Theme of Book May Scare the Pants Off Readers
By Rebecca Foster-Goodman
Getting dressed in the morning is something we all do. Some people set their clothes out neatly pressed the night before; others grab whatever is clean from the top of the laundry basket. Regardless of how you arrive at the outfit you’re wearing, few of us think about the lifespan of our clothes. The Lake Forest and Lake Bluff libraries hope to make consumers more aware of sustainable clothing with Read Between the Ravines.
Michelle Doshi of the Lake Forest Library joins Jillian Chapman of the Lake Bluff Public Library with the book Unraveled…The Life and Death of a Garment, the subject of this year’s Read Between the Ravines series.
The annual series was created to enhance and broaden non-fiction literacy. Since its inception in 2019, one non-fiction title is chosen that is relevant to the two communities. This year, Maxine Bédat’s Unraveled…The Life and Death of a Garment was chosen.
Unraveled…The Life and Death of a Garment follows the journey of a pair of denim jeans – from procuring the cotton and producing the dyes, through manufacturing, shipping, delivery and finally to the disposal of clothing under mountains of trash in a landfill. Most consumers are not aware that 85 percent of our clothing ends up in landfills or is burned.
The Read Between the Ravines selection committee consists of Lake Forest and Lake Bluff Public Library employees, including Michelle Doshi (Lake Forest Library Adult Services Librarian) and Jillian Chapman (Lake Bluff Public Library Community Engagement Coordinator). Chapman explains why Bédat’s book became the subject of this year’s series. “We try to find books that take a different angle on a topic that not only affects us locally but also as a nation,” she said. “Since we all wear clothes, this topic really speaks to us all.”
Each year the libraries host events to supplement and connect the non-fiction work to our daily lives. The events for this year’s series began on March 1 with a seed starter kit, which provided vegetable and herb seeds to start a home garden. Other activities include creating a capsule wardrobe, sewing a tote bag from a t-shirt and sashiko mending. Activities finish on April 4 with an Evening with Author Maxine Bédat at the Gorton Community Center. Doshi hopes readers will apply what they’ve learned to their daily lives. “We really want people to get engaged with non-fiction and the conversation that it starts. This series is a great introduction,” she noted.
How clothes are made, what they are made of, and what happens when we donate or dispose of those clothes might not be at the forefront of our decision-making process, but Joy Schmoll (Head of Communications for Lake Forest Library) is hopeful that this series will make consumers more thoughtful. "When we raise awareness about these issues, it allows for people to make informed decisions. This book, and the activities we’ve created around it, gives consumers an opportunity to pause, reflect, and reconsider decisions they make when they purchase clothing.”