GREENVILLE — A good book entertains. A great book entertains and educates. A really, really great book also moves us and makes us consider larger issues, matters beyond our everyday purview.
The book revealed at Thursday’s One Book One County kick-off luncheon is among the latter, according to organizer Maureen Burns.
This year’s selection, “Me Before You,” by British author Jojo Moyes, tells the story of Will, a man who following an accident is confined to a wheelchair, and Louisa, the woman who becomes his caretaker.
Now that the book has been revealed as this year’s selection, it will be read by the hundreds who annually take part in the program and discussed at a total of ten book discussion groups around the county, most held in community libraries.
This year marks the 10th anniversary for One Book One County in Montcalm County. An overflow crowd turned out for the kick-off event held at the Stanley & Blanche Ash Technology and Learning Center in Greenville.
“We expected 145, but more were there,” Burns said. “Fab, fab!”
Burns said while the event continues to grow in popularity each year, there are no plans to relocate to another location in the future.
“We have no larger venue,” Burns said. “There is great atmosphere there and it is a lovely setting; it is MCC (Montcalm Community College) and it just seems right.”
One Book committee member Carole Cole was quick to point out all the volunteers who help make the program a reality, this year in particular.
“We are so grateful to them,” Cole said. “Most of them have been there from the beginning.”
Cole also noted the important role played by the program’s sponsors, this year Chemical Bank, Stafford Media, MCC and the MCC Foundation.
Burns originally introduced the One Book One County program to the area 10 years ago in an effort to stimulate readership county-wide.
“After 10 years, it’s bigger than ever,” Burns said. “Our goal is to come together as a county, to grow, learn and discuss; the related programs fill that purpose.”
In addition to the 10 scheduled book discussions, those programs include “Help!” on July 22, which will be a gathering of resource people sharing ideas and tips for caregivers; a wine, cheese and cake reception on Aug. 21 for all who have participated in the program in the past; “Who Decides?” on Sept. 8, a discussion group with a panel of experts including Bishop Gary Hansen, Dr. Lance Miller, Dr. Arthur Kurtze and others.
On June 24, the Ash Center will host a free movie and popcorn event featuring the film “Joni,” which ties in with this year’s One Book theme.
Finally, on Oct. 7, “Me Before You” author Moyes will appear via Skype from England at the closing celebration. Also on that bill is Mary K. Hoodhood, the 2010 Presidential Citizens Medal recipient and well-known quadriplegic advocate for the physically disabled.
“Our One Book program ranks at the top of all One Book programs,” Burns added. “We are very proud of it.”