Anne Jordan was a contributing editor to GOVERNING.E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
"One Book, One City" initiatives, whereby local residents all read and discuss the same book during a set period of time, have spread to hundreds of municipalities across the country since Seattle pioneered the concept eight years ago.
Someday, I'm going to write a feature story for Governing that explores the impact--if any--that "One Book" activities--small-group discussions, lectures, film screenings, dramatic readings and other events--have on participating communities.
In the meantime, I just learned of a new approach the Chicago Public Library is taking with its selection for 2006, One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich by Aleksandr Solzhenitzyn: Chicagoans who read the book can engage in online discussions with participating residents in their sister city of Moscow.
In partnership with the All-Russia State Library for Foreign Literature (which presumably will provide Cyrillic translation services), this "international book club" has the potential to put Americans in a direct dialogue with some of the 20 million Soviet citizens who actually experienced the gulag.
It certainly introduces a new dimension beyond chatting about Tom Sawyer with your neighbor across the back fence.
Written and compiled by staff writers and editors, GOVERNING View is an on-the-ground, and sometimes behind-the-scenes, look at the topics we're covering in print and online. From notes on what's up in statehouses, county courthouses and city halls, to encounters with people, places and things, GOVERNING View is a window into the side of state and local government you don't always see.