Wilton Library’s community wide program, Wilton Reads, takes people to unfamiliar places — geographically, intellectually, and emotionally. This year, readers will travel to 1920s Kenya with Circling the Sun by Paula McLain, a historical novel based on the life of Beryl Markham, a female pilot and horse trainer.

The story is about a fiercely independent and enigmatic woman who followed her own head and heart, contrary to the norms of the society in which she lived. Her childhood was difficult, her marriages failures, her profession of training race horses outside the norm for women. Her choice to become a pilot and then fly solo east to west across the Atlantic was met with skepticism and derision.

This is the library’s 11th season of Wilton Reads, which kicks off on May 18 with a book giveaway. There will be book discussions, movies, children’s activities, a travel seminar, and a culminating visit from the author on June 1. McLain will be honored with a Grodin Family Fine Writers Award for outstanding writing when she visits the library.

“We are thrilled to be bringing Wilton Reads to the community once again,” said Elaine Tai-Lauria, executive director of Wilton Library. “It is an opportunity for us to come together to discuss fine literature and it gives us a chance to look at the world in other ways. This is such a well-crafted story and the exotic locale adds another layer of richness to the experience that we think people will enjoy.”

To encourage readership and to kick off Wilton Reads 2016, 100 paperback copies of Circling the Sun will be distributed to members of the community free, courtesy of Fairfield County Bank, on a first-come, first-served basis, on Wednesday, May 18, beginning at 10, while supplies last. For a little bit of flavor, free Kenyan coffee will be provided by Tusk & Cup Fine Coffee, a new Wilton Center establishment. Many of the activities over the two-week Wilton Reads period are made possible due to the partnerships with Fairfield County Bank and Tusk & Cup Fine Coffee.

The library is also inviting people to bring in their personal photographs of Kenya beginning May 1 through May 13. They may digitally scan the photos, negatives or slides so they may be projected during Wilton Reads events in a slideshow in the gallery. Participants will receive a thumb drive of their newly digitized photos. For details, email innovation@wiltonlibrary.org.    

Wilton Reads events are:


  • Wednesday, May 18, book giveaway beginning at 10, while supplies last;

  • Circling the Sun by Paula McLain Book Giveaway, 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. (while supplies last);

  • Wednesday, May 18, Circling the Sun book discussion with Joanna Ecke from 7 to 8:30 p.m.

  • Saturday, May 21, 3-4:30, families are invited to a free screening of Disney’s The Lion King.

  • Tuesday, May 24, Kenya travel seminar with Margaret Sanko, 7-8:30 p.m.

  • Wednesday, May 25, noon-1:30, Circling the Sun book discussion with Susan Boyar.

  • Wednesday, May 25, 4-4:45, Kenyan Story Time with folk tales, a short film, and a craft for children ages 4 and up.

  • Friday, May 27, 7-9 p.m., screening of the Oscar-winning film Out of Africa.

  • Saturday, May 28, 2-4 p.m., screening of the Hollywood classic, African Queen starring Katharine Hepburn and Humphrey Bogart.

  • Wednesday, June 1, 7-8:30 p.m., author Paula McLain visits Wilton Library.


For details on these events, and to register, visit www.wiltonlibrary.org  or call 203-762-6334.