Mamatoga Book Club: Saratoga Reads! Edition

Readers I hope you all had a great weekend, regardless of the rain! Tonight in lieu of a traditional book club post, since we are in between titles, I'd like to tell you about a fantastic local organization, Saratoga Reads! The goal of this community group is to invite the Saratoga community to read a great book and to engage in activities and conversations inspired by this shared experience. Now in its eighth year, Saratoga Reads! is happy to say that their initial vision has become a reality, that members of the Saratoga community now collaborate to create and share in a collective conversation and activities  including a wide range of age groups and different areas of interest. Saratoga Reads! focuses its yearly activity on a single book which is chosen by the community through an initial nomination process and final election. The book selection process is an invitation to the greater Saratoga public to suggest a suitable book. Their selection advisory committee then carefully reviews the nominated books to present a ballot to the community for a public vote during October and the winning title is announced in early November. Once the year’s winning book is announced the community can look forward to local, engaging activities to begin to celebrate the book and its themes. Throughout the winter and spring activities for readers of all ages and levels are planned by Saratoga Reads! and their community partners, plus all events are free of charge. Junior companion titles are also selected alongside the main title, and activites are planned around this as well in order to include everyone in the fun. Past events include artistic workshops at the Tang Museum at Skidmore, read-aloud circles and programs at local retirement communities, theme related movies and author visits as well as book discussions at area cafes and other local venues. Now is an exciting time for Saratoga Reads! because they have just announced their top five finalists out of around 75 titles nominated by the public for this year's book of choice. The winning title will be decided by public vote, with area residents having until October 31 to cast their ballots. The selected book will be announced on November 10. Among the top five contenders are two novels, A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Eagan and Remarkable Creatures by Tracy Chevalier, and three nonfiction works—The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot, The Invisible Gorilla by Christopher Chabris and Daniel Simons, and Zeitoun by Dave Eggers. Voters are invited to read the descriptions of the books posted on the Saratoga Reads web site to help them cast their vote. I personally have found the whole process to be a lot of fun, last year I read all of the finalists before voting on just one, and most of them were titles I might not have found on my own but thoroughly enjoyed nonetheless, and it was difficult but exciting to pick one to vote for and then see what everyone else would pick. The idea of involving the entire community in reading the same book is such a creative and dynamic idea, and I love thinking that we have our own town wide Book Club through Saratoga Reads! The fact that they also select junior companion titles is great too, and is something that I have tried to recreate myself with my own kids and the books I choose. So check out their nominations, maybe you have read some of these titles already and know that the community as a whole would enjoy them, or maybe you'll get some ideas for something new to pick up at the library this week! Perhaps here at Mamatoga we can pick one of these nominated titles and see if it turns out to be the one that gets picked! Everyone is invited to vote so check it out and cast your vote. If there is a favorite of yours in the running let us know and we can see if it works into our Book Club schedule before the Saratoga Reads! winner for the year is announced on November 10th!