SR! 2011 Season News

Saratoga Reads Announces Top Five Books

Public vote to determine winner

Saratoga Reads has announced that out of some 80 titles nominated by the public for this year’s book of choice, five have been selected as finalists.

The winning title will be decided by public vote. Area residents have until October 31 to cast their votes, and the book of choice will be announced on November 12.

Among the top five contenders are two nonfiction works, The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind by William Kamkwamba and Bryan Mealer, and No Impact Man by Colin Beavan. The other three books are novels—Await Your Reply by Dan Chaon, Little Bee by Chris Cleave, and The Housekeeper and the Professor by Yoko Ogawa.

Votes may be cast online at the Saratoga Reads web site. In addition, ballot boxes are available at a number of locations in the area, including the Saratoga Springs Public Library, Barnes & Noble (Wilton), Borders (Saratoga Springs), Wesley Health Care Center, Prestwick Chase senior community, the Skidmore Shop (on the Skidmore campus), Empire State College (113 West Avenue), and the Saratoga Springs High School library.

“This ballot launches year seven of Saratoga Reads with five great books that are engaging and thought-provoking,” said Tabitha Orthwein, chair of the board of Saratoga Reads. “Each of the books has the potential to inspire.”

Once the winner is announced, the public is encouraged to read the selected title and to develop and participate in a host of educational and cultural activities connected to the book’s themes. A list of junior companion books on related themes for pre-K through grade 12 will be announced on November 19.

The Saratoga Reads Selection Advisory Group, a committee of some 25 community members, reviewed the nominated titles and held a series of meetings to come up with a list of the top choices. The group determined the list based on each book’s potential to spark discussion and community programming, and on the quality of writing and appeal to a range of interests and age groups.

“The readers in our advisory group are eager not only to find the books that they personally like but also ones that are most likely to engage the community in thoughtful discussion and inspire interesting programming,” said Lauren Cohen, book selection coordinator for Saratoga Reads. “We make sure that the list of books has something for just about everyone.”

“We urge everyone to participate this year,” said Orthwein. “Voice your opinion by casting a vote by Oct. 31.”

Saratoga Reads, now in its seventh year, centers on the community-wide reading of a single book and is dedicated to creating a shared conversation and a range of events and activities for area residents. To inspire young readers, the organization each year produces a list of junior companion books for a variety of reading levels.