Reading Together


One of the greatest pleasures of a good book is sharing it with friends. We analyze plot twists and compare notes on our favorite characters. We ponder what made the author choose a detail to highlight or direction to follow. We examine our own lives and the choices we’ve made, whether they were similar or in opposition to how the characters behave. Our discussions can be love fests or debates, but either way, they increase the joy of the reading experience.

Imagine the possibilities when an entire city reads a book together.

In my area, we have One Book, One San Diego, a community reading program led by KPBS and the San Diego Public Library. This week I had the privilege of attending the kickoff event for the 2013 program.

I sat at a table with book-loving friends, new and old, from Adventures by the Book, KPBS, a Little Free LibrarySan Diego Writers, Ink and Write Out Loud.  Together, we learned about this year’s selection process and listened to publishers present their recommendations for our One Book. I suspect we were all thinking the same thing. There are so many great books and not enough time to read them all.

In the past, the Advisory Committee has chosen a few books and the community voted on the selection for that year. This year, to increase involvement, we all have the chance to nominate our favorite books. The committee will choose our One Book based on those recommendations.

From the KPBS web site…

Book Criteria for One Book, One San Diego Selections:

1. Story (fiction or nonfiction) is of high literary quality, is significant and compelling, and has a strong narrative and well-developed characters.
2. Themes resonate with local and/or global communities.
3. Inspires discussion, conversations, and action.
4. Available in paperback and hardcover.
5. Author is alive.
6. Should have professional reviews (the book is currently in print and available in large quantities).
7. Suitable for high school study and up (and for people of all backgrounds).

If you live in San Diego County and you have a favorite book that meets those criteria, nominate it today! Nominations are open through March 31st and forms are available online and at all San Diego Public Library locations. The 2013 One Book, One San Diego selection will be announced in May.

If you live elsewhere, your city might have a community reading program, too. Or you could participate in a national reading program like The Big Read, a program of the National Endowment for the Arts. They select several books every year and many cities around the country hold literary events related to those books. In San Diego, Write Out Loud will present events based on Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 during the month of April.

For the next few weeks, I’ll be sharing information about the One Book, One San Diego selection process with my book clubs and reading friends, encouraging them to participate, and deciding which of my favorite books I want to nominate.

Do you have a favorite book that you think your whole city should read?


Filed under Authors, Books, Friendship, novels, Reading

14 responses to “Reading Together

  1. Shary, I’m so glad you joined us and are participating in One Book. It’s such a great endeavor!

  2. Shary, this is such an inspiring idea! I totally agree with your thought… so many books, so little time. But, it’s time well spent! Hopefully (one day), your novel (and mine) will be up for consideration. 🙂 In the meantime, enjoy every word.

  3. This is a cool idea! I know my small town has done a similar thing in the past (maybe they do every year)… and there is a library reading circle, too. I love the idea of being able to discuss a book with anyone I run into anywhere in town. But I also feel overwhelmed at the idea of picking one — that has broad appeal, gives something to talk about across many levels, etc. It’s a big decision! I’ll be so curious what book is picked. I’m not sure what I’d suggest. (p.s. I love your Paris bag!!)

    • Thanks! I love that bag, too. I have a dear friend who gives great presents. 🙂

      It definitely takes a special book to appeal to a broad audience. Of course, no book will please everyone, but I think the committee has done a great job in years past of finding books that are meaningful to our community. I still haven’t decided which book I want to nominate, but I have until the end of March to figure it out.

  4. Great idea! I would have loved to have participated in the Fahrenheit 451 program. I used to teach that book and it is one of my favorites.

    • Several of Ray Bradbury’s stories have lingered in my head long after I’ve read them, especially Fahrenheit 451. Check out The Big Read and enter your zip code to see if there are any events scheduled in your area. Happy Reading!

  5. Oooh! Did they decide yet? Looks like Minneapolis is starting the One Read idea too.

  6. Hi Shary, great idea! Love the post and it’s because of posts like this one. That Inion and I felt as though you would be the perfect choice for “The Versatile Blog Award.” just head on over to our blog for the details and congrats my friend!

  7. Pingback: Anticipation | Shary Hover

  8. Nel

    Kind of makes me want to move to the Bay Area. I was in San Jose some months back. Should’ve dropped by.