Ever since Seattle Public Library started the trend in 1998, the phenomenon of One Book, One Community reading programs has grown steadily across the country. Over the last 10 years, Kitsap Regional Library has supported this community-based reading initiative as a way to bring people together through the reading and discussion of a common book. Unquestionably, this program promotes literacy and deepens an appreciation of reading, but, most importantly, it allows people to share their personal experiences while reading the same book and really talking and communicating with each other. Nancy Pearl, who originated this program, talks about the fact that “people can go for days at a time not talking to anyone outside their immediate family. There are precious few opportunities for people of different backgrounds, economic levels or ages to sit down together and discuss ideas that are important to them. This kind of project provides that opportunity.”
This year, Kitsap Regional Library is celebrating Pacific Northwest author, Bonnie Sue Hitchcock’s first novel, “The Smell of Other People’s Houses,” as our One Book choice. This book, set in Alaska in 1970, follows four teens whose lives become entangled as they try to save each other. Told in alternating voices, this is a seamless and continually surprising story of risk, love, redemption, catastrophe and sacrifice. Beautifully written, with memorable characters, this book delivers solid life lessons masterfully capturing those pivotal moments (that happen to all of us) that often become the foundation of who we are as adults.
Next year, Kitsap Regional Library hopes to engage our community in the selection of the 2019 One Book, One Community title. We believe that our program can be made even richer through the input of our readers. So, stay tuned. We could be calling upon you to help with our next selection process.
In addition to this year’s choice, please enjoy a retrospective look back by checking out one of these featured titles from the past:
- 2008: “To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee
- 2009: “Cannery Row” by John Steinbeck
- 2010: “Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet” by Jamie Ford
- 2011: “The Big Burn” by Timothy Egan
- 2012: “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks” by Rebecca Skloot
- 2013: “The Leisure Seeker” by Michael Zadoorian
- 2014: “The Boys in the Boat” by Daniel James Brown
- 2015: “The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving” by Jonathan Evison
- 2017: “A Sudden Light” by Garth Stein