One Book One Valley launches Jan. 31 | VailDaily.com

One Book One Valley launches Jan. 31

Melanie Wong
Special to the Daily

On Wednesday, Jan. 31, the Eagle Valley will pull back the cover on a book that will be the region's latest One Book One Valley read.

The annual program features one book each winter, surrounded by special events, discussions and a visit from the author to close out the program. The title isn't revealed until the kickoff event, but Vail town librarian and program organizer Lori Ann Barnes said this year's read will differ from past selections, which have included everything from historical Western themes to murder mysteries. Without revealing the title, she gave several clues to the 2018 selection.

"This year's title falls under the genre of 'alternative history.' It takes place in the present day, and it's suspenseful — we'll leave it at that for people to guess," she said.

At the kickoff event, organizers will celebrate the seventh year of the One Book One Valley program. Officials from all the town councils and Eagle County will read a proclamation ushering in the start of the program and readers will hear details on the awaited title.

"This year's book is especially exciting because of its social relevance and its genre," said Nicole Magistro, of The Bookworm of Edwards. "I think we will see a lot of new readers come to — and enjoy — this book. It's a page-turner that generates discussion."

One Book One Valley is entering its seventh year. Past reads include "The Cold Dish" by Craig Johnson, "The High Divide" by Lin Enger and "We Are Called to Rise" by Laura McBride.

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Bridging communities

One Book One Valley aims to bridge the valley's communities with a thought provoking, discussion-stimulating book surrounded by fun events, Barnes said.

"It's about bringing people together around something to talk about. You can run into each other in the public library, post office or grocery store and be reading the same book," she said. "Since the beginning, we've had the support of all local governments, which is key to the success of the program. The towns are all excited, and it's been great to have the schools involved over the last couple years."

Area high school teachers are already on board with the program, and the book will be encouraged reading for all students. In April, the author will be visiting all the area high schools as part of their Eagle County tour.

When it comes to choosing a title, organizers say a key component is picking a book that will engage the whole community and afford opportunities for unique events. In the past, the program has featured unique events that go beyond the typical book club discussion or even the highly anticipated author visits.

As part of programs for "The Cold Dish," a detective novel set in the mountains of Wyoming, the local Porchlight Players held murder mystery nights at two local libraries. Attendees had the chance to mingle with a cast of colorful characters and try to solve a classic "whodunit."

In 2016, "We Are Called to Rise" touched on veterans of recent wars and post-traumatic stress syndrome. The library hosted coloring-for-adults, and the resulting colorful postcards were sent to overseas service men and women.

Edwards resident and avid reader Pam Brandmeyer has read every One Book One Valley title and is looking forward to the 2018 book. In the past, she said she's particularly enjoyed the author visits.

"I loved the Walt Longmire series ("The Cold Dish") and author Craig Johnson was one of the most entertaining speakers we've ever had," she said. "I also got to see Lin Enger (author of "The High Divide") when he came to The Bookworm, and had about 10 minutes of one-on-one time with him at the event. It's pretty astounding that our little valley can bring in such talent."

Ready, set, read

As One Book One Valley grows and evolves, planners hope to see continued community involvement. Magistro, of The Bookworm, said that public response to the program has grown every year.

"At first, it was a lot of regular readers who picked up the book as a suggestion. Now, we're seeing teachers adopt the book into their classrooms and book clubs intentionally select the book to coincide with the author visit," Magistro said.

Barnes, of the Vail Library, said she hopes to see the One Book One Valley special events grow as well.

"I'd like to see our partnerships extend beyond the customary — a local brewery, for example, might wish to create a themed beer, provide samples at events and offer to host a discussion at their site," she said. "I want to see One Book One Valley continue to encourage a love for reading throughout the valley, bring local residents together, reach underserved populations and make readers out of non-readers."

If you go …

What: Eagle Valley’s One Book One Valley kickoff event.

Where: The Bookworm of Edwards.

When: Wednesday, Jan. 31 at 6 p.m.

More information: Visit http://www.onebookonevalley.com for past books and clues to this year’s yet-to-be-announced title.