Ever since it began in Seattle almost twenty years ago, the phenomenon of the One Book, One Community reading program has grown steadily across the country. Communities of all shapes and sizes have adopted the idea. You’ll now find community reads from Owatonna, Minnesota to Tuscarawas County, Ohio, from New Orleans, Louisiana to Peoria, Illinois, from Long Beach, California, to Raynham, Massachusetts. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of statewide, citywide, countywide, and even country-wide reading programs all over the world.
One Book, One Community is designed to encourage reading for pleasure and start a conversation in the community. It’s intended to bring people together through reading and discussion of a common book. When we all read the same book, we have something in common to talk about – a shared experience. We become a community of readers who share ideas, opinions, likes and dislikes. In today’s world, where there is so much that divides us, the shared experience of reading the same book is an appealing way to bring us together.
Raynham begins its eighth One Book, One Community read this March with The Language of Flowers, by Vanessa Diffenbaugh. It’s an engaging and elegantly written novel that weaves past and present, creating a vivid portrait of a remarkable young woman, abandoned to foster care as a child, whose gift for flowers helps her change the lives of others even as she struggles to overcome her own difficult past. The author has united her firsthand knowledge of the foster-care system – she and her husband have fostered many children – with her fascination with the language of flowers —a language popular with Victorians but now a long-forgotten way of communicating. She has filled the novel with so many references to flowers that is comes with a dictionary as an appendix. We learn, for example, that honeysuckle expresses devotion, asters patience, begonias caution and moss maternal love. You will find this story of love, forgiveness and redemption a wonderful read.
Join in the community read and share your ideas about the book. Copies of The Language of Flowers will be available at the library beginning Wednesday, March 1.
The Friends of the Raynham Public Library are sponsoring several events during April in conjunction with the read, including a tea and talk on the language of flowers, a book discussion, a program on flower arranging and bus trip to the Tower Hill Botanic Garden. For more information on these and other activities, visit the library’s website, http://raynhampubliclibrary.org, open the Books and More tab and click on Raynham Reads 2017, or call the library at 508.823.1344.