A book about an Iowa State University student who loves bugs more than people is the 2022 choice for the All Iowa Reads program.
Author Rachel Mans McKenny, of Boone, says her first published novel, “The Butterfly Effect,” is heavily focused on Reiman Gardens in Ames but is ultimately about learning how to get along with people.
“My book is about a grumpy entomology PhD at Iowa State who has to return home from her research to take care of her brother who’s had an aneurysm,” McKenny says. “So, it’s her figuring out how to balance family drama and life drama as well as complete her program.”
Established in 2003 by the Iowa Center for the Book, the goal of the All Iowa Reads program is to foster a sense of unity through reading. Iowans are encouraged to come together in their communities to read and talk about a single book title in the same year.
McKenny, who’s assistant director of ISU’s Writing and Media Center, is planning for a very busy year ahead to interact in-person and online with other book lovers.
“I’m looking forward to visiting with book clubs and bookstores across the state as well as Zooming into some,” McKenny says. “I already have a few Zoom book meetings lined up with libraries in Bettendorf and other places, but I really do want to get back to some of those in-person experiences. My book came out during the pandemic and I never had a chance to actually go and talk to readers.”
Word came just recently that her book was the 2022 choice for the acclaimed statewide program. McKenny says she’d just gotten home and was checking email when she got the news.
“I think I dropped my phone,” she says, laughing. “Luckily, I have a protective case on it. I couldn’t be more pleased. This is a program that you cannot nominate yourself for. It’s judged completely by people who just love books so it was really thrilling to be recognized.”
If you go searching online for the book, don’t get confused by movie DVDs of a thriller starring Iowa native Ashton Kutcher that’s also called, “The Butterfly Effect.” McKenny jokes her book has no score on Rotten Tomatoes.