All Iowa Reads: it’s not just a point of pride, it’s the name of a new statewide program to encourage even more people to read for enjoyment. In just a week, the Iowa Center for the Book will announce the title of one book chosen for Iowans to read, share and discuss. This will be the second year for a ambitious cultural program called “All Iowa Reads.” Librarian Ed Goedeke, a cochairman of All Iowa Reads, says centers for the book are based on a national concept, and have been established in every state. There are 8 or 10 people on the panel, he says, members who are from bookstores and public and academic libraries, and they go through “a bunch of books” each year and choose one. Goedeke says book discussions have been around for hundreds of years, and go in and out of style. He says there was a flurry in the late 19th century, again in the 20th century, and he finds it ironic that with TV and internet to affect people’s habits of getting information, the book is still alive and well. This is the second year for “All Iowa Reads,” and the selection for the first year was Peace Like a River,” a best-seller by Minnesota author Leif Enger. The basic thing is that the book be “discussible” and available in a variety of formats, so any book that’s chosen will be already published in large-print format, audiotape, hardcover and paperback. It also must be understandable and interesting to readers in a wide range of ages, from high school on up. He says the panel may be drawn to books with a “Midwestern feel,” but they’ve looked over a broad spectrum of books for this year’s selection in many genres, and both fiction and nonfiction. The Iowa Library Association’s annual convention is next week and on Thursday, October 16th, the next “All Iowa Reads” selection will be announced during the conference. Goedeke is a humanities bibliographer in the Park Library at Iowa State University. The “All Iowa Reads” book selection will be posted at www.iowacenterforthebook.org after it’s announced.
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