Suggest a Book for Greenwich Reads Together

| 34 Comments

Greenwich Reads Together is a community-wide reading experience which will engage all of Greenwich in exploring a single book. Members of the community are encouraged to suggest their favorite books in the comment box below.

In order to be selected, the book should be of high literary quality, reflective of universal issues and capable of generating thought-provoking discussions. It should lend itself to engaging public programs and appeal to a diverse population. It must also be currently in print and available in large quantities and in multiple formats, including paperback, e-book, audiobook and large print.

The suggestions will be evaluated by the Selection Committee, which is comprised of distinguished members of the community including Greenwich High School English Teacher and Program Administrator Brigid Barry, WGCH Radio host Darby Cartun, former Superintendant of Schools Ernie Fleishman, author and publishing consultant Lucy Hedrick, National Children's Poet Laureate Mary Ann Hoberman, freelance journalist and writer Shashi Khorana and Brunswick junior Will Peisch.

Several community organizations have formed a Steering Committee to lead this effort including Greenwich Arts Council, Greenwich Boys and Girls Club, Greenwich Historical Society, Greenwich Library and the YWCA of Greenwich. The book will be selected for Winter/Spring 2011, and will be explored through discussions, programs and lectures.

34 Comments

I'd like to see Rovella Starr by Carol Denise Mitchell. A friend is reading the book and has promised it to someone else. I don't have the financial resources to plunk down 25.00 for a Publish America book...Ugh, but the jury is in on Rovella Starr. It's a diamond in the rough and that's why I suggest it.

Thank you for your suggestions. After much deliberation, the Greenwich Reads Together Selection Committee selected THE BOOK THIEF from a list of more than 40 books nominated by the community. THE BOOK THIEF was selected for its high literary quality, reflection of universal issues, and capability of generating thought-provoking discussion and appeal to a diverse population.
Click here to learn more.

I suggest the novel WALDEN by Michael Dolan.

The Red Pyramid by Rick Riordan.
Rick Riordan is the author of an amazing series called the Percy Jackson series, and this series is even better.

The Rise of the West by William MacNeill

I suggest "a heartbreaking work of staggering genius" by Dave Eggers. Hilarious at times, moving at others. I also second the suggestion of "Zeitoun", also by Dave Eggers-a remarkable insight into some of the horrors in post-hurricane New Orleans-such awful events revealed that I had never heard about

I would suggest: Four Fish: The Future of the Last Wild Food by Paul Greenberg.

I recommend "The Rope Walk" by Carrie Brown. Carrie is a Greenwich native, has won multiple literary awards for her 6 books including The Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers award, The Library Association of Virginia's choice for two of her books, a National Endowment for the Arts grant, and in 2009 Rope Walk was chosen by the Iowa Center For The Book for the "Iowa Reads Program", which sounds just like yours. This is a beautifully written "coming of age" novel written from the point of view of a 10 year old. Lyrical, imaginative and dealing with current subjects in a sensitive manner--suitable for multiple ages.

There are tons of books! Right now I would like to tackle War and Peace by Tolstoy, Tale of the Genji, the Baroque Cycle by Neal Stephenson, also a Man Asia prize awardee caught my eye, Ilustrado by Miguel Syjuco, I see two copies at the ground floor in Greenwich Library, thank you for taking time reading my suggestions, would love to be in a environment like this.

ZEITOUN by Dave Eggers is an extraordinary non-fiction narrative of a Syrian-American father's survival after Katrina hit New Orleans. Eggers never disappoints. We are all familiar with Katrina and many, many Greenwich residents have volunteered there so there is a familiarity. Greenwich Library already owns 10 copies, audio copies, and this title is available as an e-book.

I suggest CLOUD ATLAS by David Mitchell. Mitchell is growing into a literary giant across the pond, and CLOUD ATLAS is the best example of his genre-bending genius. For over 500 pages, you never want to put this book down.

"Classic" American authors are certainly fine choices, but Mitchell is a major force in contemporary literature.

MY ANTONIA or OH PIONEERS! by Willa Cather

I would like to recommend the following book for Greenwich Reads Together: "Three Cups of Tea: One Man’s Mission to Promote Peace . . . One School at a Time". It is an inspirational story of how one person can make a difference in the world. They have a version of the book written for adults, as well as for children, and the story would appeal to all ages.

"Mistress Masham's Repose" by T. H. White (author of "The Once and Future King") is a story suitable for all ages. It is fun, funny, and widely available in print and used.

It tells the story of a little girl who discovers Lilliputians from Gulliver's travels living on a tiny island near her ramshackle home.

Filled with literary and historic mirth, this is an engaging and cheerful story which you will remember long after reading it alone, or with your children.

Hi:

I would like to recommend "Call It Sleep" by Henry Roth (Not to be confused with Roth of Portnoy's Complaint) or "Look Homeward Angel" by Thomas Wolfe (Never to be confused with Tom Wolf), both of which could be considered the "Great American Novel". "Call it Sleep" is about the Immigrant - on point for everyone. Look Homeward Angel should be read for all since Thomas Wolfe, is THE great American author, with an American story to tell - a coming of age literary classic.


Thanks,

Thanks!

