… and so I was greeted with my September edition of Library Journal. (Yes, I’m a month behind.) I love “One Book” programs. The premise is that a community chooses a certain book and everyone (or at least those interested) reads the book. Book discussions and other events surrounding the book then take place. These programs are held all over North America, Australia and the U.K. [See the article “One Great Idea” by Beth Dempsey for more.]

Imagine my delight when I happened upon a ballot at Wells Library at IU to vote for “One Book, One Bloomington, and Beyond”. The criteria for the books vary by program. I like that one of the requirements is that the book must be “accessible to high school students ages 16 and up.” High school teachers could definitely have their students participate in the program. Who would, ideally, then be able to talk to their parents and other adults about the book. Then…ta da…everyone is brought together by one book. Fabulous, isn’t it? Of the six choices, I have only read one, The Known World by Edward Jones.  Other choices include Hannah Coulter by Wendell Berry, The Story of Forgetting by Stefan Merrill Block, The Amazing Adventures f Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon, The Solace of Leaving Early by Haven Kimmel, and The Hour I First Believed by Wally Lamb.

My choice…The Solace of Leaving Early. The blurb on the ballot describes it as such: “This heartwarming story set in Indiana uses interior and exterior dialog to tell the story of two troubled people at odds with their small-town life who find solace in each other.”

A little more and bit better info from Amazon: “After being dumped by her professor/ boyfriend and walking out on her Ph.D. oral exams, Langston Braverman returns to her seemingly simple Midwest hometown, where she learns that a childhood friend has died. The Kierkegaard-reading Langston is so afflicted with existential malaise that she ignores her own family and cannot bring herself to inquire into the cause of Alice’s death. Langston is finally brought out of her isolating stupor when she begins to care for Alice’s two disturbed daughters with the unwanted help of the town preacher. Kimmel, also author of the celebrated memoir A Girl Named Zippy, draws remarkable characters out of ordinary, small-town America. The dialog is clever and sleek without degenerating into the facile pacing of a television script. Through masterly interior and exterior dialog, Kimmel devises a heartwarming story about troubled individuals who struggle with their problems while finding solace and a degree of peace in one another.”

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