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Why This Year is the Year to Check Out Our “If All…” Program

The following blog post is written by Rylie Day.

If you have followed Writers & Books for very long, you have probably heard of our program “If All of Rochester Read the Same Book”. If you haven’t and even if you have, here’s a short overview. Each year, Writers & Books selects a title to read, promote, and discuss. The book serves as a mean of bringing people together in literary experience and discussion throughout Rochester. Beginning in January and continuing through March, events are held throughout the Rochester area, all of which are centered around the selected read. At the end of March of each year, we dedicate three days of dizzying excitement to the visit of the book’s author. The title we settled on for 2014 is The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey. If you have participated in this event before, we hope that you will continue the tradition this year. If you have not, then we enthusiastically encourage you to do so. Below are a few reasons why this year is the year to start (or continue!) to partake in this incredibly rewarding program by reading The Snow Child.

1. The fairytale: The Snow Child is inspired by a children’s book with the same name, based off of the Russian folktale, Little Daughter of the Snow. Written in three lengthy sections, Ivey includes an excerpt from the tale before she begins each part. By doing so, she allows for the reader to guess (or assume!) as to what may happen, while perpetuating a sense of fantasy and magic. In short, this tale is capable of speaking to and awakening the child within us.

2. The mystery: Seeing as The Snow Child is based off an already established and relatively well known story, the reader may find him/herself tempted to assume he/she knows the outcome, especially seeing as Ivey includes excerpts from the tale itself. However, there is an underlying sense of mystery from cover to cover which leaves the reader spell-bound, captivated, and yearning for more. It is far from predicable. Ivey’s story-telling is magical, as is her ability to keep the reader mesmerized from curiosity striking beginning to heart-breaking end.

3. The setting:
Set in the Alaskan wilderness during the 1920’s, this unique setting tells a story of its own. Whether it is the ever-present wildlife, the portrayal of the homesteading and hunting lifestyle, or the lush descriptions of snow-capped, mountainous Alaskan terrain, Ivey sheds light on a world very dissimilar to our own. It begs for you to grab a mug of something warm, wrap yourself in a blanket, and get lost in the wondrous world of snow.

4. The characters: Whether it is the brokenhearted, delicate Mabel, the stoic, introverted Jack, the effervescent, non-traditional Esther, or the mysterious girl of the snow (whose name I will leave for you all to discover), each of these characters add to the story in their own invaluable ways. What’s more, the palpable growth they all experience by the book’s close make you cherish them all the more.

5. The events!: This year Writers & Books has organized a number of unique events all of which have to do with The Snow Child and its premise. Besides children’s events, book discussions, and writing workshops, there will be craft sessions, musical endeavors, and Alaskan themed videos, discussions, exhibits, and more! The highlight of the event will of course be visit with Eowyn Ivey herself when she visits Rochester from March 19-21. For the full list of events, take a look at our website’s “If All of Rochester…” Calendar using this address:

If this hasn’t given you reason enough to start The Snow Child immediately, then check out our website for more information, an author autobiography, book reviews, related reading, a book excerpt, and more. )

Happy reading!