Shh…can you keep two secrets?
How about if I tell you a couple of secrets this week? You can keep a secret, can’t you?
Maybe I should have you raise your right hand and swear you won’t tell anyone what you are about to read in this column this week. No, that might look a little awkward to those sitting around you and we don’t want to have them wondering what you are up to, or thinking maybe you have lost your mind. So lower your hand and sit back down.
Besides, these secrets are really not all that secret.
The first one has to do with the BEA Reads program. You know, the libraries in Winnebago, Blue Earth and Elmore choose a certain book each year and then try and get everyone to read it. They hold discussion sessions about the book, and have a special program or two about the book during March.
Remember, last year the book was called “Wonder.” In the past it was “Time of Grace” and “Orphan Train” among others. They have all been very good and interesting to read.
Now I have some inside information about the BEA Reads book title for this year.
It is called “The Boys in the Boat” by Daniel James Brown.
There, the secret is out. Actually, it is not that much of a secret because the BEA Reads program and this book title are already in the BEA Community Ed booklet which you probably already received in the mail, if you live in this Blue Earth Area Schools area.
If you don’t live in this area, and are not going to participate in the BEA Reads program, you might want to give the book a read anyway.
Copies of the book will soon be available in the three libraries, Winnebago, Blue Earth and Elmore, for free. The idea is to have people read a copy of the book and then pass it on to others.
I already have mine. And no, I did not get an early copy because I happen to be the chairman of the Blue Earth Community Library board.
It seems I already had a copy of the book on a shelf in my house waiting for me.
Quite a long while ago my brother-in-law gave me his copy of the book to read, telling me it was a terrific read and I would be interested in it.
I laid it aside and just never got to it. Until now.
I am about halfway through the book and it is, indeed, a very interesting read.
The book is a true story about nine young men who are on a crew (rowing) team who go on their way to winning the 1936 Olympics which was held in Berlin. That is the famous Olympics where Adolf Hitler was trying to prove the superiority of the German people.
Instead of an elite team from the East Coast and colleges like Harvard and Yale, these nine boys were farmers, miners and loggers from the state of Washington.
Besides the detailed tale of how these young men get to the Olympics, the book gives the reader a close look at what life was like in the U.S. in the 1920s and 1930s. It was a hard life of just trying to survive for many folks.
Kids (and adults too) should read this book just to see how easy life is now compared to then.
For instance, one of the young men in the book was abandoned by his family three different times by the time he reached the age of 15. Oops…spoiler alert.
There is also a lot of information about how big this sport of rowing was back then, and how extremely physical and mentally exhausting it was.
I hope you get a chance to read the book. Look for more information about it coming out in the next two months and when it will be available at your local library.
Or, be like me and get an early start on it.
The other secret is that this coming week is our annual Minnesota Newspaper Association convention.
Well, that is not really the secret. The secret part is that the staff at the Faribault County Register has won some awards again this year, and we are pretty happy about that.
While we don’t know just exactly what we have won, we do know Register staff members won seven awards and they are for photography, advertising, column writing, magazines and special sections.
We have to wait until the actual convention starts to learn just exactly what we won. We don’t know which photos, ads and special sections we were recognized for, and whether we won a first or second place.
You can be sure we will let you know all about it in a future edition of the Faribault County Register.
We don’t plan on keeping that information a secret for very long…