'Tiger's Wife' revealed as Columbia library's 2012 One Read winner

Monday, May 21, 2012 | 7:30 a.m. CDT; updated 12:10 p.m. CDT, Tuesday, May 22, 2012

COLUMBIA — The Daniel Boone Regional Library announced "The Tiger’s Wife" by Téa Obreht as its 2012 One Read winner Monday morning.

Obreht’s debut novel narrowly beat out its rival contender, "Turn of Mind" by Alice LaPlante, in a public vote which lasted from April 2 to 20. A panel of community members who sifted through more than 100 nominated titles methodically chose the two finalists.

"It's a community reading program in the true sense of the word," said Lauren Williams, public services librarian and One Read co-chair.

Obreht’s debut novel tells the story of a young physician on a philanthropic trip to an orphanage in a war-torn Balkan country. While there, she struggles with local secrecy and superstition, as well as coming to terms with her grandfather’s mysterious death. Williams described it as an "Arabian Nights"-like story about stories.

"There's this whole complex of stories," collections manager and One Read co-chair Doyne McKenzie said. "It's almost like it's a rug she's weaving because you get a strand here and a strand there and then it goes together."

One Read participants have the remainder of the summer to read "The Tiger’s Wife." The program, entering its 11th year, seeks to have as many people as possible read the same book.

"It is to create a community within a community where you have nothing in common with other people except this book that you’re all reading," McKenzie said.

Beginning in September, the Daniel Boone Regional Library will offer a series of events planned and organized by the One Read Task Force. Events will include book discussions, a panel discussion, a film showing and a flash fiction contest, where participants can submit a short piece of fiction based on a prompt given by the library.

The One Read co-chairs see a chance to move in a fresh direction from last year’s events, which centered around the nonfiction, scientifically focused "The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks" by Rebecca Skloot. "The Tiger’s Wife," by contrast, is built on themes of myths and superstitions.

"There’s a lot of folklore in this book, there’s a lot of exploration of people’s relationship with death in different cultures," Williams said. "So that could be fascinating to look at."

At this point in time, Obreht is not able to make a physical appearance. The One Read co-chairs are working to set up a videoconference for Sept. 27.

The Daniel Boone Regional Library has approximately 400 copies of Obreht’s novel ready for checkout across the system, along with 10 book discussion kits that hold 10 books each.

The first 300 participants who check out a copy and sign up for the program will receive a coupon for Tiger Stripe ice cream. All participants will be put in a drawing for a free copy of the book.

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