Suggest a Book for Greenwich Reads Together


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 a Library staff committee and announced later this fall.

(Suggestions are now closed for Greenwich Reads Together 2011-2012.  Watch for the book announcement in early 2012.)


I agree that Animal, Vegetable, Mineral by Barbara Kingsolver would be a good choice. It is thought provoking and leads to action of growing some food. 2 generations of our family read it and made our own cheese afterward, and later went on a family trip to stay at a farm.
Phyllis Schondorf

I recommend Boomerang (subtitled "Travels in the New Third World"), by Michael Lewis. He combines delicious humor and clearly expressed deep understanding of the financial mess (we) the world is in. The book is short and is written with simple sentences. A winner.

Trish suggests Last Town on Earth by Thomas Mullen

Suggested by an anonymous Greenwich reader:
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

Greenwich Reads suggestions:
The Picture of Dorian Gray
Oscar Wilde

The Woman in White
Wilkie Collins

I would like to suggest the young adult novel, A Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Park for our community read. Based on a true story, Park writes about two African children: Nya, who, in 2008, when her story is told, must walk eight hours a day to fetch water for her family; and Salva, who, in 1985, walks away from his destroyed village in search of safety. He walks across Africa from Sudan to Ethiopia and then to Kenya for many years, always trying to be unnoticed by rebel armies who would kill or induct him. Salva is one of the lost boys of Sudan - boys who disappeared by running away rather than become child soldiers. Three thousand of these boys, including Salva, were eventually adopted by US families. How he manages to give back for the generosity he has received connects him to Nya and others like her and is a wonderful story.
The book is well written, available in paperback, and I see many opportunities for programs and discussion - from the importance of protecting our water to child soldiers in Africa.

I would like to suggest The Invention of Hugo Cabret -- a wonderful combination of historical fiction and graphic novel.

I recommend Zeitoun - well written, appealing to many age groups, powerful story and would generate many great discussions. Last year, it was Westport's choice.

Submitted by Lucy Hedrick:
I recommend that the Selection Committee choose The Yellow House by Patricia Falvey (now in paperback). This is a novel of historical fiction encompassing the making of linen in the linen mills of northern Ireland as well as the founding of the IRA. The process of making linen is fascinating and grueling. The novel embodies a class struggle between those that own the mills and those that work in them, as well as the founding and activities of the Irish Republican Army. The book's many themes are very discussable for all ages. Patricia Falvey lives in Dallas, TX, and Belfast, Ireland, as is available for author visits.

Submitted by Julia Deangelo:
Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver
"Kingsolver and her family consciously decide to only eat food grown by themselves or by other near and known sources for one whole year. It's a very positive book with a powerful and urgent message. It is perfect for all audience ages because both her elementary and college aged daughters are involved and contribute. This is a subject many people in this town value and it is told in a completely manageable, non-preachy way.

At this point, Kingsolver is not accepting speaking engagements while she completes her new book. However, if she still isn't available by next year, perhaps Camille, her daughter, or Steven L. Hopp, her husband, could speak. Both are co-authors of the book.

Last year we had a fiction book, so it would be great to mix it up a bit. AVM is the best of both worlds- it's a beautifully written story that is also true. An added bonus is that Kingsolver, her husband and her daughter narrated the audiobook themselves.

I remember there were many community events planned around THE BOOK THIEF. Some possible ones for AVM could include:
Meet the farmers from the farmer's market
An event with Garden Education Center about what you could be doing now if you wanted to start a garden
Feature restaurants who get their food from local sources
Stories written by school children about their favorite food or plant."

Submitted by Janet Klion:
Zeitoun by Dave Eggers.
"Easy read/ available on paper/ popular author/ about New Orleans and problems of Katrina/ how FEMA failed/ sympathetic to Muslims, promotes tolerance, etc. Required reading for 9th grade at Lab School, NYC.

Submitted anonymously:
March or Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks

Submitted anonymously:
Russian Winter by Daphne Kalotay

Suggested by Elizabeth Leonardo Schwendeman

Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand
Amazing journey of a human being's abilities under stress both physical and emotional, and a will to live.

