written by Lynn

Following Oprah’s initiative, in 2003 we launched our first Community Read. It had been done before in Chicago, when the entire city—media, government, library and school system—got together to encourage everybody in Chicago to read the same book during the same summer. It worked wonderfully!

People spoke about entering city buses with the community read book in their bags, only to see four or five other passengers reading the same book. “How far are you? Oh, don’t tell me, I’m not there yet! But it’s still good, right?”

Buses became friendlier places.

The book we chose for our first ABC Community Read in July and August 2003 was The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold.

The storyteller was raped and murdered by her neighbor as a 14-year-old, and she tells her story from the perspective of her new home in heaven. Her character develops, her family changes abruptly following her murder and the crime is solved. Life goes on in a wonderful way.

This story was based upon the author’s own experiences, first published in her autobiography Lucky. The Lovely Bones was selected by the independent booksellers of the United States as best novel of the year, in recognition of the hard work it must have taken Sebold to get her experiences ordered enough to share them with us in this wonderfully composed way.

As for our Community Read, it was a success. Some 60 people gathered at our ABC Treehouse to discuss The Lovely Bones. And while buying the book, our checkout line, like Chicago’s buses, became a friendlier place.