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Reading for pleasure … and a chance to vote for the best

A favourite summer pursuit of some leisurely reading is a bit more involved this year for those avid readers taking part in the Evergreen Book Awards. The program allows participants to explore 10 different stories and nominate their favourite as the winner.

The awards are part of the Forest of Reading, the largest recreational reading program in Canada. An initiative of the Ontario Library Association, its goal is to instill a love of reading in people of all ages.

Forest of Reading offers seven programs for kids (Blue Spruce, White Pine, etc.) and one aimed at an adult audience, Evergreen. Those participating in the program read a total of 10 fiction and non-fiction books by Canadian authors, before eventually selecting their favourite.

The Elmira branch of the Region of Waterloo Library played host to an Evergreen gathering July 24.

“They are all different genres,” explained Cher Carpenter of the Elmira library. “French Exit (Patrick deWitt) is a quirky comedy; Hysteria (Elisabeth de Mariaffi) is suspense, I’m Afraid of Men (Vivek Shraya) is written in poetry form, Lost Girls of Camp Forevermore (Kim Fu) seems to be a crowd favourite right now – that and French Exit.”

The titles were all selected by Canadian librarians. Other novels include All Things Consoled: A Daughter’s Memoir by Elizabeth Hay, Foe by Ian Reid, Moon of the Crusted Snow by Waubgeshig Rice, The Return of the Kid Cooper by Brad Smith, The Saturday Night Ghost Club by Craig Davidson, and Vi by Kim Thúy.

Those participating have the opportunity to read the novels throughout the summer months.

“In September, everybody casts their vote to what their favourite book was,” said Carpenter. “Then we give all that to the Forest of Reading committee, and then they would decide who received the most number of votes. Then that author would receive the award.”

The Elmira branch is simply referring to this program as a summer book club for adults. The group meets periodically to share their thoughts. This program is active across the country, including many local library locations.

“We have four of our branches that are doing this: Ayr, Wellesley, New Hamburg and Elmira are all running these Evergreen book clubs,” said Carpenter. “And it’s with a purpose; they determine who their winner is.”

Wellesley’s seminar to discuss the findings is still upcoming and will take place on August 7 at the Waterloo Public Library’s Wellesley branch.

Those interested in getting involved can visit their local library branch for more details.

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