By Angie Georgeff
Although summer seems to be quite a long way off, it will be here before you know it. Realizing this, we already are making big plans for our Summer Reading Programs for children, teens and adults.
This year, we are dividing the programs into two phases. The first five weeks will be centered on space, which is the nationwide theme for 2019. The slogan will be “A Universe of Stories,” and each week activities will be planned for each age group, along with a Friday Family Fun Day. These programs will emphasize reading, writing and the STEAM disciplines.
In addition to the nationwide program, several libraries in the OWL consortium, to which we belong, will join in a second back-to-school phase of Summer Reading centered on the Harry Potter novels.
The focus of these programs will be to stimulate the child’s imagination and engage the entire family in reading for pleasure in order to foster a positive learning environment in the home. Our entire staff is excited about these programs and the lifelong love of learning they can ignite in our youth.
Marie Benedict, the author of “The Other Einstein” and “Carnegie’s Maid,” finds inspiration for her fiction in the lives of real women. For her latest bestseller “The Only Woman in the Room,” she has turned her attention to film star Hedy Lamarr. The novel opens in a theater in Vienna. Young Hedwig Keisler is standing onstage accepting the adulation of the crowd for her performance as Austria’s beloved Empress Elisabeth. The wealthy and influential munitions magnate Friedrich Mandl is among her admirers. The year is 1933. The National Socialist German Workers’ Party is starting to exert influence in neighboring Austria. A woman must be careful whom she rebuffs, especially if the woman in question happens to be Jewish.
Hedy’s parents encourage her to accept Mandl’s offer of marriage, hoping that it will protect her. Their union is not a happy one and Hedy becomes increasingly concerned as she overhears conversations between her husband and high-level military and political functionaries. Since she is “only” a woman, it never occurs to them to guard their tongues in her presence. That proves to be a mistake, because Hedy understands what they’re saying just as well as they do. Her pretty face masks her brilliant mind from their notice.
Alarmed, Hedy escapes to London and then Hollywood. Louis B. Mayer bills the rechristened Hedy Lamarr as the most beautiful woman in the world. Her career on film takes off, but she also wants to help the Allied war effort. With the military intelligence she gleaned from her husband’s conversations and her own expertise in science, she has the means to make a contribution that still resonates today.