Tuesday, October 4, 2011

The journey begins

It's official: Our selection for One Island One Book 2012 was chosen to commemorate the Centennial of the Overseas Railway. We'll be reading "Last Train to Paradise" by Les Standiford.

The book tells the tale of the epic effort to extend Flagler's East Coast Railway to Key West, which was then a prosperous shipping and cigar manufacturing center. The construction was comparable with the enormous engineering feats of the time, like the Panama Canal.

And the book continues to the railroad's tragic end -- the Labor Day Hurricane of 1935 which swept across Islamorada as a Category 5 and destroyed the tracks.

Standiford will be in Key West in late February to discuss the book but there's plenty to do ahead of time to prepare. You can read the book, which is in the Library collection in print and audio -- and as an ebook through our new digital collection.

You can also learn more about the railroad by visiting "Flagler's Speedway to Sunshine," the current exhibit at the Custom House Museum of the Key West Art & Historical Society. Other Centennial events are listed on the Centennial Committee's website. And don't forget to check out the Library's own astounding collection of images from the construction and operation of the railroad, available on our Flickr page.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Counting down

It's almost here -- next week One Island One Book, featuring The Last Resort by Alison Lurie, begins with a talk by Cynthia Crossen, a Key West resident who writes the "Dear Book Lover" column for the Wall Street Journal -- and is vice president of the Friends of the Key West Library. Cynthia's talk will be at 6 p.m. in the Library Auditorium -- should be very interesting.

The Book Bites reading group will meet twice next week to discuss the book. All are welcome to attend; you do not need to be a Monroe County Library cardholder or to have attended a Book Bites session before. Those meetings are at 4:30 on Thursday, March 10, and 2 p.m. Saturday, March 12. Both of those meetings will take place in the Conference Room, off the Reference Department (where it is usually very chilly so bring a sweater no matter the temperature outside).
If you haven't yet read the book it may be too late to get a library copy before next week -- but they have them for sale at Key West Island Books, 513 Fleming St., for $5.98.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Front page, baby!

Alison Lurie in her Key West backyard. Photo by Rob O'Neal.
We were delighted to open the Key West Citizen Tuesday and see a front page story about this year's One Island One Book -- thanks, Mandy! -- with a delightful photo of the author -- thanks, Rob!

We were especially delighted to see Lurie's kind references to the Library. And we're even more excited now to hear Cynthia Crossen's discussion, a bunch of Book Bites meetings and finally the Cafe con Libros where we get to hear from Lurie herself.

We have 18 copies of The Last Resort in our collection but they are all, as of this writing, checked out. And there's a waiting list. Do not despair, though!  They are being returned -- it's a pretty quick read -- and if you don't want to wait or you don't have a Monroe County Library card (everyone is welcome to attend the programs), they have a good supply of books at Key West Island Books -- for the excellent price of $5.98. They're at 513 Fleming Street -- just up the street from the library.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Volume Two

It's that time of year again -- after all the fun we had last year with our first One Island One Book program, we're going to do it all over again.

With a different book, naturally. This year, our selection is once again a novel and once again one set in Key West -- but it's more contemporary and, to our delight, the author has agreed to take part in our program.

Alison Lurie's The Last Resort tells the story of Jenny Walker, the much-younger wife of a famous writer and naturalist who has, for years, devoted her life to serving his. When he becomes depressed and withdrawn one winter, she suggests they repair to Key West -- where all kinds of unexpected things happen. Like they tend to do around here.

The events for this year's One Island One Book will kick off with a talk by Wall Street Journal "Dear Book Lover" columnist Cynthia Crossen -- also a Key West resident and vice president of the Friends of the Key West Library. There will be several different meeting times for the Book Bites Reading Group, so you can attend whichever suits your schedule. And the finale will be when we hear from Lurie herself, a Pulitzer Prize winner and longtime Key Wester.

The Library has lots of copies of the book available for check-out so tell your friends, alert your book club and get ready to enjoy a great read from a great writer. For more information about Lurie, check out her website. Stay tuned here or on Facebook for updates.