Best-selling novelist Steve Berry is the focus of Columbia County Library's One Book One Community series this year.
One Book attempts to initiate a collective reading program within the community with a series of book discussions, teen and children events, and a lecture from an author.
"It's an opportunity to try and bring the community together to read one book in one area and to discuss it," said Sherryl James, the reference service manager at the Columbia County Library. "It's a way to encourage people to read and to socialize."
Berry's The Alexandria Link is the novel county librarians chose to focus on, but the public chose the author, James said.
"What we did was put out ballot boxes in the three libraries in Columbia County and a few other locations," she said. "We asked people to fill in ballots and drop in suggestions. Steve Berry was selected 10 times. He had the most votes."
A suspenseful tale of political intrigue, the novel's plot revolves around a search for the lost Library of Alexandria and the potential instability such a find might create in the Middle East.
"We wanted to have something that would tie in young adults and children, so we chose The Alexandria Link , which has to do with libraries," James said.
Adult book discussions on The Alexandria Link will be held in the weeks leading up to Berry's April 19 visit to the Jabez S. Hardin Performing Arts Center in the library.
Teens are asked to read Ray Bradberry's Fahrenheit 451 , another novel concerning the power of the written word. Children's story times will feature library themes with such novels as I Believe in Unicorns , Book! Book! Book! and Wild About Books .
Another reason Berry is an apt choice for the series is that he is a native Georgian and many of his main characters are from the state, James said.
"That was a bonus for us," she said. "People are more interested in reading about a character they can identify with. Him being from Georgia is fantastic."
Religious themes often play a prominent role in Berry's novels. The main character of The Romanov Prophecy is the disillusioned son of a hypocritical evangelist. The Templar Legacy questions the validity of Jesus Christ's divinity. In The Alexandria Link, Berry challenges Israel's Biblical claim to the Holy Land.
"It came up at the very beginning that there may be a little controversy," James admitted. "We just felt we would leave it up to the author to explain his premises. We're just not into censoring anything like that, and it was the selection of the community."
For more information on the One Book One Community series, call the Columbia County Library at (706) 447-7660.
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