Madeline Miller

CIRCE Launched as Vernon Area’s Latest ‘One Book’ Community Read

Posted on December 16, 2019

Courtesy of Chicago Tribune
Posted on December 16, 2019

It took only 20 minutes for the Vernon Area Public Library in Lincolnshire to run out of 50 free copies of “Circe” by Madeline Miller, the latest One Book, One Community selection.

The lines were long Dec. 15 and the patrons happy to snatch up a copy of the New York Times bestseller that will be the centerpiece of a three-month series of book discussions and special events…

“The book is a feminist retelling of a traditional mythical goddess from Greek mythology,” said Roz Topolski, community engagement program coordinator who distributed free copies to patrons who signed in with her. “Circe is a minor character in the ‘Odyssey;’ the author took this minor character and this book gives her her own full story.”

Each year, library staff selects a book they think will appeal to different audiences.

“We spend a lot of time looking at books we think would be of interest to the community,” said librarian Anne Baker Jones, adding the selection committee must adhere to certain parameters and confirm the author can attend a talk as part of the event. “The books are either educational, informative or discussion-worthy.”

The events include a “Circe, Then & Now” event with a Lake Forest College professor of sociology and anthropology planned for Jan. 19, and “Greece, Where the Past is Present,” on Jan. 29, both at the Vernon Area Public Library. A Greek Cuisine 101 cooking class with a chef will be Jan. 23, to “Greek Myths Revisited” on Feb. 6, both at the Aspen Drive Library in Vernon Hills.

Another event, “Escape the Labyrinth” is planned for Jan. 30, and “Democracy in Action: The Odyssey on Trial,” on Feb. 26, both at the Indian Trails Public Library. The events culminate with a visit by the CIRCE author on March 8 at the Vernon Hills High School Performing Arts Center.

“We partner with Indian Trails and Cook Memorial, which allows us to bring an author to our community, which we wouldn’t be able to do on our own,” Topolski said. “Plus, our patrons are mingling and going to programs at our neighboring libraries.”

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