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Capitol Lakes Community Read: Then & Now

Capitol Lakes Community Read officially began in 2022, but was an outgrowth of a program that started during the pandemic.  With lockdowns causing unprecedented social isolation, your Capitol Lakes Foundation sprang into action to provide care packages to residents that included books and other items.  While reading was a good way to pass the time, it didn’t create an opportunity for the social connection that was so sorely missed.  The program was therefore expanded to offer virtual book discussion groups to bring people together in a safe way.

Over a roughly two-year period ten discussion groups were organized around four books residents recommended and the Foundation purchased from local bookstore, Mystery to Me.  As soon as one discussion group wrapped up, another book was chosen so that residents were always reading and discussing together.

However, as lockdowns eased the need for a consistent and on-going program organized by the Foundation waned.  Residents had more activity options and the regular resident-led book discussion group could again meet in person monthly.  However, the positive feedback around the program suggested that it shouldn’t be abandoned entirely.  An idea formed to host an annual “community read” – similar to UW’s Go Big Read – that could be held during the doldrums of winter when it was harder to get out and about.

In January 2022 Capitol Lakes Community Read was born.  While not planned, the program coincided with the Omicron surge which saw residents once again locked down.  That year’s book, “The Storied Life of AJ Fikry” by Gabrielle Zevin, was quickly ordered and delivered so residents could read during their isolation. 

Over the last three years your Foundation has distributed 233 total books and hosted 71 residents at multiple discussion groups.  This year we read and discussed “Run” by Ann Patchett.  The book follows a pair of adopted brothers raised by their adoptive father after the death of their adoptive mother and explores issues of class, race, and the definition of family itself.  Our two discussion groups delved deeply into these questions and also examined the concept of nature versus nurture, the religious symbolism weaved throughout the novel including ideas of penance and redemption, and the role of women and mothers. 

Capitol Lakes resident, Gloria Dougherty, both read the novel and participated in the discussion group.  She later wrote to say that “It was a good book and a great discussion.  Thank you.”

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