Crete Reads! 2023
"The Orphan Collector" chosen for this year's community-wide read
Crete Public Library is pleased to announce the selection of "The Orphan Collector," by Ellen Marie Wiseman as the 2023 Crete Reads! book.
Watch for details about Crete Reads! programming during the year, including a virtual talk with the author on Oct. 22.
Crete Reads! is a community-wide, year-long series of events, activities, and learning opportunities related to the content and themes of one book chosen by the public. Community members are encouraged to read the book and participate in programming centered around themes of the book throughout the year.
A committee of nine community members met and determined the parameters, as well as three finalists. The public was invited to read summaries and vote for the newest Crete Reads! selection. The other finalists were:
- "After the Flood," by Kassandra Montag (448 pages) – Science/Dystopian Fiction
- "Funny Farm," by Laurie Zaleski (256 pages) – Non-fiction
There are two main goals for Crete Reads!: 1) encourage reading among people of all ages; and 2) bring the community together through a shared, common experience. Multiple copies of each year's selected book will be available at the library in a variety of formats: regular print, large print, Spanish, AudioBook, eBook, and eAudioBook. If a book club would like multiple copies, contact the library and staff can reserve them.
Crete Reads! 2023 Book Finalists:
"After the Flood," by Kassandra Montag (448 pages) – Science/Dystopian Fiction
It's 2031, and the world has been utterly transformed. After years of rising floodwaters, all that's left is an archipelago of mountaintop colonies surrounded by a deep expanse of open water. Civilization as it once was is gone. Bands of pirates roam the waters, in search of goods and women to breed. Some join together to create a new kind of society, while others sail alone, barely surviving.
Myra and her young daughter, Pearl, survive by fishing from their small boat, visiting small hamlets and towns on dry land to trade for supplies and information. The sole purpose of Myra's existence is to protect Pearl, while mourning the loss of her oldest daughter, Row, who was kidnapped during the last terrifying storm surge.
For eight years Myra has searched for the girl that she knows, in her bones and her heart, still lives. In a violent confrontation with a stranger, Myra hears that Row was last seen in a far-off encampment of raiders on the coast of what used to be Greenland. Throwing aside her usual caution, she and Pearl embark on a perilous voyage into the icy northern seas to rescue her.
A compulsively readable novel of dark despair and soaring hope, After the Flood is a magnificent, exhilarating, action-packed, and sometimes frightening odyssey laced with wonder - an affecting and wholly original saga, both redemptive and astonishing.
"Funny Farm," by Laurie Zaleski (256 pages) – Non-fiction
Laurie Zaleski never aspired to run an animal rescue; that was her mother Annie's dream. But from girlhood, Laurie was determined to make the dream come true. Thirty years later as a successful businesswoman, she did it, buying a 15-acre farm deep in the Pinelands of South Jersey. She was planning to relocate Annie and her caravan of ragtag rescues―horses and goats, dogs and cats, chickens and pigs―when Annie died, just two weeks before moving day. In her heartbreak, Laurie resolved to make her mother's dream her own. In 2001, she established the Funny Farm Animal Rescue outside Mays Landing, New Jersey. Today, she carries on Annie's mission to save abused and neglected animals.
Funny Farm is Laurie's story: of promises kept, dreams fulfilled, and animals lost and found. It's the story of Annie McNulty, who fled a nightmarish marriage with few skills, no money and no resources, dragging three kids behind her, and accumulating hundreds of cast-off animals on the way. And lastly, it's the story of the brave, incredible, and adorable animals that were rescued.
"The Orphan Collector," by Ellen Marie Wiseman (304 pages) – Historical Fiction
In the fall of 1918, thirteen-year-old German immigrant Pia Lange longs to be far from Philadelphia's overcrowded slums and the anti-immigrant sentiment that compelled her father to enlist in the U.S. Army. But as her city celebrates the end of war, an even more urgent threat arrives: the Spanish flu. Funeral crepe and quarantine signs appear on doors as victims drop dead in the streets and desperate survivors wear white masks to ward off illness. When food runs out in the cramped tenement she calls home, Pia must venture alone into the quarantined city in search of supplies, leaving her baby brothers behind.
Bernice Groves has become lost in grief and bitterness since her baby died from the Spanish flu. Watching Pia leave her brothers alone, Bernice makes a shocking, life-altering decision. It becomes her sinister mission to tear families apart when they're at their most vulnerable, planning to transform the city's orphans and immigrant children into what she feels are "true Americans."
Waking in a makeshift hospital days after collapsing in the street, Pia is frantic to return home. Instead, she is taken to St. Vincent's Orphan Asylum - the first step in a long and arduous journey. As Bernice plots to keep the truth hidden at any cost in the months and years that follow, Pia must confront her own shame and fear, risking everything to see justice - and love - triumph at last. Powerful, harrowing, and ultimately exultant, The Orphan Collector is a story of love, resilience, and the lengths we will go to protect those who need us most.
The 2022 Crete Reads! book selection in 2022 was “This Tender Land," by William Kent Krueger.
- Krueger was the guest speaker at a dinner and presentation on Oct. 22 Read more...
The inaugural Crete Reads! book selection in 2021 was "News of the World," by Paulette Jiles.
- virtual talk with Dr. Joaquin Rivaya-Martinez, about captivity among the Comanche;
- showing of "The Searchers" with John Wayne and Natalie Wood;
- speaker Todd Sears, Crete native and former publisher of the Omaha World-Herald, who discussed changes in newspapers through time, public discourse in the book vs today, choice of coverage picked by Captain Kidd vs today, and Kidd’s mission compared with those of journalists.