Books and barbecue: Arlington Heights' 'One Book, One Village' will start with outdoor party

  • "The Two Lives of Sara" is the 2023 One Book, One Village community reading program selection in Arlington Heights.

    "The Two Lives of Sara" is the 2023 One Book, One Village community reading program selection in Arlington Heights. Courtesy of Arlington Heights Memorial Library

Posted9/21/2023 5:45 AM

For a decade, the Arlington Heights Memorial Library's annual One Book, One Village communitywide reading program has featured related book discussions and programs, including an author visit.

But this year's selection, Chicago author Catherine Adel West's "The Two Lives of Sara," has inspired something you wouldn't typically experience at the library: a summer barbecue.


The day of family fun, food and music to celebrate the book program's 10th anniversary is scheduled from 3 to 6 p.m. Saturday at Recreation Park, 500 E. Miner St. Food vendors and trucks, cultural and community organizations and DJ Jill Hopkins will all be present for the Memphis-style BBQ bash, and the Jesse White Tumblers will perform at 4:30 p.m.

Food and how it can bring a community together is a central aspect of West's book, said Sherri Tader, the library's information services adviser.

"We hope Arlington Heights residents will connect with how food and its preparation is an important part of family and community, and how it can be fundamental in times of both joy and sorrow," Tader said.

The barbecue is among 16 programs the library has planned around the book, including culinary demonstrations at the Makerplace branch, film screenings, a service project and historical presentations. There also will be 10 organized book discussions throughout September and October.

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It all will culminate with the author's visit Thursday, Oct. 26, at the Forest View auditorium, where West will be interviewed by Natalie Moore of WBEZ. A book signing will follow.

Registration is open at; the event will also be livestreamed on the library's YouTube channel.

West's book, set in 1960s-era segregated Memphis, takes readers on the emotional journey of main character Sara King, who has left Chicago to escape the ghosts of her past and start a new life for herself and her son. They take refuge in a boardinghouse run by Mama Sugar, who teaches Sara that good food brings people together and nourishes the soul.

More than 200 copies of the book are in the library's collection, including at the Senior Center, Bookmobile and online.

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