Friday, December 6, 2013

One Book / Two Cities

Indianapolis and our Sister City of Cologne, Germany, are trying something new.

You're aware of the "One Book, One City" initiatives: a nation-wide program in which everyone in a community reads the same book. Typically an annual event, the program is intended to foster a sense of community, promote reading among adults, and celebrate literature.

Indy has done this before. In 2009, for example, the book was Some Buried Caesar, a Nero Wolfe mystery by Indiana native son Rex Stout.

This is the first time, however, that two cities in two different countries will be reading and discussing the same book.

The choice is Vienna, a novel by Austrian author Eva Menasse. The book is available free (while, as they say, supplies last) at Indianapolis-Marion County Public Libraries. There also will be copies available for the usual library loan.

Vienna loops forward and back over the course of a century to follow a part-Jewish family separated by the Nazi invasion and World War II. The exchange of stories and anecdotes across generations is the principle means for family members to reclaim their roots – even if they do lead back to generational paradox.

Indianapolis and Cologne have exchanged library staff recently. This partnership is designed to bring our communities together around reading and discussing one book.

There's more on the Indianapolis Public Library website.

A video of the introduction of the book (including a Skype session with the Cologne library staff) is here:

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