‘The Sparrow’ Chosen for 2010 One Book One Community

Alex Eisner

The Marquette County One Book One Community committee has announced “The Sparrow” as the 2010 book selection.

“The Sparrow,” written by Mary Doria Russell, is a science fiction novel that takes the reader to the planet Rakhat. According to the One Book One Community Web site, “A man returns to Earth – sole survivor of an interplanetary expedition – horribly disfigured and guarding a shocking secret. What happened to Emilio Sandoz on the planet Rakhat?”

“The book is about first contact and what happens when you step into another culture,” said Dana Schulz, an employee at Snowbound Books and One Book One Community committee member. “It’s about relationships with other cultures.”

Schulz said the book can be enjoyed in many different ways.

“The Sparrow,” a popular science-fiction novel, will be read by the NMU and Marquette communities next year.

“I’m really excited for this book because it’s really thought provoking,” added Schulz. “It’s an incredibly fun read.”

Different events surrounding the book will take place this year to give NMU and the community a chance to come together. One of the first events that has been planned will be the author visit on Oct. 26. There is also a dinner and a movie night planned at the Peter White Library that will show the movie “Avatar,” a recent science-fiction film, said Sue Szczepanski, an instructor in NMU’s School of Education and One Book One Community committee member.

Other events still being planned include book discussions, a presentation with Scott Stobbelaar about other planets in our solar system, and this year the committee is working to try to find a companion book for younger readers, said Szczepanski.

“(We) would like to extend this to our younger readers,” Szczepanski said.

The One Book One Community program has been around for several years, and “The Sparrow” is the fifth book chosen. When choosing the book the committee looks for a variety of criteria and different authors, said Szczepanski.

“We look for a book that appeals to a wide audience,” she said.

“The Sparrow” was chosen for a number of reasons, said Tom Rich, an English graduate student and president of Sigma Tau Delta English honor society. The committee felt the science fiction elements of the book would appeal to students and they wanted a female author, he said.

“They’ve done a number of male authors in the last few years, and there was a feeling amongst some of the committee that it might be nice to (have) a female author this time around,” Rich said.

The mission of the One Book One Community program is to “provide an opportunity for the NMU community and Marquette County to share the joy of reading, the life of the mind, and the free exchange of ideas.”

Each year students and faculty of NMU, community members, and committee members submit ideas that they think would be a good book to be chosen. Then the committee of about 8-12 people narrows the list down based on criteria like the strength of writing, ability to prompt discussion, and author availability until one book is chosen, said Rich.

More information and updates on official events going on can be found at http://webb.nmu.edu/OneBook.