GREENVILLE — Beatles music played in the background and a bountiful tiered tower of treats and tea set the scene of a traditional English tea party, which represented the theme of One Book One County 2012.
As guests entered Wednesday’s opening kickoff event at the M-TEC on Montcalm Community College’s Greenville Campus they saw lovely tables dressed with linens and teatime accoutrements. Flags representing Great Britain and Pakistan decorated the walls with traditional English art carefully placed around the room. All were set up to keep the guests guessing what this year’s book will be.
This year the book is “Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand” by Helen Simonson.
Montcalm Community College Dean of Instruction and Faculty Gary Hauck said the process for choosing the book is extensive and through process.
“What we do is we think through, talk through the mission of One Book,” Hauck said. “We also ask the questions: What are you calling for? What are you wanting? And we try to make decisions that are going to get a cross section of the entire county.”
Hauck said they usually start with 20-25 books and then the committee meets and begin to narrow it down until they come up with a book they agree on.
One Book One County has the goal of reaching all types of readers in the community and hopes this year’s book will continue this goal of bringing the people of Montcalm County together in a positive, unifying way through reading the same book, said Greenville resident and founder of One Book One County Maureen Burns.
Wednesday’s event was a success for the committee and community, Burns said.
“I thought people had a great time and were happy to be there,” Burns said. “The people seemed very happy of the book choice and the lunch theme.”
This year the book is a lighter and fun read, Burns said.
“We wanted to do what the readers wanted,” she said. “It has to be a good book and this book met that criteria.”
Char Lothian, who attended Wednesday’s event, is excited about the book choice.
“I read the book two or three years ago,” Lothian said. “It is a very good book and I know I am going to enjoy reading it again.”
It was Lothian’s first time attending the kickoff event for One Book One County. She said the book club Chocolate Chapters read every book the One Book One County has selected.
“When the book is unveiled we make it our book to read for the month,” Lothian said. “Some books I have enjoyed more than others and I’ve enjoyed learning from the topics and discussions.”
Lothian likes the idea of having the community read and discuss different books and different topics as it is a way to build good community.
Burns said the discussions are where people can really share what they are feeling and learning from the book.
Since the beginning in Montcalm County, One Book One County has continued to receive community support and grow.
“It is a thriving program,” Burns said. “I am just thrilled and I think it is without a doubt one of the largest literary educational programs in the whole county. The people who work on it, sponsor it and participate in this program are very dedicated to it.”
This year the book author Helen Simonson will be at the closing from 7 to 9 p.m. on Oct. 16 at the Greenville High School Performing Arts Center for a a presentation and book signing.