Library officials announced Friday the winning book to be the centerpiece of the library's new One Book, One Community program.
The Sweet Everlasting by Georgia native Dr. Judson Mitcham, was chosen as the winner.
The book, which received 144 votes, was one of four books by Southern writers considered for the One Book program. All Over but the Shoutin', by Rick Bragg, received 69 votes while former president Jimmy Carter's book, An Hour Before Daylight, got 75 votes. Between Georgia, by Joshilyn Brown, received 130 votes.
The last time Carter was on a ballot in Columbia County, he received a similar outcome. In the 1980 presidential election, Carter lost to Ronald Reagan in Columbia County by 958 votes.
The One Book program began in Seattle in 1998 and has since been adopted in libraries throughout the country.
"Basically, the object of the program is to kind of get everybody in the community, or as many people as possible, to read the same book, then hold book discussions and book programs," said Jessica Thompson, a branch librarian at the Columbia County Library in Evans. "It gives people something in common to talk about and also promotes community."
Mitcham, a retired psychology professor, was born in Monroe, Ga., where much of his work is set. The Sweet Everlasting is Mitcham's first novel and won him the Townsend Prize for Fiction and his second Georgia Author of the Year award.
The book recounts the life of a man who, in old age, attempts to come to terms with his life, his mistakes and the people he had known.
Book discussion groups and special events centered on Mitcham's book are scheduled this month through April at the three county library locations.
Any group, formal or informal, is welcome to read and discuss the book.
Wilma Wade, a library board member, said she plans to discuss the book informally with her girlfriends, who meet monthly for lunch and fellowship.
"We get together once a month," Wade said. "This month, I told them I'd come back with the name of the (winning) book. Next month, we're going to somebody's house instead of a restaurant so we can sit around and discuss the book."
A list of book discussion groups is available on the library's Web site. Thompson said any group can be advertised in the library's calendar.
"We would be really pleased if we got a lot of feedback from people telling us that they had read the book and did a book discussion with the Sunday school group or various groups they are involved with," Thompson said. "Then we would know it is truly a community program and not just a library program."
For more information the One Book program, call the library at (706) 863-1946 or visit the library's One Book page on its Web site.
The Columbia County News-Times ©2013. All Rights Reserved.