Big Read book inspires dozens of events
Soprano Anna Valcour of Burr Ridge is a senior music major at Lawrence University in Appleton, Wis.. She will present An Afternoon of Opera as part of the Big Read 2013. | Photo courtesy of Anna Valcour
Updated: March 8, 2013 6:16AM
This year’s selection for the Big Read has inspired nearly 50 events ranging from book talks to wine tastings.
The annual Big Read is a cooperative effort of 10 area libraries which challenges the public to read a chosen book. That book is then celebrated with concerts, lectures and other events inspired by the people, places and happenings in the story.
The Shoemaker’s Wife by Adriana Trigiani, was rife with inspiration, said Debbie Wordinger of the Indian Prairie Public Library.
Set high in the Italian Alps at the turn of the twentieth century, the story of Ciro and Enza contains romance, scandal and drama. It also offers readers the chance to explore Italy and all of its culture, Ellis Island and the people who immigrated through it, and …
A committee of representatives from the 10 participating libraries — Clarendon Hills, Downers Grove, Hinsdale, Indian Prairie, La Grange, La Grange Park, Lisle, Thomas Ford, Westmont, and Woodridge — have filled the weeks between March 1 and May 2 with dozens of events to help readers delve deeper into the time and location of the book.
Wordinger said patrons began asking about signing up for events even before the calendar was made public.
“The food ones are always popular,” she said. Because of that, the committee added more food events to this year’s calendar, including a pair of cooking demonstrations and tastings by chef Mary Gail Bennett of Burr Ridge on March 5 at the Downers Grove library and on March 14 at Indian Prairie.
Participation in food events is limited, so Wordinger suggests signing up early.
Also on the calendar of events are several musical experiences offered to introduce readers to the music enjoyed by the book’s characters. Burr Ridge native Anna Valcour will return to her hometown library to perform pieces of her favorite operas on April 7, with a second performance set for April 8 at the La Grange Public Library.
“I always love performing, especially to audiences who maybe haven’t heard opera before,” said Valcour, who will perform with fellow Lawrence University senior Luke Randall.
Valcour said she and Randall have selected some familiar songs, as well as some that the audience likely will hear for the first time.
“They’re not as well known, but just as beautiful,” she said.
The Big Read often culminates with a visit from the book’s author. And although Trigiani can’t make it in person, a pair of webcasts are planned May 2 for fans to hear from and ask questions of the author. The webcasts will take place at Indian Prairie and La Grange libraries.