The Great American Read

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JMRL is thrilled to partner with WVPT PBS / WHTJ PBS to offer a screening and book discussion series based on PBS’s The Great American Read.

The Great American Read “explores and celebrates the power of reading, told through the prism of America’s 100 best-loved novels[…] It investigates how and why writers create their fictional worlds, how we as readers are affected by these stories, and what these 100 different books have to say about our diverse nation and our shared human experience.”

Find out about upcoming events below.

Screening

SEPTEMBER 9 | 2:00-4:00 PM at the Central Library, 201 E. Market St, Charlottesville, VA • REGISTER HERE

Celebrate the return of WVPT/WHTJ PBS’s The Great American Read with a screening of the “Fall Kick Off” episode, book giveaways, a guest speaker, and refreshments. The event will also include information about upcoming WVPT/WHTJ PBS programming you won’t want to miss and an opportunity to vote for your favorite book from The Great American Read.

Discussion Series

Join local authors, songwriters, and book lovers in fun venues throughout the community as they explore weekly themes from PBS series, The Great American Read. Events will also include information about upcoming PBS programming you won’t want to miss and an opportunity to vote for your favorite book from The Great American Read.

This Discussion Series is FREE. Registration Required | Additional Information: 434-979-7151, Opt. 4

SEPTEMBER 19 | 6:00-8:00 PM at C-ville Coffee, 1301 Harris St, Charlottesville, VA • REGISTER HERE
“Who Am I” discussion featuring guest author M.K. England. Beverages and food will be available for purchase.

SEPTEMBER 26 | 6:00-8:00 PM at Fontaine Fire Station, 2420 Fontaine Ave, Charlottesville, VA • REGISTER HERE
“Heros” discussion featuring a station tour and guest author Khizr Khan. Light refreshments will be provided.

OCTOBER 3 | 6:00-8:30 PM at Swannanoa Palace, 497 Swannanoa Lane, Afton, VA • REGISTER HERE
“Villains & Monsters” discussion featuring a tour and book discussion led by JMRL Director, David Plunkett. Light refreshments will be provided.

OCTOBER 10 | 5:30-8:00 PM at Batesville Market, 6624 Plank Rd, Batesville, VA • REGISTER HERE
“What We Do For Love” discussion featuring singer-songwriter Terri Allard and friends performing love songs. Lovingston Winery will offer a wine tasting. Love-themed food and beverages will be available for purchase.

OCTOBER 17 | 6:00-8:00 PM – at Beer Run, 156 Carlton Rd Ste 203, Charlottesville, VA • REGISTER HERE
“Other Worlds” discussion featuring guest author Jeb Livingood. Beer from around the world and food will be available for purchase.

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“No coincidence, no story.”

teagirlThe Brown Baggers met on August 16 to discuss Lisa See’s The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane.

The story takes place in the mountains of China. Li-yan, a young girl of the Akha ethnic minority group, lives with her family picking tea leaves and following the customs of her culture. Li-yan is smart and is able to continue her schooling beyond what is typical for someone in her village. When a stranger visits the village in a jeep, the first automobile any of them had seen, Li-yan acts as a translator and begins to understand that there is a world far beyond her own and that she doesn’t have to stay in her village forever.

In Li-yan’s teenage years she falls in love with a young man who is not considered an appropriate match by her mother, but Li-yan bears his child, then takes the baby to an orphanage in the city, leaving the infant with a special tea cake. Li-yan eventually makes a life for herself outside of her small village, through owning a tea shop that sells pu-erh tea, but she never forgets the child she gave up.

Almost all of the Brown Baggers loved this book! They thought the story was interesting and loved learning more about the Akha people and about how tea is grown and processed. Some noted that although the novel had many characters, it was a plot-driven novel, rather than character-driven, which made the story move quickly.

Some readers mentioned that they thought there were too many details about tea. Although the book centered around the unique tea culture, there was a lot of information about the price of different tea leaves and this seemed to distract from the plot of the story. But others mentioned how much research the author must have completed around the topic.

Many readers felt that it was interesting to learn about the superstitions of the Akha culture and how they were different (and similar) to superstitions from other parts of the world. The Akha had the saying “no coincidence, no story,” but some Brown Baggers pointed out that there were many, many coincidences in the book. Also, most felt that the ending was too contrived, but they still enjoyed it. Others felt like the ambiguous ending was disappointing, but in an interview, the author said that she purposefully wrote the ending this way.

The Brown Baggers will meet again on September 20th at 12pm and will be discussing The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood.

More Information:
Article about Pu-erh tea
About the Akha People

Reviews of the Book:
From Kirkus Reviews
From the Washington Post
From the Los Angeles Review of Books

Books and Authors Mentioned:
Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See
China Dolls by Lisa See
Pearl S. Buck

Crafting at the Library

Crafts aren’t just for kids! An article from Neurology, a journal published by the American Academy of Neurology, states that older adults who participate in creative activities, such as crafts, could delay the development of memory problems. Crafting also allows you to develop new skills and can give you the opportunity to do something a little bit different. All great reasons to make a craft!

Below is a craft that we recently made at the Louisa County Library. Try making this paper rosette wreath at home:

Supplies needed:
Paper, cut into 1.5” x 12” strips (thicker paper, such as scrapbooking paper, works best)
Glue gun (plus extra glue sticks)
Cardboard form (cut out a 12” circle from a piece of cardboard)
Scissors, ruler, scrap paper
Optional: 1” circles or other shapes, ribbon

Step 1:
Fold your strip like an accordion using 1/4” folds. You might want to score your lines with a ruler first if you have trouble making small, even folds. You’ll need about 11 pieces of paper, more if you want to overlap your rosettes.

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Step 2:
Join the ends of the folded paper and secure with glue or tape to form a cylinder.

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Step 3:
Gather the folds on one end of the cylinder and gently press down—don’t worry if you have to gently reshape your cylinder as you go. As you press down, the shape of the rosette will begin to form.

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Use hot glue and a small piece of scrap paper to secure it at the center of the plain side of the rosette. The scrap paper will create a flat surface and will make it easier to glue to the wreath form.

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Step 4:
Glue circles (or other shapes) to the centers of the circles on the decorated side of the rosette.

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Step 5:
Arrange rosettes around wreath form and glue into place. If you want to make smaller rosettes, cut the paper into 1″ x 12″ strips.

Step 6:
Tie on ribbon and enjoy your new wreath!

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For more inspiration on paper crafting, check out these books:
Sweet Paper Crafts by Mollie Greene
Beautiful Paper Cutting

And check out our calendar for upcoming craft workshops!