Take off  your rose-colored glasses. To find out what really happened on the road to independence, join us in reading Bunker Hill: A city, a siege, a revolution this April. The book was selected by the One Book One Belmont planning committee for its fresh perspective on history, its sharp focus on Boston, and author Nathaniel Philbrick’s ability as a storyteller to bring to life the people and events of the Revolutionary War era.

This is the fifth time that the  Belmont Public Library has joined with a broad range of co-sponsoring organizations to offer a community-wide reading program, One Book One Belmont. The goal is to build a spirit of community by bringing together individuals and groups through a series of book-related events and discussions, and to promote reading as an enjoyable and mind-opening activity. It is patterned after community reads held in hundreds of cities and towns across the country.

Previous selections include:

- 2008.  Three Cups of Tea: One Man’s Mission to Promote Peace. . . One School at a Time, by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin. The book told of Mortenson’s efforts to build schools, especially for girls, in the most remote regions of Pakistan and Afghanistan.

- 2009.  Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life, by Barbara Kingsolver with Steven L. Hopp and Camille Kingsolver. The book chronicles the family’s adventures eating local foods for one year, mostly food produced on their own farm. The book was chosen to celebrate Belmont’s farming heritage during the town’s 150th anniversary year.

- 2011.  Dark Tide: The Great Boston Molasses Flood of 1919, by Stephen Puleo. The book tells the story of the collapse of a giant molasses tank that sent more than 2 million gallons of molasses surging through the North End, killing 21 people and causing widespread destruction. Puleo used this real-life tragedy to explore historical themes – immigration, ethnic stereotyping, terrorism, corporate responsibility, a struggling economy – still relevant to our life today.

- 2012.  The Leftovers by Belmont resident Tom Perrotta. The only novel selected so far for OBOB, The Leftovers imagines what might happen if millions of people around the world suddenly disappeared, for no apparent rhyme or reason. What happens to the grieving friends and loved ones who were left behind?

The 2014 OBOB Planning Committee, made up of representatives of the library and various town departments and commissions, began meeting in June 2013 to review book suggestions from library staff and patrons.  Based on the enthusiastic response to past programs involving local history, from a walk through the North End to a history of family farms in Belmont, committee members decided to focus on Boston once again, but during a dramatically different and even more tumultuous period of time.

The library would like to thank the members of the 2014 One Book One Belmont Planning Committee for the time, energy, and creativity they have devoted to this project. The members are:

Maureen Conners, Belmont Public Library Director
Emily Reardon, Belmont Public Library, One Book One Belmont Coordinator
Carl Brauer, Human Rights Commission
Kerry Butler, Belmont Public Schools
Corinne Chan, Belmont Public Library
Diane Coulopoulos, Friends of the Library
Ellen Girouard, Belmont Public Library
Laurie Graham, Belmont School Committee
Phil Hughes, Belmont Historical Society
Ellen Jarrett, Porter Square Books
June Knowles, Council on Aging
Miriam MacNair, Belmont Public Library
Sarah Phillips, Board of Library Trustees
Martha Reagan, Belmont Public Schools
Lindsey Rinder, Belmont Public Schools
Denise Shaver, Belmont Public Library
Vicky Slavin, Friends of the Library
Emily Smith, Belmont Public Library
Chitra Subramanian, Town Accountant
Mary Alice Wistman, Friends of the Library

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