The community voted to read “The Turner House” by Angela Flournoy for this year’s One Read event. This novel was a New York Times notable book of the year and won the 2016 VCU Cabell First Novelist Award. The community is given the summer to read the book in preparation for related programming, including an author talk, in September.
“I found this book to be a delightful read. It’s well written and it immediately draws you in so that you feel like you’re part of the Turner family. Even though this is a work of fiction, it offers insights into many family and social issues,” said One Read co-chair Lauren Williams.
The book centers around a house on Detroit’s Yarrow Street and the the colorful and complicated Turners who have called it home for more than 50 years. The family matriarch’s failing health, the declining neighborhood and an underwater mortgage force a family meeting to decide the house’s fate. Cha Cha, the oldest son and unofficial head of the Turner clan, wrangles with his famly’s past and the varied demands of his 12 siblings in this entertaining and vividly drawn family saga.
“The Turner House” was a New York Times notable book of the year and a finalist for the National Book Award, the Center for Fiction First Novel Prize, the PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize for Debut Fiction and an NAACP Image Award. Flournoy’s fiction has appeared in the Paris Review, and she has written for The New York Times, The New Republic, The Los Angeles Times and elsewhere.
“We’ve invited author Angela Flournoy to come in September, which is something we ask of all our One Read authors,” said Betsy Collins, One Read co-chair. We don’t have the exact date of her talk, but we are pleased to announce that Ms. Flournoy has agreed to visit Columbia in person.” A graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, Flournoy received her undergraduate degree from the University of Southern California. She has taught at the University of Iowa, the New School and Columbia University. She is a National Book Foundation “5 Under 35” Honoree for 2015. Flournoy is currently the Rona Jaffe Foundation Fellow at the New York Public Library Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers.
Last November, the public nominated more than 140 titles. The One Read reading panel, made up of community members from Boone and Callaway Counties and library staff, narrowed the list to 10 books. After reading each book, the committee selected two titles for the public to vote on this last April. The other title considered was the non-fiction book “Hidden Figures” by Margot Lee Shetterly.
“We ask people to nominate titles that give readers a lot to talk about in September, which this one does,” said Kat Stone Underwood, One Read co-chair. “When our community task force met to talk about fall programming, a number of topics were mentioned, like sibling relationships, the sounds of Detroit and the Great Migration.”
As in past years, the Friends of the Columbia Public Library will fund the purchase of multiple copies of the One Read title for people to check out so anyone wanting to read it will be able to before next September. It’s also available in large print, on CD, as an eBook and downloadable audiobook. This year, through a special agreement with the publisher, there will be no waiting list for the eBook or downloadable audiobook. These formats will be “always available” through September 30.
One Read, now in its sixteenth year, is a community-wide reading program coordinated by Daniel Boone Regional Library and co-sponsored by a task force of local businesses, agencies, academic institutions and other groups that encourages adults of all ages to read and discuss a single book. More information about submitted titles and related One Read topics can be found at www.oneread.dbrl.org.