In this Sunday's Globe, Sam Allis looked at the One Book One City program in which an entire community reads the same work and takes it as a starting point for lectures, readings, and discussions. It is an event that promotes reading and celebrates books so for those reasons has been embraced by hundreds of cities and towns around the nation, with the notable exception of Boston, the Athens of America.
The reasons? All the usual suspects. Money, for one. But the biggest impediment is the lack willingness on the part of a local bigfoot -- say, like Mayor Menino or a major business or institution -- to step up and take the wheel and steer.
Still, most of the book community in the city likes the idea and, in fact, last week the organizers of the Boston Book Festival and Menino announced that a foundation would fund a One City, One Story event at this year's celebration. A small step but a step nonetheless.
OK, now that we have the ball rolling it's time to start thinking about what we might read if we ever got the chance. Not a small matter if the example of what happened in New York is to be believed. In that estimable city, a large planning committee couldn't come to an agreement on a book. One member of the group, Susan Avery, explained it this way: "It was all about political correctness .... New York just couldn't get out of its own way.''
We have proven our inherent superiority to Gotham time and again. So let's get ahead of the curve and start thinking about what we might like to read together. Here's a link; make a suggestion.
Posted by Paul Makishima