I agree with the reader who suggested Mark Twain, the first quintessentially American writer -- I had originally thought of A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court, especially because of the ties to the region. An alternative in that vein would be The Winthrop Woman by Anya Seton. It's a great historical novel that focuses on New England history and the history of Greenwich, CT in particular, but the themes are timeless and universal. I think we as a community could then move outward and into current fiction, etc., but for a first book, I like the idea of something with a local connection

Two additional (although not contemporary) American authors to consider are F. Scott Fitzgerald and Theodore Dreiser.

I would like to see us read a contemporary American author for our first book. Here are some author suggestions:

Cormac McCarthy

Don DeLillo

Tobias Wolff

Mary Gaitskill

Richard Russo

Marilynne Robinson

EL Doctorow

Julia Glass

Martha McPhee

Louise Erdrich

Elizabeth Strout

Richard Ford

Looking forward to hearing about the final selection!

Man's Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl - This is a book that will stimulate much discussion, can and should be read more than once and its' message is universally applicable.

So glad to see that Greenwich is introducing Greenwich Reads Together. I can't wait to see what book is chosen for the inaugural program.

I live in Pasadena, CA and we have a similar program called One City One Book. We have read several of the books already suggested e.g. The Hummingbird's Daughter, and Gardens of Water and neighboring town read The Soloist this year.

One of the highlights of the program in both Pasadena and La Canada is a lecture by the author of the book that is chosen. It really adds dimension to the program to hear firsthand about the book, their experience writing the book, the response they have had to the book, how did they come up with the theme/characters, and so much more.

Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain

I would like to see the first book in the Greenwich Reads program be an American classic. Huck Finn has the added value of being written by an author who lived in Connecticut and whose home in Hartford is a National Historic Landmark.

It also addresses issues that are relevant today, primarily racism and narratives of escape and freedom. Although it is set in antebellum society, the issues of literacy and voting were hotly debated throughout the period of Reconstruction to the Civil Rights movement in the 1960s. It was banned when first published in 1885 and, according to the American Library Association, was the fifth most frequently challenged book in the U.S. during the 1990s.

The book can be read on many levels and has been adapted for children's literature, film, Broadway, music (Kurt Weill)and the internet. There are endless possibilities for programs, including excursions to the Mark Twain house, a first-person presentation by a Mark Twain performer, a film series, a musical or dramatic performance, a reading/discussion of Ron Powers Pulitzer Prize winning biography of Samuel Clemens' biography, programs for children on Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn, a program on the first edition illustrator E.W. Kemble, forums on racism today, locally and globally.

Submitted by Doug DeNunzio:
The Twilight Saga by Stephenie Meyer
This book should be chosen because of its philosophies to life and religion.

Submitted by Carl White:
Don Quixote by Miguel De Cervantes Saavedra
This book is a classic. It features a character who strives for honor, romance, chivalry, bravery. It represents the finest in world literature. I think it is one of the most beautiful books ever written.

Submitted anonymously:
A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court by Mark Twain.

Submitted anonymously:
Sarah's Key by Tatiana de Rosnay.
It is extremely well written and gives you the history of July 16, 1942 in France with a novel running parallel.

Suggested by Maria Cleary-Guida:
Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout.
Heartwarming, intriguing, interesting characters. Winner of the Pulitzer Prize. It's like a book of short stories focused around the main character, Olive. Slices of life.

Suggested by Mary Cohee:
The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams Bianco.
It is good for all ages and has a good message.

My family would like to recommend Richard Adams' "Watership Down". The story appeals to all ages -- anthropomorphic rabbits work at many levels -- and covers the spectrum of human political and social interaction in one volume. Written when the Iron Curtain was still very much firmly in place, Adams' descriptions of warrens run by fascist dictators or by a declining elite "ring true". The lessons on leadership, friendship, loyalty, creativity, and faith are enjoyable and not pedantic. The story does not shy away from the realities of life -- mortality, duplicity, mendacity, cowardice, different levels of intelligence, sacrifice, fear, ignorance -- while also addressing life's mysteries and the unexplainable (Fiver's feelings). Each chapter, each story within a story, can serve as its own starting point for a conversation between adults or between children and adults.

I highly recommend The House on Mango Street, by Sandra Cisneros. The book consists of a series of vignettes narrated by Esperanza, a resident of Chicago's Puerto Rican community. True to her name, Esperanza's (Hope) narrative captures the lived experience of learning to cope and thrive within the agonistic tension of immigrant experience; assimilation versus ethnic self preservation. Esperanza's truth is our collective truth; to be American is to live with, value and promote this tension. The National Recording for the Blind & Dyslexic has ample copies in audio and Braille formats.

"To Kill A Mockingbird" Its a classic. Its themes are still relevant today. It is also celebrating its 50th anniversary.

"A Reliable Wife" by Robert Goolrick. Just finished, and it's a real page-turner!

I would like to recommend The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. It's a gorgeous book originally written for a young adult audience. I think it's important to include our younger readers in this sort of project. While the book was intended for young adults, I can say it's also of a reading level perfectly appropriate for adults.

I think you have one of 2 choices. Either keep it very local (something that takes place in Greenwich or Sthn. New England) or something that takes the reader very far away like Reading Lolita in Terhan (non-fiction) or Acts of Faith by Philip Roth (fiction). Acts of Faith may be too gritty (although it is one of the best books I've ever read).

I'd like to suggest "The Road", by Cormac McCarthy.

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