Submitted by an anonymous Greenwich reader:
I too suggest Zeitoun, by Dave Eggers. It is a gripping, powerful read--hard to put down. It's the story of what happens to a family during and after Hurricane Katrina and how it affected them, and ultimately it's about what it means to be an American and a human being. And it also happens to be a true story. I read it a year ago and I'm still thinking about it.

I would like to recommend The Tiger's Wife by Tea Obreht. This first novel by the 25 year old New York based writer won The UK's Orange Prize for Fiction 2011, the criteria for which is that a book be original, accessible and excellent. "It is a very brave book......we were looking for a book that had some kind of alchemy, that changed us as readers and the way we thought about the world.....a book that puts storytelling at it's heart" - from the panel of judges. Set in the Balkans, it conjures brilliant images and interweaves fable and superstition in the aftermath of war and the escape of a tiger from the city zoo.

I would like to recommend Half Blood Blues by Esi Edugyan. It was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize. It is a novel about a group of black jazz musicians that played together in Paris, 1940. The star trumpeter was black and German. He was taken away by the Nazis. 50 years later two of his friends try to find out what happened to him. Not sure if this book meets the qualifications of being readily available, as friends have said it is only available through Amazon U.K. I waited a few weeks for a reserved copy through the Cos Cob library. If it doesn't get picked, I recommend reading it on your own. The language is very lyrical, like jazz.

Given the success of Bill Bryson's recent lecture at the library, my second suggestion for a group read would be one of his books. Maybe the Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid: A Memoir because it's all about growing up?

Mr. O'Donoghue: Thanks for your suggestion. You are correct, "Half Blood Blues" is currently a UK only title but we have two copies here at the library. It is scheduled to be published in the U.S. at the end of February, 2012.

I would like to suggest Mountains beyond Mountains: Healing the World: The Quest of Dr. Paul Farmer by Tracy Kidder. This book is both provoking and uplifting and appealing to so many age groups. It is often selected as required reading in schools throughout the US and would lend itself to relevant discussions and engagement on social justice and issues of global equity in health care. I can assure you a visit from someone related to this book...Tracy Kidder, Ophelia Dahl or perhaps even Paul Farmer himself....

Two suggestions:

Mudbound by Hillary Jordan - Pasadena CA's One City One Book selection in 2011. Wonderful book - well written and the various subjects highlighted in the book lend themselves to lots of complementary programming.

Finding Nouf by Zoe Ferraris - Interesting and timely.

Zeitoun by Dave Eggers meets all of the criteria of the selection committee.It is beautifully written and of the highest literary quality. It reflects contemporary universal issues. The book is highly engaging in that it deals with the most heroic responses to natural disaster and the dark side of a society which misplaces its fear and prejudice in response to alleged terrorism. Zeitoun appeals to a diverse population in terms of social class, ethnicity and age range. In fact it was selected as required reading by the Taft School and several colleges.
Finally, the book lends itself to wonderful programs in addition to discussion groups. I believe we shall have a real opportunity to get the author, Dave Eggers, to Greenwich.

I think Caleb's Crossing by Geraldine Brooks is a wonderful, beautifully written book of our early American History

My suggestion is The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls. My husband and I listened to the audio version as we drove home from Cape May, NJ, and at the end of this trip we were still so entranced, we didn't want to get out of the car.

I suggest Chains by Laurie Halse Anderson It's historical, has great content for schools from middle school and up, beautifully written, and like Markus Zusak, Laurie is an engaging and dynamic speaker who will inspire listeners of all ages.

On the suggestion above, I loved The Road, and think it's well-written and extremely powerful but I think it's so devastatingly bleak it won't have the universal appeal needed for a community read, especially if we're trying to have programs in the middle schools as well.

I would like to suggest The Road by Cormac McCarthy. And to answer the inevitable question of why am I suggesting this book (again), it's mainly because I believe that as a species, if we don't shape up, this could very well be the road we're heading down. Should provide much food for thought and grist for discussion.

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This page contains a single entry by Kate published on September 22, 2011 9:10 AM.

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