"Together We Read" is the community read event for Stanwood and Camano Island. There are many One Book projects across the country (Whidbey Reads, for instance), and we decided it was time for us to take the plunge.
Our TWR commitee is composed of local community members and business owners, plus Sno-Isle Libraries staff. Initially, we threw all kinds of books and authors into the mix, but we eventually came up with some ways of narrowing the field. The books chosen had to appeal to a wide audience, including high school students. The book had to be readily available in paperback, and we had to have some hope of getting the author to participate (we had a great program with "Plenty: Eating Locally on the 100-Mile Diet" even though the authors weren't available, but having the author visit is very desirable.)
We also wanted to pick a book that hadn't yet been read to death, so many favorite book club titles, though excellent, didn't make the cut. Our group then comes up with around a dozen titles to consider, and then later we whittle that list down to 4 or 5 titles that we all try to read so we can make an informed decision. Then we discuss -- boy, do we discuss! "This is a great book, but I heard an interview with the author on NPR -- and he was so boring!" "I liked this book, but can we get high school kids interested?" "I really wanted to pick this book, but the author just won an award and now his speaking fees have tripled."
We're on track now for the next Together We Read event in Spring of 2013. We're in the process of securing funding and reading a LOT of books with potential. We hope to make a decision and announce our choice near the end of summer.
Here's a list of books chosen for past TWR events. We recommend them all highly, and hope you stay tuned for our next Together We Read event.
2008 Thomas Mullen "The Last Town on Earth"
2009 Alisa Smith/J.B. MacKinnon "Plenty: Eating Locally on the 100-Mile Diet"
2010 Jamie Ford "Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet"
2011 John Vaillant "The Tiger: A True Story of Vengeance and Survival"