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North Idaho Libraries promote reading by relating to wine

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Call it the perfect date: you, your comfy chair, soft light, a good book and a glass of wine. Lap-warming cat or dog optional. In fact, wine is optional, as long as you have a good book. That's what North Idaho Reads has been promoting for five years.

North Idaho Reads is a collaborative effort by libraries in Kootenai, Bonner and Shoshone counties. Partially funded through statewide grants, its mission is to encourage reading by partnering with local organizations, schools, businesses, etc., with a range of programs centered on a theme. This year, the theme is near and dear to our palates: wine!

That's meant pairing with local artists, wineries and especially authors to present workshops, demonstrations, presentations, and book discussions throughout October. There are craft classes, for example, and pop-up art exhibits. Harrison-based Sheppard Wines is making the rounds with winemaking demonstrations — libraries are a great place for books on winemaking — while Pend d'Oreille Winery is one of several hosts for a book discussion by Idaho Wine Country author Alan Minskoff.

Idaho Wine Country was the result of Minskoff's 2008 road trip with former New York Times photographer Paul Hosefros. It profiled the growing list of Idaho wineries, including the first-ever Gem State appellation in the Snake River Valley.

In addition to Minskoff, look for other experts weighing in. Dr. Virginia Johnson, humanities scholar and North Idaho College professor of English literature, emeritus, will give a book talk about Blackberry Wine by Joanne Harris, best known for the book Chocolat. Various wineries will participate in discussions and wine tastings, including Colter's Creek (Juliaetta), Beauty Bay (Harrison), and Clearwater Canyon and Lindsay Creek (both Lewiston).

For those who prefer watching to reading, Coeur d'Alene Library is screening Bottle Shock, based on the true story of how an upstart California wine beat a revered French label in blind taste tests.

Many events are free, although any involving wine require that you be 21 or over. ♦

Go to for details, including a list of other wine-related books.

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