According to the DPL website,
One Book, One Denver is Mayor Hickenlooper's citywide book club created to build community and stimulate people to read.
(Yes, our mayor's name is Hickenlooper. Watch out, he's running for gub'ner!)
So what happens is, the mayor sets out three books, and then there's a popular vote done on the library website. The choice is chosen but kept secret for a couple of months, while people add their names to the Holds list. I think something like 1100 people put the OBOD on hold this year, sheesh!
The choices this year were:
- The Help by Kathryn Stockett
- Fine Just the Way It Is by Annie Proulx
- The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski
It's probably a surprise to no one that The Help was chosen. It's the book with all the buzz, at least from what I can tell. I read it about a month ago (it was great!) and Brian started it, but he wasn't able to finish before it was due back. So now he has at least 3 more weeks to get through it.
In the next few days I'm going to look at the schedule of events and see what discussion groups and activities I might want to check out. I'm from the south (though not as deep as Mississippi, where the book takes place) and now living in a place where race, at least the black/white perspective, doesn't seem to be much of an 'issue' on the list of top issues.
Aside: did I ever tell you about the time Chapel Hill was considering changing the name of the main street from Airport Blvd. (which had local historical significance that was meaningful to longtime residents) to MLKJ Blvd.? The opponents gave their arguments, which had a lot to do with the financial hit to business, which needed HELP, and suggested more appropriate, more meaningful, less costly ways ($50k to get the street signs changed, for starters) to celebrate/honor Dr. King. The local NAACP leader then got up and said, pointing fingers, that they were all racist. "You a racist, and you a racist, and you a racist." I'll never forget that moment Even in supposedly-enlightened, progressive Chapel Hill, North Carolina, community leaders will point their fingers and call each other racist.
To contrast, the apparent lack (at least from my very limited perspective - my circles right now are still very small) of 'blacks vs. whites' mentality out here is startling to someone who grew up surrounded by that mentality. I'm really curious about the Wild West's take on racial reconciliation, the theme of the book. It really is a different world in the South. Could everyman Coloradans have anything meaningful to contribute to the discussion? I'll find out soon enough, I guess. (I wonder how many times I'll hear someone refer to 'those people' and what kinds of Southerner stereotypes I might hear about.)
Does your city do something like this? Have you ever gone to 'discussion groups' for a massive reading effort? What's the most troubling thing you can remember happening in your community?