One Book, One Denver, one last chance to vote today

If you haven't yet voted for your choice for the next round of One Book, One Denver, then start panicking. Today is the last day to help choose the book that Mayor John Hickenlooper will command everybody to read this fall, in order that we may be "stimulated to read" and "join others in the shared experience of simultaneously reading the same book and participating in related events," according to the Denver Office of Cultural Affairs.

The weird thing is, none of the three choices has anything to do with Denver. Or maybe that's not so weird, since no One Book, One Denver selection ever has. Who comes up with these nominations, anyway?

"It was a small committee that was made up of members of the literary community," says DOCA's Pauline Herrera, like people from the Denver Public Library, local bookstores and the DOCA office. This year, they came up with The Help by Kathryn Stockett, The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski, and Fine Just the Way it Is: Wyoming Stories 3 by Annie Proulx.

All good books, no doubt, but why, exactly, would we in Denver read any one of these as a community? Stockett, who lives in Atlanta, set her book in Mississippi; although Wroblewski lives in Colorado, his Story takes place in Wisconsin. At least Wyoming borders Colorado, and for a time Proulx lived in LoDo. But still...

The Hick's been doing this One Book, One Denver thing for six years now, and we get the "one book" part --but the "one Denver" part still isn't clear. If the nominating committee doesn't take locale into account, then what is the criteria? According to Herrera, the committee this year wanted a more contemporary selection than, say, 2008's The Thin Man , which Dashiell Hammet wrote in 1934, with an author available to participate in the events.

Well, that's a start. Even if the 2010 books aren't set here, at least their authors are still around.

Want to vote? You can do so here.

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Jef Otte
Contact: Jef Otte