Wednesday, April 8, 2009

One Book, One Community

Imagine you are walking down Main Street in whatever town you live in.... It's a beautiful sunny day.... There are a lot of people walking along the street because it's a beautiful day.... And then you notice... while you are walking along.... Everyone is carrying a book.... the SAME book!... Isn't there something a little strange about that? Are we walking thru a George Orwell novel? Of course not! It's just the One Book, One Community program! If your community is participating in the program EVERYONE reading the same book is the goal!

One Book, One Community is a program designed to get people talking thru their shared interest in reading. It's a way for a diverse community to connect and since 1998 when the Washington Center for the Book (Washington as in Seattle, Washington) sponsored 4 days of programs and discussions about a single book, communities all over the United States have adopted similar programs. There are city, state and even countrywide programs! I recently read about a One Book, One Community nationwide read in Trinidad & Tobago!

Where I live in Danbury, Connecticut our "One Book" last year was Jhumpa Lahiri's The Namesake, a touching story of first and second-generation Indian immigrants and their struggles to adapt to a new world. Thru grants and sponsors there were all sorts of events - lectures on Indian cuisine, various film screening of Indian movies, oodles of book discussions and even a meet the author event starring Jhumpa Lahiri! Every incoming freshman at our local University was given a copy to read, and our local library had plenty of copies on hand to borrow.

Well, I'm here to let you know what Danbury, Ct.'s 2009 "One Book" selection is! It's Michael Greenberg's memoir Hurry Down Sunshine! I'm not really letting the cat out of the bag, Random House Library Services made the announcement on their website March 26th. Hurry Down Sunshine tells the story of Greenberg's 15 yr. old daughter Sally and "her first full-blown manic episode - an event that in a 'single stroke' changed her identity and, by extension, that of her entire family. Simply told and beautifully written, Greenberg's memoir shines a stark light on mental illness". The events haven't been announced for our 2009's One Book, One Community selection, but I'll keep you posted...

In the meantime... Is your community planning a One Book, One Community program? Please leave a comment and share what book you're reading! Or what book your community has read in the past! Interested in planning a community read? Here's a link to the American Library Association's online resource center where you can download a guide, and look to see what other communities have chosen in the past:

Happy Reading! And let me know what you think about One Book, One Community!

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