There are some wonderfully innovative programs out there to promote books and reading. One of the nicest I’ve heard of is something called One Book One Community. It is put together by folks in the Waterloo region of Ontario. The format is simple: OBOC selects one single book to read, promote and discuss for that year’s program. Just one book.
Imagine my delight that Lakeland has been selected for this year’s OBOC title!
While I’ve known about this for a little while, I had to keep my mouth shut until the official launch, which took place today in a library branch in Waterloo, attended by guests and media. I’ll be in Ontario this fall for OBOC events in Cambridge, Kitchener, Waterloo and Elmira — and maybe some others. As for today, I got to send along a video message and reading which you can find on the Facebook page for OBOC.
Naturally, any author is pleased to be singled out in a positive way. Lakeland will be promoted by the Waterloo Regional Library, by my friend Mandy Brouse and the folks at one of nation’s very finest independent bookstores, Words Worth Books — to name just two very nice perks for a certain lucky author.
Far more importantly, OBOC offers a chance to discuss some complex and wonderful things: about how the earth under our feet shapes who we are; about what access to a clean lake now and then does for our state of mind; about how natural beauty is connected to our kids’ happiness; about how being lucky citizens of a lake-rich country like no other on earth shapes our quality of life.
To me, literature isn’t about authors but about readers. It’s not about the words on the page, but about the ideas and discussion they may facilitate. A book ought to be just the beginning of dialogue, of many dialogues. I wrote Lakeland not merely in hopes that people would read my one book — gratifying though that may be on a personal level — but rather to do my part to drive a discussion that is just beginning to unfold in our society.
One Book One Community, it seems to me, is really an opportunity for sustained discussion of community values. That’s something we don’t nearly get enough of in our fast-paced era, and I am honored and excited to be a part of what is to come.
Check out what the Kitchener Waterloo Record had to say about the launch.
See also www.oboc.ca!