SR! 2010 Season News

Saratoga Reads Announces Upcoming Events

Activities include discussion groups and a family-oriented movie matinee.

Recollections of World War II and the impact of the war on Saratoga Springs will be among a wide range of themes explored in upcoming events offered by Saratoga Reads and its community partners. The events, open to the public free of charge, will draw on themes from the current Saratoga Reads book of choice, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows.

The book is a fictional story told through a series of letters. It depicts the life and struggles of a group of neighbors on the English Channel island of Guernsey during World War II, when the island was occupied by Nazi Germany.

An open discussion of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society will take place on Thursday, Feb. 25, beginning at 6:45 p.m. in the Higher Grounds Caffe at the Saratoga Springs Public Library. The free event will be preceded by an optional special activity at 5:30 p.m.—a “secret dinner” featuring roast pork, fried red cabbage, German chocolate cake, and, yes, potato peel pie. The cost of the dinner is $10.50 for adults and $5.95 for children, payable at the event. For dinner reservations call 518-450-0209 or email

“The dinner menu, the fact the meal is ‘secret,’ and the significance of potato peel pie are all explained in the letters contained in Guernsey. It’s a fascinating story,” said Tabitha Orthwein, chair of the board of Saratoga Reads. “We invite all members of the community to read the book or one of the many junior companion books we recommend for young readers.”

The events continue on Saturday, Feb. 27, at 1:30 p.m. at the Spring Street Gallery (119 Spring St.), when the Saratoga Vital Aging Network (SVAN) will offer a discussion of Guernsey with a focus on the book’s theme of resiliency and bonding in times of adversity. The organizers encourage participants to share their own stories and extend a special invitation to veterans and others who experienced World War II. For more information call 518-587-4540.

Saratoga Reads will host a “Free Movie Matinee for Book Lovers” on Sunday, Feb. 28, beginning at 2 p.m. in Gannett and Davis auditoriums of Palamountain Hall, Skidmore College. The day will feature simultaneous showings of two movies inspired by books—84 Charing Cross Road, for adults, and Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, for children. Admission and refreshments are free.

The movie 84 Charing Cross Road is based on the true story of Helene Hanff, an American writer who formed an enduring friendship through letters with a London bookseller. The film stars Anthony Hopkins, Anne Bancroft, and Judi Dench (PG, 100 minutes).

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs (PG, 90 minutes) is a children’s movie about the exploits of a failed inventor, based on the #1 bestselling book by Judi and Ron Barret. This will be a supervised showing for school-age children. Parents are invited to bring their children in grades K and up and to watch 84 Charing Cross Road in an auditorium down the hall (parents must stay on the premises). Children not yet in kindergarten must view the movie with an accompanying adult.

The Friends of the Saratoga Springs Library will offer a discussion titled “Saratoga Goes to War” on Sunday, March 14, at 2 p.m. in the library’s Dutcher Community Room. Experts in local history will offer accounts of how life in the Spa City was affected by the war and will share stories of men and women from the region who served their country. Panelists will include Wayne Clark, of the New State Military Museum; Eugene Corsale, co-founder of the Saratoga County Honor Our Deceased Veterans program; Mary Ann Fitzgerald, city historian; and Lesley Leduc, public affairs coordinator for Yaddo. Community members are invited to share their memories and to bring letters, photos, and other memorabilia.