The Book Club Across the Country: One Book, One City

The Thin Man

The “One Book, One City” plan seems to be the latest craze across the country and it sounds like a lot of fun. I found out about it from watching the local news, where it was referred to as “One Book, One Denver,” and I thought that a name like that couldn’t have come from Colorado. We’re just not smart enough. And sure enough….No, I’m just kidding. We’re commonly known as dumb hicks out here, but they all live on the outsides of Colorado. Denver is just as hip as California or New York. Ok, I’ve lost track of the topic.

So anyway, after doing a little research, I’ve found that this program is happening across the country. The plan is to have everyone in the city participate in a massive book club and is supposed to read the same book at the same time. This sounds like a great idea doesn’t it? There are some pros and cons though.

First the pros. This is a great project to help people feel like they belong to part of a group. It’s fun doing something that you know many other people in your city are doing and at the same time, you’re learning. By reading, you’re keeping your mind sharp and intellectual. It also helps out the public library systems, as the Chicago project resulted in the book being checked out more than 6,500 times. Not much, compared to the cities population of 3 million, but that’s 6,500 more people than normal, right? Give or take.

Now the cons. Who is deciding who should read these books? Some people think this “committee” might be putting peer pressure on the participating citizens to follow some kind of orders or values. Other people think this is just some plot cooked up by the book industry to sell more books. To that last part, I say, who cares? It’s a good thing to get more people reading and it’s the job of the book industry to do it. If it was their idea, I congratulate them on a job well done.

If you’d like to see if your city is part of the program, you can check out this page on “One Book” Reading Promotion Projects. They also provide an email address for you to request a listing for your city. Check the site and see if your city is participating and what book you should be reading. It looks like Denver is reading The Thin Man, by Dashiell Hammett until the end of October. Now get to reading!

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