The Rapidian

Grand Rapids Public Library engages adults in summer reading

GR Reads promotes summer reading with a raffle and more than 30 free events, including a movie series and cheesemaking night.

GR Reads featured books

"Detroit City is the Place to Be" by Mark Binelli

"The Dirty Life" by Kristin Kimball

"High Fidelity" by Nick Hornby

"Packing for Mars" by Mary Roach

"The Rook" by Daniel O'Malley

"Sutton" by J.R. Moehringer

"Swimming to Antartica" by Lynne Cox

"Travels with Charley" by John Steinbeck

"Where'd You Go, Bernadette" by Maria Semple 

"A Woman Like Me" by Bettye LaVette with David Ritz

Last year, GR Reads hosted a tomato canning class.

Last year, GR Reads hosted a tomato canning class. /Dianne Carroll Burdick

The theme for the Grand Rapids Public Library's (GRPL) fourth annual GR Reads adult summer reading program is "You Are Here." The 10 books featured in the program have themes involving sense of place or state of mind, says Kristen Krueger-Corrador, Communications Manager.

The GR Reads committee selected this year's books, which include fiction, nonfiction, memoirs and short stories. Readers can read as many or as little books as they choose, says Krueger-Corrador.

GRPL is hosting 35 free events reltaed to the selected books throughout the course of the summer reading program. The events may feature a book's author or relate to the book's theme. For example, a cocktail series led by Tory O'Haire accompanied "Sutton" by J.R. Moehringer, which takes place during prohibition.

"We really had no idea how [GR Reads] was going to be received," says Krueger-Corrador. "People seem really interested in going to mulitple events and reading multiple books."

New this year are punch cards that participants can use to keep track of the events they attend. For every five programs attended, participants will receive a coffee mug and one entry into a drawing for a bag full of this year's featured books.

In July, GRPL is hosting events featuring music journalists, experts on modern architecture and UFO's, and discussions on Grand Rapids' secret societies. Some events will be held at businesses in the area.

"The goal is to push the library out into the community instead of expecting people to come to us," says Krueger-Corrador. "If we hold [an event] in a bar or in a place where maybe we're going to reach a new audience... they're going to encounter the library in a new and different way that might make them think twice about using the services and materials and programs that we do here."

Last summer GR Reads held a rap battle and an 80's style pub crawl where people participated in a scavenger hunt.

Programs held at Chicago Public Library and National Endowment for the Arts inspired GRPL to create GR Reads. This year's program began June 1 but readers can join for free at any time by visiting any of GRPL's eight locations. The summer reading program ends August 31.

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