This year marks the bicentennial of the beginning of Lewis and Clark’s expedition to explore America’s newly acquired Western territory. An account of that journey is under consideration for Columbia’s next One Read program.
“Undaunted Courage” by Stephen Ambrose is one of 10 books under review by a panel of 14 volunteers for the 2004 program, which begins in September. The One Read program is one in which community members all read the same book and discuss it in various forums. The adult-oriented program, which started in Seattle and gained national notice in Chicago, has taken off in cities around the country.
The panel met Saturday at the Columbia Public Library to narrow a list of more than 70 suggestions from the public by looking at each book, reviews, books’ availability in different formats, general interest, potential audience and potential for discussion.
The panel will winnow the 10 survivors to two or three titles in a March 20 vote. Then, the public can weigh in by voting from March 29 through April 16. The winner will be announced in September, and public discussions and other events will run through October, said Doyne McKenzie, collection development manager at the Daniel Boone Regional Library and co-coordinator of the One Read program.
Panel members were reluctant to reveal all 10 books, but one member, Marty Riback, did reveal the names of a few others under review: “Life of Pi,” by Yann Martel, “The Stone Diaries,” by Carol Shields, “Blue Highways,” by William Least Heat-Moon, and “The Giver,” by Lois Lowry.
One of the rejects was J.R.R. Tolkien’s “The Lord of the Rings.”
This is One Read’s third year and the second in which the public could make suggestions. The 2003 choice was “To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee, and in 2002 it was “Plainsong” by Kent Haruf.
Riback, who is in his second year on the panel, said deciding which ones to advance and which to cut is at times hard.
“All the books on the list were worthy,” he said.
Beth Shapiro, who serves on the One Read panel and on the Columbia Arts Commission, said she likes the community interaction the program fosters: “It is something people have in common.”