who police the mythic and legendary Old World when it intrudes on the modern world, in addition to running several bookshops.
Susan's search for her father begins with her mother's possibly misremembered or misspelt surnames, a reading room ticket, and a silver cigarette case engraved with something that might be a coat of arms.
Merlin has a quest of his own, to find the Old World entity who used ordinary criminals to kill his mother. As he and his sister, the right-handed bookseller Vivien, tread in the path of a botched or covered-up police investigation from years past, they find this quest strangely overlaps with Susan's. Who or what was her father? Susan, Merlin, and Vivien must find out, as the Old World erupts dangerously into the New.
The Neighbor Favor
A shy bookworm enlists her charming neighbor to help her score a date, not knowing he’s the obscure author she’s been corresponding with, in this sparkling and heart-fluttering romance by Kristina Forest.
Shy, bookish, and admittedly awkward, Lily Greene has always felt inadequate compared to the rest of her accomplished family, who strive for Black excellence. She dreams of becoming a children’s books editor, but she’s been frustratingly stuck in the nonfiction division for years without a promotion in sight. Lily finds escapism in her correspondences with her favorite fantasy author, and what begins as two lonely people connecting over email turns into a tentative friendship and possibly something else Lily won’t let herself entertain—until he ghosts her without a word.
Months later, Lily is still crushed, but she’s determined to get a hold of her life, starting with finding a date to her sister’s wedding. And the perfect person to help her is Nick Brown, her charming, attractive new neighbor, who she feels drawn to for reasons she can’t explain. But little does she know, Nick is an author—her favorite fantasy author.
Nick, who has his reasons for using a pen name and pushing people away, soon realizes that the beautiful, quiet girl from down the hall is the same Lily he fell in love with over email months ago. Unwilling to complicate things even more between them, he agrees to set her up with someone else, though this simple favor between two neighbors is anything but—not when he can't get her off his mind...
The Book Collectors
"Daraya is a town outside Damascus, the very spot where the Syrian Civil War began. Long a site of peaceful resistance to the Assad regimes, Daraya fell under siege in 2012. For four years, no one entered or left, and aid was blocked. Every single day, bombs fell on this place--a place of homes and families, schools and children, now emptied and broken into bits. And then a group searching for survivors stumbled upon a cache of books in the rubble. In a week, they had six thousand volumes; in a month, fifteen thousand. A sanctuary was born: a library where people could escape the blockade, a paper fortress to protect their humanity. The library offered a marvelous range of books--from Arabic poetry to American self-help, Shakespearean plays to stories of war in other times and places. The visitors shared photos and tales of their lives before the war, planned how to build a democracy, and tended the roots of their community despite shell-shocked soil. In the midst of the siege, the journalist Delphine Minoui tracked down one of the library's founders, twenty-three-year-old Ahmad. Over text messages, WhatsApp, and Facebook, Minoui came to know the young men who gathered in the library, exchanged ideas, learned English, and imagined how to shape the future, even as bombs kept falling from above. By telling their stories, Minoui makes a far-off, complicated war immediate and reveals these young men to be everyday heroes as inspiring as thebooks they read. The Book Collectors is a testament to their bravery and a celebration of the power of words"--
What You Are Looking for Is in the Library
A TIME BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR
A WASHINGTON POST BEST FEEL GOOD BOOK OF 2023
For fans of Before the Coffee Gets Cold, a charming, internationally bestselling Japanese novel about how the perfect book recommendation can change a readers' life.
What are you looking for? So asks Tokyo's most enigmatic librarian. For Sayuri Komachi is able to sense exactly what each visitor to her library is searching for and provide just the book recommendation to help them find it.
A restless retail assistant looks to gain new skills, a mother tries to overcome demotion at work after maternity leave, a conscientious accountant yearns to open an antique store, a recently retired salaryman searches for newfound purpose.
In Komachi's unique book recommendations they will find just what they need to achieve their dreams. What You Are Looking For Is in the Library is about the magic of libraries and the discovery of connection. This inspirational tale shows how, by listening to our hearts, seizing opportunity and reaching out, we too can fulfill our lifelong dreams. Which book will you recommend?
In this stunning and timely novel, Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award-winning author Louise Erdrich creates a wickedly funny ghost story, a tale of passion, of a complex marriage, and of a woman's relentless errors.
Louise Erdrich's latest novel, The Sentence, asks what we owe to the living, the dead, to the reader and to the book. A small independent bookstore in Minneapolis is haunted from November 2019 to November 2020 by the store's most annoying customer. Flora dies on All Souls' Day, but she simply won't leave the store. Tookie, who has landed a job selling books after years of incarceration that she survived by reading with murderous attention, must solve the mystery of this haunting while at the same time trying to understand all that occurs in Minneapolis during a year of grief, astonishment, isolation, and furious reckoning.
The Sentence begins on All Souls' Day 2019 and ends on All Souls' Day 2020. Its mystery and proliferating ghost stories during this one year propel a narrative as rich, emotional, and profound as anything Louise Erdrich has written.
For those who would like to purchase a copy of The Sentence, please support our local independent bookstore, The Book Stall.
Pick out a badge for each of these events that you attend. For virtual programs, just pick out a badge at the RA Desk the next time you visit the library!
Wilmette & Kenilworth in the 1950 Census Saturday, January 13, 1pm, Virtual
Armchair Travels: Chicago's Newest Waterfront Thursday, January 18, 1pm, Auditorium
The Donna Herula Trio Friday, January 19, 7pm, Auditorium
Treasures of the Uffizi Gallery Tuesday, January 30, 7pm, Virtual
Armchair Travels: West and Northwest Iceland Thursday, February 15, 1pm, Auditorium
The Apollo Trio Sunday, February 18, 2pm, Auditorium
The Golden Thirteen Wednesday, February 28, 6:30pm, Virtual
Classics & Contemporary Tuesdays, 10:30–11:30am
January 9: Autumn by Ali Smith
February 13: Giovanni's Room by James Baldwin
Read Around the World Thursday, 2–3pm
January 25: The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón
Wilmette Reads is sponsored by The Friends of the Wilmette Public Library.