LAKE FOREST – The Lake Forest Library is pleased to announce the book selected for Lake Forest Reads: Ragdale, the third annual, city-wide reading program which will take place in October, 2014. Presented by the Lake Forest Library this program encourages the Lake Forest community to read one book by a writer affiliated with Ragdale, the artists’ residency which has supported emerging and best-selling authors and their creative process for over 35 years. Based on the “One City, One Book” program, which takes place in over 70 communities nation-wide, its primary mission is to foster literacy, a culture of reading, and a sense of community.
The book selected for this honor is The Hundred Year House by Rebecca Makkai. This selection was made after careful consideration of a number of books and authors affiliated with Ragdale by an advisory committee that includes representatives of the Lake Forest Library, Lake Forest College, Lake Forest Bookstore, The Ragdale Foundation, Friends of Lake Forest Library and the community.
The story is set in an artists’ colony on the North Shore and, while not Ragdale, it is unarguably influenced by its architecture and legacy. Kaye Grabbe, director of Lake Forest Library says, “With so much local flavor in The Hundred-Year House, Lake Foresters are in for a treat. Make sure you have a block of time before you start; it’s hard to put down.” A number of related programs will take place at various locations throughout the month of October, concluding with a free talk with author, Rebecca Makkai on Wednesday, October 21 in the evening at the Lake Forest College Lily Reid Holt Memorial Chapel.
Here is a brief synopsis of the book:
The Hundred-Year House opens in 1999. Zee, a Marxist literary scholar, has reluctantly moved into the coach house of Laurelfield, her family’s historic estate. The house, built as a family residence, was transformed into a beloved arts colony 1906 but has reverted to the family’s home. Zee’s husband, Doug, desperately needs to find the arts colony files for research to get his stalled academic career back on track. But Zee’s imperious mother inexplicably stonewalls his research. The true stories behind the house’s former residents and the eccentric Devohr family are eventually revealed as the novel takes the reader back in time on a literary scavenger hunt.
Rebecca Makkai is the author of two novels, The Hundred-Year House (2014) and The Borrower (2011). Her short story collection, Music for Wartime: Stories will be published in June 2015. Her work was chosen for The Best American Short Stories in 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011 and appears regularly in publications such as Harper’s, Tin House, Ploughshares, New England Review and Ecotone, and on public radio’s This American Life and Selected Shorts. The recipient of a 2014 NEA Fellowship, Rebecca teaches at Lake Forest College, Sierra Nevada College and StoryStudio Chicago. She has attended three residencies at Ragdale and is participating in the Lake Forest College program Writing by the Lake.
Her website is www.rebeccamakkai.com. Makkai lives with her family in Lake Forest, IL..