WALLA WALLA -- "This Western Life" is the theme for this year's "Booked for Winter" adult reading program at the Walla Walla Public Library.
The program, which is back after a year off, is meant to get people out of their homes during the winter months and engaged in reading and discussing the same books. This year's theme inspired the three books making up the program. Copies of each book are available at the library, with discussions planned with local college instructors around each text.
The reading program will launch with "The Jump-Off Creek," by Molly Gloss, and includes a book discussion Jan. 26 at 7 p.m. lead by Scot Elliott of Whitman College.
On Feb. 16 at 7 p.m., readers will discuss "In the Wilderness," by Kim Barnes, with Rogers Miles of Whitman College. The reading program wraps up March 8 with a 7 p.m. lecture on "The Best Short Stories of William Kittredge," and lead by Kirsten Telander of Walla Walla Community College.
Taking place in the 1890s, "The Jump-Off Creek" is set in Oregon's Blue Mountains and follows the hardships of a widowed homesteader. Gloss' first novel was a PEN/Faulkner Award finalist, and won the Pacific Northwestern Booksellers Association award.
"In the Wilderness" is Barne's memoir about growing up in Idaho's wild logging country.
Kittredge grew up on a ranch in Southeastern Oregon's Warner Valley and worked as a rancher before studying writing.
Reference librarian Alexis Rodegerdts said the books chosen are not typical westerns; "rather, they reflect elements of living in the West that hopefully many people in our community can relate to," Rodegerdts said in an email. "They represent a variety of genres to appeal to different reading interests. The January book is historical fiction, the February book is a memoir, and the March book is a collection of short stories."
Rodegerdts said library staff are excited to bring the Booked for Winter program after a lull in 2011 caused by anticipated budget cuts.
"It was disappointing for everyone, and so we are very excited to be back with the program this year," Rodegerdts said.
Maria P. Gonzalez can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 526-8317.