“All Iowa Reads,” the statewide program to encourage everyone to read a certain book and talk about it, has chosen its newest selection. The book by best-selling author Louise Erdrich is “The Master Butchers Singing Club.” Mary Fuerste, a co-owner of Dubuque’s RiverLight Books, was on the committee to choose this year’s book. She says they wanted a bookseller, but mainly were looking for a member or two on the committee who were not librarians. Fuerste says the 7 or 8 members all had strong feelings about which book to choose, “both pro and con.” Each initially brought three or four titles, books they thought were great. Many were duplicates of other people’s suggestions, and they’d read them, get together for another meeting and winnow down the list. The final choice had to be a book that’s availabel in paperback, in an audio recording, and in large print. Despite the number of writers the state produces, it doesn’t have to be a book by or about Iowans. They want to choose something Iowa people can relate to, “But we’re broad-thinking people so we can relate to a lot of things!” she laughs. Another goal of the program, with many librarians participating, is to choose a volume available to check out so many people and groups can get it at their local library and organize book discussions. Fuerste says in this third year of “All Iowa Reads,” libraries, schools, acquaintances and book groups are already planning to read and discuss the selection. In her bookstore there’s a table up front with the books that are being read by book clubs, and she says by far it’s the most popular selection, just because they’re interesting books. The author of this year’s selection also wrote “The Beet Queen,” and “Love Medicine.” Last year’s book was “Niagara Falls All Over Again,” and in the program’s first year the selection was “Peace Like a River,” by Minnesota author Leif Enger.
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