North suburban libraries join together for community-wide read

Indian Trails Public Library District
Updated 12/5/2017 10:29 AM
  • Book cover for Stolen Beauty

    Book cover for Stolen Beauty

WHEELING, IL -- December 4, 2017 -- Three north suburban libraries are teaming up to encourage their patrons to all read the same book and discuss it with their friends, neighbors and families. "One Book, One Community" partners Cook Memorial, Indian Trails, and Vernon Area public library districts have selected "Stolen Beauty" by Laurie Lico Albanese as their community-wide read this winter.

Choosing the right book for more than 100,000 readers is no small task. A team of librarians and other staff from the three libraries debated the merits of more than 40 first draft picks. The team also considered each book's length, its rating on Goodreads, and other factors.

In the end, the libraries selected "Stolen Beauty," a work of historical fiction centered on the true story of the creation and near-destruction of Gustav Klimt's painting "Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I" -- popularly known as "The Woman in Gold." While the story spans both turn-of-the-century Vienna and 1930s Nazi-occupied Austria, its themes resonate even today. USA TODAY noted, "Albanese artfully weaves Adele's story with Maria's harrowing life under the Nazis, but it's hard to read 'Stolen Beauty' without seeing ugly echoes in today's headlines."

The One Book, One Community series kicks off at Indian Trails Library, 355 Schoenbeck Rd., Wheeling, Saturday, December 9, 10 am with an open house. Visitors to the kickoff events will receive a free paperback copy of the book (while supplies last) or can check out the ebook, hardcover or audiobook with their library card.

Related programs take place in January and February at each library and include book discussions; lectures on subjects such as painter Gustav Klimt, Austrian cuisine, and repatriation of artwork looted during WWII; and film screenings of "The Woman in Gold" and "The Monuments Men." Children can take part, too, at art programs offered at Indian Trails Library and Cook Memorial Public Library District's Aspen Drive Library. Visitors to Indian Trails Public Library in February can view a traveling exhibit of three vibrant banners depicting five of Gustav Klimt's paintings.

The series culminates with a grand finale event featuring author Laurie Lico Albanese on Saturday, February 24, 2018, at Vernon Hills High School auditorium. All offerings are free and open to all. Find a full schedule, details, and ticketing at


"Stolen Beauty" gives voice to two extraordinary women -- Adele Bloch-Bauer and Maria Altmann -- whose lives overlapped briefly but whose biographies are forever connected by a work of art. Adele is the queen of Vienna salon society and the subject of Klimt's "Woman in Gold;" Maria is Adele's niece who summons the courage and resilience to honor her aunt's legacy and keep her family and their history alive when the Nazis invade Vienna at the start of World War II. Author Laurie Lico Albanese artfully weaves Adele's adventures amid the dazzling glitter of turn-of-the-century Vienna with Maria's struggles during the dark years of Nazi-occupied Austria. The book juxtaposes passion and discovery against hatred and despair and shines a light on the human ability to endure.


Cook Memorial Public Library District operates two full-service locations that serve 60,000 residents in the communities of Libertyville, Vernon Hills, Green Oaks and Mundelein, Illinois. Indian Trails Public Library District serves 67,000 residents in Wheeling, Buffalo Grove, Prospect Heights and Arlington Heights, Illinois. Vernon Area Public Library in Lincolnshire directly serves 43,000 residents and businesses in and around Lincolnshire, Buffalo Grove, Long Grove and Vernon Hills, Illinois.

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