One book, one city offers a chance to meet neighbors, explore viewpoints

Credit: contribu

Credit: contribu

Q: I missed last year’s One Book One City event in Powder Springs but see that one is coming up April 11. Would you give me some background about the event and insight into the featured book?

A: You are inquiring about the “One Book, One City” adult campaign that will spotlight “We are the Light” by Matthew Quick.

OBOC, also known as: One Book, One Community; One Book, One Town; One Book, One Read - was born in 1998 from former Executive Director of the Washington Center for the Book at the Seattle Public Library Nancy Pearl.

Pearl’s idea tapped into bringing the Seattle community together through the pages of a selected book to be read and discussed.

In 2021 Julia Davis, the new owner of the Powder Springs bookstore Book Worm, wanted to embrace the community. “In the bookstore world a lot of us share ideas and we, myself and branch manager Powder Springs Public Library Jennifer Rapier, had seen the success of the One Book, One City program in bigger cities,” Davis stated.

“I wanted to put a twist on it and felt it was something that needed to be done particularly when you have a city blessed to have both a bookstore and a library. I wanted us to be able to work together and capitalize on, be able to expand on literacy numbers, our Cobb County numbers as far as reading comprehension and things like that,” she added.

When asked about the selection criteria, Rapier noted, “We look at newer books and wanted books with topics that we felt worked towards our community that could lead to discussions, bring up important issues and talk about.”

Last year Davis and Rapier enhanced the program by dividing it into two parts of the One Book One City reading campaign. “All Her Little Secrets” by Wanda M. Morris (local author) for adults and “Unsettled” by Reem Faruqi for tweens were chosen.

“Each time we had a discussion and then an author talk. Morris dealt with talking about the legal worlds and growing up Black in America,” the branch manager said. “A lot of our patrons said they could relate to the topics in the book and they found it really engaging and interesting. They loved meeting the author.”

Davis noted that “one of the benefits of being a bookstore owner is you get advance reader copies. It’s a great way to get an idea of some of the things that are going to be discussed in important areas. It also gives us an opportunity to get a jump on getting these books before they come out and get the authors on our schedule. Author appearance is a huge plus and getting your book signed is something that not everybody has an opportunity to do.”

New York Times bestseller Matthew Quick, notable author of “The Silver Linings Playbook” will be joining the Powder Springs community on April 11 for the author talk and book discussion.

Rapier said in an email to the AJC, “We are the Light” deals with the aftermath of a mass shooting in a quiet town and how the town pulls together to heal. It centers around Lucas Goodgame whose wife died during the shooting. Lucas was also the high school counselor for Eli whose brother committed the shooting, and after the shooting, Eli becomes an outcast who starts living in Lucas’s backyard.

“We felt this theme was relevant in today’s society. We also felt the themes of grief, loss and overcoming trauma are ones that are relatable to many people in our community. The book deals with these issues in a sensitive way and has a sense of hope and healing.”

The Book Worm Bookstore, City of Powder Springs and Cobb County Public Library System have worked together to plan and develop this event.

The partnership is encouraging the Powder Springs citizens to read the book and join the community at the Hardy Family Automotive Amphitheater in Thurman Springs Park. Copies of Quick’s book is available at the Powder Springs Public Library and the Book Worm bookstore (at a discounted price).

“We have many people who are excited to meet with Matthew Quick and are grateful for him taking time out from his schedule to meet with us,” Rapier said. “He is donating his time for this event.”

This fall, the tween OBOC event is scheduled for Oct. 21. “Wildseed Witch” by Marti Dumas, “deals with bullying and has a lot of great tween topics even though it is in the fantasy realm,” said Davis. “I think a lot of our tweens and young teens can relate. It’s a perfect read because our biggest goal is to have impactful books that we can open up great discussions with.”

Adult event: Author talk, Q&A and book signing at Thurman Springs Park’s Amphitheater in downtown Powder Springs 6 p.m. Tuesday, April 11.

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