Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Common-Ground Through Literature


What do Zeitoun (Dave Eggers), The Help (Kathryn Stockett), The Things They Carried (Tim O'Brien), and Outcasts United (Warren St. John) have in common?


All titles have been chosen as 2010 “One Book” titles in community read programs sponsored by their local library(s). Community read programs have multiplied since the Washington Center for the Book, led by Nancy Pearl, hosted author Russell Banks in 1998 to discuss his book The Sweet Hereafter, followed by four days of related events. http://publicprograms.ala.org/orc/pdfs/onebookguide.pdf

The ultimate goal: to connect the diversity of the larger community together through the shared experience of reading and discussing one book. The mission is noble, to create commonality out of literature. Increasingly, libraries have embraced their role as the communities living room or the new town green.

Attached are some highlights of my favorite “One Book” programs for 2010 from past BEA guests.

One City One Book/ San Francisco Public Library: Zeitoun, by Dave Eggers http://sfpl.org/index.php?pg=2000045401

One Book One Denver/ Denver Public Library: The Help, by Kathryn Stockett http://denverlibrary.org/obod

One Book, One Community/ Danbury Public Library, Danbury Public Schools, Western CT State University: The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien http://www.onebookdanbury.org/

One Maryland One Book: Outcasts United by Warren St. John http://www.mdhc.org/programs/one-maryland-one-book/

Should your library be included on this list? Share your most successful event, or the reasons you chose the book. Don’t forget to tell us the name of your library!

Happy reading and here’s to long lasting and ever changing “One Book” programs which reflect the diversity of the greater world in which we exist.

The Center for the Book, Library of Congress keeps a running list of community read programs; searchable by country, region, or state: http://www.read.gov/resources/



  1. Westport (CT) Public Library just chose Zeitoun for its townwide read in January 2011.

  2. Great choice Maxine! Why did you choose Zeitoun?