Whidbey Reads book program chooses “Midwives”

The 2008 Whidbey Reads book choice is “Midwives” by American novelist Chris Bohjalian, who will make two free presentations to Island readers.

Whidbey readers are encouraged to read “Midwives” now in preparation for Bohjalian’s talk to South End readers at 1:30 p.m. Monday, May 19 at Whidbey Island Center for the Arts in Langley.

Bohjalian will then travel to Oak Harbor for an evening book chat at 7 p.m. at the Oak Harbor Yacht Club. The author will sign copies of his books after each presentation.

To involve younger readers in the topic of midwifery, the steering committee chose “The Midwife’s Apprentice” by Karen Cushman, suitable for readers in grades

7 through 9.

In 1998, Oprah Winfrey selected Bohjalian’s novel for her popular book club, guaranteeing that the story about a small town midwife would reach a wide audience.

In conjunction with Bohjalian’s appearance, the film, “The Timeless Way,” will be shown at 3 p.m. on Monday, May 5 at the Oak Harbor Library and at 7 p.m. the same day at the Freeland Library. The film focuses on midwifery care and will be followed by a panel discussion organized by midwife Cynthia Jaffe.

Whidbey Reads has been awarded a $7,000 “One-Book” grant from Washington State Library for its 2008 program.

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