We often talk of how to get our communities together, how to get everyone in the same conversation.
So here's a great example of how one city does it. Greenwich, Connecticut has instituted an annual event called "Greenwich Reads." Yes, indeed, it's about people reading books. Specifically, one book. And then they get together to talk about it, in a variety of interesting ways.
This year the book is Zeitoun by Dave Eggers. It's the true story of a family caught between the war on terror and the response to hurricane Katrina in New Orleans. It's about a community in most ways completely different from Greenwich, known as an affluent city with money and resources to spare. In fact, though, there are several levels to Greenwich Connecticut, which has its own population of people stuck in poverty, poor housing, not-so-great schools and the like.
In any event, the selection of this book is an interesting choice and should make for some marvelous exchanges. And the activities that Greenwich is holding to accompany this city-wide reading fest are fascinating. From a live telecast with the author of the book, held in the Greenwich library auditorium, to photography exhibits showcasing pictures from the Katrina disaster, to New Orleans jazz concerts, to art work in response to Katrina, to discussions on severe weather and what we can learn from meteorology and other sciences to prevent future Katrina's, to high school essay contests, to even local restaurants featuring New Orleans-inspired menus...this town knows how to foster conversations that in themselves can create community among folks from different backgrounds, political perspectives, income strata.
Read on, Greenwich! And keep talking about it.