The cold months must bring out the bookworms in us all, or so it would seem as we currently announce two must-reads for the winter, with opportunities to explore each more thoroughly come January and February.
First up: the Baton Rouge Area Foundation announced that the 2016 Ernest J. Gaines Award for Literary Excellence is being awarded to Crystal Wilkinson for her novel Birds of Opulence. This is Wilkinson’s first novel, though two previous collections of short stories have received accolades.
The novel, set in a fictional black community in the South, describes several generations of women suffering from the multi-generational ravages of mental illness and illegitimacy. The younger generation must grapple with that legacy, fighting to transcend what feels like the inevitable gravity of familial destiny.
On January 19, Wilkinson will be accepting her award at a ceremony scheduled for 6:30 pm at the Manship Theatre. The ceremony is free, but please reserve your spot by emailing email@example.com.
Lighter reading is on order for the the East Baton Rouge Parish Library’s 2017 One Book One Community effort. This year, readers dive into Mark Twain’s Life on the Mississippi.
Twain, as most well know, was a native of Missouri and grew up surrounded by a landscape and culture dictated by the river. Steamboat traffic was brisk in his youth, and he had fond childhood memories of the riverscape. In order to write his 1883 book, Twain returned to the Mississippi, traveling upriver with his old friend Horace Bixby. The changes he observed to the river—both the physical landscape and its economic vitality—caused him much sorrow; and the march of time was lent a sharper edge as he reflected on his own changing circumstances: now famous author Mark Twain instead of youthful Sam Clemens from Hannibal, Missouri.
The library will be producing programming throughout the spring, kicking off the series with a spring reading party on February 11, 2017. Details will be released in the coming weeks, but you can certainly get a head start on cracking the cover.