The idea of community-wide common reads has been gaining steam in recent years. Several Milwaukee area schools - and towns - have organized months- or year-long efforts to get people together to read the same book.
In Shorewood, a successful effort a few years ago with Wisconsin writer Nick Butler’s Shotgun Lovesongs led to another ambitious effort. This year, Shorewood Reads takes on the post-apocalyptic Station Eleven, by Emily St. John Mandel.
"We were looking for a book that spoke across the demographic of the Village of Shorewood," says Jeannee Sacken, president of the Friends of the Shorewood Public Library. "We wanted to involve and entice readers from Shorewood High School students, to Gen X-ers, to Baby Boomers, and beyond."
Emily Vieyra, assistant director of the Shorewood Public Library, notes that program organizers saw a lot in Station Eleven that they believed would be especially interesting to Shorewood - from the connection to the Great Lakes to how the community values the arts.
"Shorewood is a community in which the arts is very important - whether it's making art or enjoying art of all types. And so that's a really big theme in this book is what art means to us even after the world ends," says Vieyra.
Both Sacken and Vieyra joined Lake Effect’s Mitch Teich in the studio to explain more about why this was the right book at the right time, in the right place: