Need a good read to cuddle up with as the winter weather hits? For the 13th year in a row, the Deschutes Public Library Foundation is offering "A Novel Idea...Read Together," the program based on a single book, designed to bring residents together for an ongoing cultural learning experience. On Dec. 2, the foundation will reveal the 2017 reading selection during a free community celebration at the Downtown Bend Library.
According to "A Novel Idea" Program Coordinator Liz Goodrich, past selections have included stories that take readers all over the world and to different places in time. "We've read books that have taken us to Afghanistan ("The Kite Runner"), Japan ("A Tale for the Time Being"), Papua New Guinea ("Euphoria"), the Civil Rights-era Mississippi ("The Help"), and to the rivers of Oregon ("The River Why")," says Goodrich. "Each selection has provided readers the opportunity to explore issues, ideas, and other perspectives through the lens of a well-told story."
The 2017 reading selection promises to explore new ground and organizers expect participation to be at an all-time high. In its first year, "A Novel Idea" had just over 400 participants and offered eight programs. "Last year we offered 22 programs that served over 6,000 people, including 150 local book club members," says Goodrich. "The programs are always free thanks to the generous support of the Deschutes Public Library Foundation and other sponsors."
"A Novel Idea" was created with the goal of promoting community engagement through the reading and discussing of a single book. Close to two dozen cultural events based on the 2017 selection are currently planned in an effort to build and expand on the story's themes and help facilitate discussion and a deeper understanding of the subject matter. Past events have included cooking classes, drumming workshops, art classes, and historical presentations, all intended to highlight the chosen novel and inspire community conversations.
Goodrich says, "Over the years we've picked books that people absolutely love and we've also had selections that readers have disliked, but the good thing is that whether people love or hate the book, the conversations are happening."
The "A Novel Idea" unveiling celebration is a free event that will include an annual trivia quiz, light appetizers and no-host beer and wine. The program officially kicks off Saturday, April 8, 2017, but once the book is announced, there's nothing stopping you from getting started.
Fri, Dec. 2, 7pm
Downtown Bend Library, 601 NW Wall St., Bend