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Welcome to One Book, Everybody Reads, the Wilmette Public Library's annual community-wide reading and book discussion program. Each year, the Library selects one book and encourages area residents to read the selected title and participate in various events that explore the book and its themes. The program takes place in the spring and culminates when the author visits Wilmette to discuss his or her book with the community. The 2015 One Book selection will be announced early in 2015.

 

Claire-for-web-pages

The 2014 One Book, Everybody Reads program featured:

Claire of the Sea Light
by Edwidge Danticat

Ms. Danticat discussed her book on Sunday, May 4, at 2 pm at Wilmette Junior HIgh School, 620 Locust Road, in Wilmette. 

 

Click on the links below to learn about the book, the author, events, and more:

About the Book  About the Author 
Reviews Events
Awards and Accolades Discussion Questions
Of Related Interest Partners
Photos Village Proclamation

 

Friends-Logo-ColorFunding is provided by

the Friends of the Wilmette Public Library                                                                            

         

Some Luck by Jane Smiley

(2015 Selection)

About the Book  About the Author 
Reviews Events
Awards and Accolades Discussion Questions
Other Works by the Author Partners
Photos

 

About the Author

 

Jane-Smiley Credit-Elena-Se

A novelist and essayist, Jane Smiley won the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Midland Authors Award, and the Heartland Prize for her novel A Thousand Acres. She was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award in fiction for both The Age of Grief and Moo and received the Spur Award for Best Novel of the West for her book The All-True Travels and Adventures of Lidie Newton. Her novel Horse Heaven was short-listed for the Orange Prize, she was awarded the Friends of American Writers Prize for her novel At Paradise Gate, and she is a four-time winner of the O. Henry Award for short stories.

In addition to numerous other novels, Ms. Smiley has written several works of nonfiction, including Thirteen Ways of Looking at the Novel, a history and anatomy of the novel as a form, and The Man Who Invented the Computer an account of the complex and sometimes amazing circumstances that led to one of  the most important inventions of the 20th century. Ms. Smiley also has published a five volume horse series for young adults.  

Ms. Smiley has contributed to a wide range of magazines and newspapers, including The New Yorker, Elle, Outside, The New York Times, Harper's, The American Prospect, Practical Horseman, The Guardian, The Nation, Real Simple, and Playboy, and she regularly blogged for The Huffington Post between 2005 and 2008.  She has been a recipient of a Fulbright fellowship as well as grants from the National Endowment of the Arts.  In 1997, Ms. Smiley was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and, in 2006, she received the PEN USA Lifetime Achievement Award for Literature.

Jane Smiley was born in California and raised in St. Louis, Missouri. She received her bachelor of arts degree in English from Vassar College, a master of fine arts degree from the University of Iowa Writer’s Workshop, and her M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Iowa. Ms. Smiley currently lives in Northern California.

Jane Smiley's Website

Jane Smiley's Facebook Page

 

Jane Smiley and Some Luck

The Millions Interview: Just Try and Stop Me - Jane Smiley Sets Her Sights on the American Century (November 25, 2014)

The Independent: Jane Smiley Interview: Pulitzer Prize Winner on her New Trilogy Set in the Iowa Badlands  (November 11, 2014)

The Guardian: Jane Smiley - All You Need is for One Reader to Read Your Book (October 26, 2014)

Huffington Post: A Brief Interview with Jane Smiley (October 10, 2014)

New York Times: Jane Smiley on ‘Some Luck,’ the First in a Trilogy (October 6, 2014)

NPR: For Her First Trilogy, Jane Smiley Returns To Iowa, 'Where The Roots Are' (October 5, 2014)

Bookpage Interview: Jane Smiley - One Family’s Destiny, Year by Year (October 2014)

 

Additional Interviews with Jane Smiley

Boston Globe: Bibliophiles - Jane Smiley, Novelist (December 20, 2014)

Little Village: Interview - Author Jane Smiley on her Latest Novel ‘Some Luck’ and Her Visit Back to Iowa City (October 2, 2014)

Fiction Writers Review: Limitless: An Interview with Jane Smiley (June 05, 2014)

Writeliving Interview: Jane Smiley (June 29, 2013)

The Progressive: Jane Smiley Interview (December 4, 2007)

NPR: The Writing Life - Authors Discuss Their Craft in Virtual Roundtable. With Michael Chabon, Jane Smiley and John Edgar Wideman (audio - July 2, 2003)

 

Recent articles by Jane Smiley

 My Absent Father (New Yorker, October 3, 2014)

 Jane Smiley on the Joy of 64:  Life is a Lake of Memories to Swim In  (O, The Oprah Magazine, June 2014)

 How We Spend Our Days: Jane Smiley (Catching Days, January 1, 2014)

 

Videos of Jane Smiley

(October 31, 2014)

 (October 17, 2014)

(October 11, 2014)

 (September 17, 2014)

(May 8, 2014)

(February 7, 2014)

(November 27, 2012) 

(July 3, 2012)

(April 30, 2012)   

(February 20, 2012)

(September 14, 2010)

(December 22, 2009)

 (November 3, 2009)

(February 15, 2008)

 

Friends-Logo-Color     

          Funding for One Book, Everybody Reads is made possible by Friends of the Wilmette Public Library.

Some Luck by Jane Smiley

(2015 Selection)

About the Book  About the Author 
Reviews Events
Awards and Accolades Discussion Questions
Other Works by the Author Partners
Photos

 

Discussion Questions

 

Some Luck Book cover

1. What do you think the title means? Whose luck does it refer to? Is it only good or bad luck, or does the word “luck” shift in connotation as the novel goes forward?

