One City, One Book

I think I was conscious of the One City, One Book movement, but only in the past few days have I become fully aware it was a nationwide effort; indeed extended to Canada, Australia and the U.K. A locality somehow selects one book and calls upon all of its adults and teenagers to read it during a specified period. The purpose is to bring the community together in a shared experience, leading I suppose to discussions in the check-out line. The program began in Seattle, lead by librarian —and action figure model — Nancy Pearl.

It’s interesting to see the books that various communities have chosen. I list some — arbitrarily — below. The Library of Congress Center for the book has a page with many more. There’s another list here.

  • Arizona — Animal Dreams (2002), Plainsong (2003)
  • Tucson, Austin — Bless Me, Ultima
  • Los Angeles — Fahrenheit 451
  • Chicago , Duluth and many other communities — To Kill a Mockingbird
  • District of Columbia — Having Our Say: The Delany Sisters’ First 100 Years
  • Orlando — Charlotte’s Web
  • Kentucky — The Bean Trees
  • Maine — Killer Angels
  • Ann Arbor — Abraham Lincoln’s DNA and Other Adventures
  • Eugene — Sometimes a Great Notion
  • Waco, Houston and many others — A Lesson Before Dying
  • Virginia — Sophie’s Choice

Is this a good thing? Certainly Judith Shulevitz in The New York Times is doubtful — You Read Your Book and I’ll Read Mine.