Read With Your Community

One Read 2009 book

Award-winning author Andrea Barrett will visit Columbia on September 17.

2-3 p.m., book signing at the Columbia Public Library

7 p.m., free lecture at Columbia College, Launer Auditorium

This is the eighth year for the library’s One Read program which is cosponsored by a task force of local media, colleges, nonprofits, businesses and government agencies. This year, we encourage you to read “The Air We Breathe” by Andrea Barrett, and then attend a book discussion, the author’s talk, the One Read art show or another event.

“The Air We Breathe” was the winner of the public vote carried out in April, narrowly edging out the other finalist, Jhumpa Lahiri’s “Unaccustomed Earth.” The novel is historical fiction, set during World War I as America is about to enter the war, and it should appeal to readers with an interest in the history of medicine, science and politics as well as war history buffs. There’s also a romantic angle to the book, and the struggles the characters face related to social class should give One Read participants lots to discuss and debate. Andrea Barrett is a previous winner of the National Book Award (for “Ship Fever”), and her book “Servants of the Map” was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize.

The One Read selection panel looks for books like “The Air We Breathe” that a wide variety of people will enjoy and that address issues and topics that will encourage and sustain spirited discussion. Possible titles are suggested by the public each winter. You can see a full list of this year’s suggestions and read more about the selection process online at
Last year, more than 3,000 people attended a One Read program, and the book was checked out 2,500 times. Since the book announcement in May, this year’s book has already been checked out 1,036 times. If you’re reading “The Air We Breathe,” let us know by signing up at any DBRL library or bookmobile stop. You’ll also be entered in a drawing to win a signed copy of the book.

You can pick up a copy of the book now at any of our libraries or purchase it at area bookstores. More information about the book is available at including links to reviews, author interviews and related historical sites.

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