By SARAH TUCKER
Librarians at the Columbia Public Library are excited about this year’s One Read, the month-long, community-wide reading series that started Wednesday.
“It’s really fun to have one book that a large number of people in the community have read and discussed,” public services librarian Lauren Williams said.
Dan Chaon’s “Await Your Reply” was selected as the book for this year’s One Read. A literary thriller, it follows the story of three strangers whose lives become connected in strange and unexpected ways.
A predominant theme in “Await Your Reply” is identity and how easily the novel’s characters change their own identities. To help illustrate this theme, One Read has scheduled “Unmasked,” an art workshop at which participants explore and display their own identities through masks.
“It’s another way to explore a theme in the book in a hands-on way,” Williams said.
Author talks and panel discussions are also scheduled throughout September, as well as movie screenings and an art reception. New to this year’s One Read is a flash fiction contest. Participants are invited to write a short story about changing identity in 250 words or less by Monday, Sept. 20.
“It gives people the opportunity to write about an ‘imagined fresh start,’” Williams said.
Whether or not people enjoy “Await Your Reply,” Williams thinks the community will find the novel’s themes compelling and interesting to discuss.
“(There are) so many angles from which to discuss the book,” Williams said. “I’m really looking forward to participating in several of the book talks to hear the public’s reactions to themes in the book.”
For a complete calendar of One Read events in September, please visit http://oneread.dbrl.org/calendar.