Staff Pick: How to Read a Book by Monica Wood

Twenty two year old Violet is fresh out of prison from a drunk driving accident that killed a local kindergarten teacher, alone in a city where she knows no one.  Middle aged Harriet, who runs the book group in the women’s prison that housed Violet, is about to watch the last of her children leave her home.  And retiree Frank, the husband of the women killed in Violet’s accident, is just trying to make it through the day to day while processing painful secrets of his marriage.  Over the course of the year following Violet’s release from prison, these three characters lives will continue to collide and intertwine in a variety of painful, beautiful, and, ultimately, healing ways.  

This is a book for and about readers- it’s called How to Read a Book, after all- and there are literary references, book clubs, and bookstores a plenty.  There is also a tremendous amount of heart, a gentle spirit, and a great deal of forgiveness for all of the terrible and wonderful pieces of humanity.  There is also a parrot named Oliver who pretty much steals the show.

Author Monica Wood visited the Patten Free Library on June 28 to talk about this book and the unusually delightful research it required.  Watch a recording of her talk here. 

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