About the Reads: 2014

The 2014 Reads theme is A Very Good Read and highlights a work of fiction.

Between Shades of Gray Ruta Sepetys, Between Shades of Gray. New York: Philomel Books, 2011.

Check here for information on the two finalists. Thanks to everyone who suggested a title for this year's Read.

Statement of Purpose

The Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti Reads program is a community initiative to promote reading and civic dialogue through the shared experience of reading and discussing a common book.

History

Launched in 2003 by the University of Michigan Life Sciences, Values and Society Program, the Reads project was fashioned after a civic reads program designed by the Seattle Public Library. The book chosen for the inaugural Reads was “Lincoln’s DNA,” by Phillip R. Reilly. The Ann Arbor District Library was a major partner in this effort along with other area organizations.

In subsequent years, the Reads Program has been co-sponsored by the Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti District Libraries and is supported by interested civic groups, the University of Michigan School of LS&A, the Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti Public Schools, local bookstores, Eastern Michigan University Libraries and Washtenaw Community College.

Reads Theme

Previous themes have included a review of civil rights in the United States in celebration of the anniversary of Brown v Board of Education; “Revolutions in Science,” a discussion of evolution and the scientific method and “We the People...” how we define citizenship; in 2008 the theme was China and America: Bridging Two Worlds; and for 2009, The Universe: Yours to Discover. For 2012, the Steering Committee opted for a general theme of "Language: How We Communicate."The 2014 Reads theme is A Very Good Read and highlights a work of fiction.

Book Selection

Books chosen for the Reads should meet the following criteria:

* The writing should be engaging and thought-provoking.
* The subjects discussed should be accessible to readers throughout the community, high-school age and above.
* The length, price, and availability of the book should be suited to involvement by the general public.
* The book should be by a living author.
* Its treatment of issues should encourage readers to discuss the issues further with others, at home, work, reading clubs, and community events.
* Ideally, the subject should lead to constructive dialogues across our diverse communities.

Process:
During the summer the Book Screening Committee made up of individuals selected as representative of various civic constituencies read many titles reflecting the year’s theme. In the fall, a panel of distinguished judges reviewed the two titles suggested by the Screening Committee and made a final recommendation of the Reads book for the coming year.

Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti Reads 2014 is scheduled to occur January through February 2014. Please watch this site for more information.