Explore the joys of a good book

Sample various authors and genres by participating in local libraries’ Hot Reads for Cold Nights winter reading program

letters@thetribunenews.comJanuary 24, 2013 

  • MEET THE AUTHOR

    Vanessa Diffenbaugh, author of the SLO County Reads/Cuesta book of the year, “The Language of Flowers,” will be at Cuesta College for a free lecture and book signing from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Feb. 27. For discussion groups and other events keyed to Diffenbaugh’s book, go to http://www.slolibrary.org/Events /cboty2013.htm.

Here’s a sure fire way to ward off the winter chill: Curl up with your favorite hot beverage and a good book.

If you need some suggestions, check out your local library, where the annual adult winter reading program — Hot Reads for Cold Nights — is under way.

Registration is simple; you don’t even have to have a library card to be eligible. Simply sign up at your local library and you’ll be given a list of nine “assignments” you complete at your own pace.

Finish all the items on the list and you’ll be eligible for gifts, such as coffee mugs, book bags and note pads. (We pause here to acknowledge the various Friends of the Library groups, which supply many of the prizes.)

Another reward, of course, is the opportunity to sample authors and genres you may not be familiar with, plus the sense of accomplishment that comes as you tick off items on the list.

There is only one “mandatory” book on the list: “The Language of Flowers” by Vanessa Diffenbaugh. The novel is the SLO County Reads/Cuesta book of the year, which means there will be several discussion groups and other special events tied to the book, as well as a visit from the author.

The eight other items on the Hot Reads list are more open-ended. There are general categories — one is a collection of short stories, another a book set in World War I or World War II — so you can choose what interests you; the library has several book lists available if you’re looking for recommendations.

Some items aren’t books at all. One assignment, for example, is to watch a DVD and then listen to the movie soundtrack.

The program operates on the honor system; you track your own progress by writing down the books as you complete them. The only deadline to keep in mind is April 16, when the program wraps up.

Interested? Visit your local library to sign up, and happy — and cozy — reading.

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