Have you ever had the experience of not knowing what to say to someone? You probably have; we’ve all suffered through it. It’s that awkward interval after the initial greeting when you anxiously search your brain for the right conversation opener – should it be sports, the weather, the debt ceiling? I understand that it’s a common problem, but it doesn’t have to be if you join the One Book, One Community read. You need never be at a loss for words again!
Ever since Seattle’s Washington Center for the Book started the trend twenty years ago, the phenomenon of One Book, One Community reading programs has grown steadily across the country. There are now statewide, citywide, countywide, and even country-wide reading programs all over the world. You’ll find community reads from North Dakota to Tuscarawas County Ohio, from New Orleans, Louisiana to, well, say, Raynham, Massachusetts. This grassroots reading phenomena has become so popular because it brings people together by giving them a shared experience. When we all read the same book, we all have something in common to talk about. We become a community of readers who share ideas, opinions, likes and dislikes about the book we are reading.
Raynham begins its eleventh annual community read, Raynham Reads 2020, this February with the book Good Riddance, by Elinor Lipman. Lipman is a New York Times’ bestselling author of witty, wry romance, and in this book she doesn’t disappoint. The novel revolves around a discarded high school yearbook. Daphne doesn’t quite know what to make of the heavily annotated high school yearbook she inherits from her mother, who held on to this remnant of her teaching days. Daphne’s mother was the teacher to whom the class of ’68 had dedicated its yearbook, and in turn she went on to attend every reunion, scribbling notes and not always charitable observations of the class in the yearbook’s margins. In a fit of decluttering Daphne discards the yearbook. But when it’s found in the recycling bin by a neighbor and documentary filmmaker, Daphne finds herself entangled in a series of events both heartwarming and ridiculous. The book has been praised as “Effortlessly charming . . . inspires a very specific kind of modern joy.” (New York Times Book Review)
Highlighting this year’s community read will be the author’s visit in April. Although she now lives in New York, Elinor Lipman grew up in Lowell, Massachusetts, graduated from Simmons and often uses New England as the setting for her novels. Friends of the Raynham Public Library invite you to read the book, join the discussion and meet the author. For more information on Raynham Reads 2020 and the events planned for March and April, visit the library’s website, raynhampubliclibrary.org or call the library at 508.823.1344. Raynham Reads 2020 is sponsored by the Friends of the Raynham Public Library, the Raynham Cultural Council and the Raynham Public Library.