2. Each chapter in the novel takes place over the course of one year. How does Smiley use this structure to propel her story?

3. Rosanna assigns personality traits to each of her children in infancy. When those traits prove true, do you think it’s because of nurture—her and Walter’s influence—or nature—personalities fully formed at birth?

4. How does Smiley use the children’s points of view at all ages—including when they are very small—to show their development and coming-of-age in real time? What are some of the memorable traits that carry from infancy to young adulthood for each of the five children?

5.   How does Mary Elizabeth’s death affect Rosanna? How does it change her relationship with the children who follow?

6. Throughout the story, Frank is described as persistent, if not outright stubborn. How does this quality help him in his life? Does it hinder him?

7. Variations on the story of Lucky Hans appear several times in the novel, including the version told by Opa to Frank in 1924, Lillian’s version remembered by Henry in 1947, and Arthur’s tale of Frank and the golden egg in 1952. What point is Smiley making by changing the mythology?

8. Over the course of the three decades Some Luck spans, various characters embrace or resist new technology—Walter and the tractor, Rosanna and electricity, Joey’s farming techniques, Frank’s study of German warfare. How does Smiley use their reactions to deepen our understanding of these characters and to show the passage of time?

9. On page 104, Eloise says to Frank, “Almost everyone sees things, but not everyone notices them.” What does she mean, and why is it fitting that she says this to Frank, of all her nephews and nieces? How does Frank exemplify the difference between seeing and noticing, especially as he uses his keen sense of “vision” to lead him throughout his life?

10.   What does Walter think and feel during the scene at the well? What do his decisions at that moment say about his own personality and the circumstances of the times? Why doesn’t he tell Rosanna about it until many years later?

11. What are examples of the different kinds of secrets that come in the novel—from those held by individuals to those of institutions, such as banks or the government? Do you have the sense that the book suggests a hierarchy of secrecy, or are all secrets equally dangerous?

12. How do you understand Andy’s identity crises and her other internal conflicts within the context of the novel? How do they reflect her relationship with Frank as well as the political and sociological forces at work during these beginning days of the Cold War?

13. What role do faith and religion play in the early parts of the novel? What about for the subsequent generation? Would you say that religion is related to the theme of luck?

14. Joey is distraught to learn of Jake’s death on page 229. Later, on page 373, he tells Lois, “I don’t get over things.” Is this why he’s so suited to farming? And does he, eventually, learn to get over things?

15. On Walter’s forty-seventh birthday, he lets each of his children select an item from a box he’d kept locked away. Joey chooses the sprig of lavender, Lillian the oriole feather, and Henry the gold coin; Claire was given the handkerchief; and Rosanna saves the photograph of Walter during the Great War for Frank. What do these totems represent?

16. Rosanna reflects on page 264, “Well, that’s what a war did for you—it made you look around at your shabby house and your modest family and give thanks for what you had and others had lost. . . . It made you stop talking about what you wished for, because, in the end, that might bring bad luck.” Frank was lucky and survived the war, but he’s far from unscathed when he returns home. Do his experiences verify or contradict Rosanna’s claim about the effects of war? How does what happened to him in Europe ripple throughout the rest of his life, as well as the lives of his family?

17.   How do the generations of men engage differently in the wars of their times? What does their involvement show about their respective personalities, the nature of war, and America’s evolving role in world conflict?

18. How does parenting change from one generation to the next? Compare Lillian and Andy to Rosanna, and Arthur and Frank to Walter. And what about the roles of the sexes?

19.   On page 392, Walter walks near the Osage-orange hedge: “Every year, Joe said, as Walter always had, that he was going to pull it up, but he never did—the roots had probably spread everywhere, and taking the thing out would be a major pain in the neck. There was always a reason not to bother. Walter touched one of the thorns. He was used to the hedge, but the thorns still seemed menacing.” What, if anything, do you think the Osage-orange hedge stands for, in the book as a whole? What metaphors are at work here?

20. By the end of Some Luck, Henry is just becoming an adult and Claire is still a child. What do you think might be ahead for them in the next book(s) of this trilogy?

21. Did your knowledge that Some Luck is the first of a trilogy affect your reading of the novel? In what ways is the conclusion of the book definitive, full circle, and in what ways does it leave things open-ended?

Courtesy of Knopf

 

 

Friends-Logo-Color     

          Funding for One Book, Everybody Reads is made possible by Friends of the Wilmette Public Library.

 

Some Luck by Jane Smiley

(2015 Selection)

About the Book  About the Author 
Reviews Events
Awards and Accolades Discussion Questions
Other Works by the Author Partners
Photos

 

Partners

 

The Library appreciates the kind and generous support of the following partners for their help in promoting the One Book program.  With their assistance, One Book, Everybody Reads truly has become a community-wide event.

 

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Friends-Logo-Color     

          Funding for One Book, Everybody Reads is made possible by Friends of the Wilmette Public Library.

Some Luck by Jane Smiley

(2015 Selection)

About the Book  About the Author 
Reviews Events
Awards and Accolades Discussion Questions
Other Works by the Author Partners
Photos

 

Events

 

Some Luck Book cover

Watch this space for information about the 2015 One Book events.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Friends-Logo-Color     

          Funding for One Book, Everybody Reads is made possible by Friends of the Wilmette Public Library.

 

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