“The community that opens the same book closes it in greater harmony.” – Mary McGory
Have you ever experienced the feeling of excitement that comes from discussing a book you’ve enjoyed with others who have read that same book? Imagine the depth of discussion that could develop if everyone in our province read the same title!
That is the aim of One Book Nova Scotia (1BNS), a province-wide community reading event for adults. Nova Scotians are invited to read, discuss, and get excited about the same book.
One Book Nova Scotia is organized by Libraries, Archives & Museums Nova Scotia (LAMNS). A selection committee of librarians and book sellers makes a recommendation each year, and the title is revealed in September. The author must be Canadian and the book must:
- generate discussion and encourage the exchange of ideas
- be appealing to a broad range of adult readers of varying ages, literacy levels, and life experiences
- be strongly written with a compelling story, characters, and setting that will generate excitement among readers
- be available for purchase in print and as an e-book
The 2018 selection is the critically-acclaimed and international best-selling book, Annabel, written by Kathleen Winter and published by House of Anansi Press in 2010.
Annabel was nominated for numerous prizes, including the Scotiabank Giller Prize and the Governor General’s Literary Award. It won the Thomas Head Raddall Atlantic Fiction Award, and was a Canada Reads competitor. It was described by O, The Oprah Magazine as, “Utterly original… a haunting story of family, identity and the universal yearning to belong”
It is 1968. In the beautiful, isolated environment of a trapping village in Labrador, a child is born, both boy and girl. Fearing the harsh judgement of living outside the rigid gender norms of the community, the father decides to raise the child as a boy, named Wayne. Only the mother and a friend know of Wayne’s true nature, and are sworn to tell no one else, including Wayne. But as Wayne grows up in the hyper-masculine culture of his father, Wayne senses something different about himself—a secret self he thinks of as “Annabel.” Wayne’s coming of age, struggles with identity, and the conflict between his parents over the decisions they’ve made in raising their child, make for a gripping story.
The Library has several print copies of the book available, including a Book Club Kit. In an exciting development, the House of Anansi Press has agreed to offer NS public library users simultaneous digital access to Annabel via Overdrive. This means there’s no waiting list for those who choose to read the e-book version of Annabel for the duration of the 2018 campaign. Over 800 check-outs have already happened since mid-September, so you may already know someone who’s read the book. The unlimited access will end on November 8, so don’t wait.
Already read and enjoyed Annabel? Check out some read-alikes with similar themes of family dynamics, searching for belonging, and intersex characters.