Malaprop’s Bookstore has announced the Rise Up and Read Together, a year-long program that invites all residents of Asheville to read the same book. Rise Up and Read Together is modeled on the “One City One Book” program, and is designed to build a sense of community and promote literacy. Like “One City One Book,” Asheville’s Rise Up and Read Together takes the idea of a localized book discussion club and expands it to cover an entire community.
Malaprop’s Bookstore/Café has selected the inaugural book, Vol. 1 of the March trilogy, March: Book One. Malaprop’s will host a visit by author Andrew Aydin on Sunday March 26, at 3:00 pm. The event also will announce the launch of the Rise Up and Read Together program. Tickets to the event are free and available at malaprops.com. Malaprop’s will sell March: Book One at a 10% discount throughout the duration of this year’s program.
Asheville Mayor Esther Mannheimer said: “This program is a way to expand the conversation that starts when families read together to neighborhoods, schools, faith institutions, community groups, retirement communities and the city as a whole. I hope this common ground of sharing will strengthen our community and create connections where there have been divides.” Emoke B’Racz, Malaprop’s owner and founder, added: “Malaprop’s has been a resource to the Asheville community since it opened its doors in 1982. Our mission has always been to create a welcoming environment in which all kinds of people can come together around words, books, and ideas. The March trilogy is the kind of work that will inspire discussion across generations.”
“We are excited to bring this landmark book to the Asheville community,” said Melanie McNair, Malaprop’s Director of Marketing and Author Events, “and we are delighted to welcome Andrew Aydin to Malaprop’s. March is a work that will be enjoyed and appreciated by both kids and adults. It’s our aim and our hope that reading March: Book One will get families and generations talking together about the important events and themes presented in the book. As an independent bookstore, we believe that books can be a powerful constructive force for bringing people together.”
The March trilogy is an award-winning, New York Times #1 best-selling graphic-novel memoir trilogy offering an inside story of the Civil Rights Movement through the eyes of one of its most iconic figures, civil rights leader and Congressman John Lewis. The series is written by Lewis and Andrew Aydin, and illustrated and lettered by Nate Powell. March is the first comics work to win the National Book Award, and is a recipient of the Will Eisner Comics Industry Award for "Best Reality-Based Work," the Robert F. Kennedy Book Award Special Recognition, and the Coretta Scott King Book Award (Author) Honor. The Washington Post heralded the completion of the March trilogy, saying, "There is perhaps no more important modern book to be stocked in American school libraries than March. The closest American peer to Maus has arrived."
Community groups, faith groups, social justice organizations, and book clubs are encouraged to participate by reading March: Book One together and creating discussion groups among their members. YWCA Asheville, Stand Against Racism, BeLoved Asheville, Word on the Street/La Voz de los Jovene, Building Bridges, Movement in Faith, Rainbow Community School and Faith for Justice Asheville have already signed on as official partners. Area schools and libraries are exploring programming around the book. There is a Facebook group anyone can join who would like to collaborate and connect with other readers: www.facebook.com/groups/riseupandreadtogether.
“It is our hope that we will start something this year that the community will take on and keep going year after year,” McNair said. “There is a powerful longing among our customers to connect to others in a real and genuine way - not through the avatars of social media - and we hope this ongoing initiative will fulfill at least part of that need..”
The first “One City One Book” program was “If All of Seattle Read the Same Book,” in 1998, started at Seattle Public Library’s Washington Center for the Book. Since then, other communities have adopted similar initiatives and The Center for the Book at the Library of Congress tracks all known programs and the books they have used. Buncombe County had a “Together We Read” program in 2002 and 2003 that featured a book by a regional author in each of those two years.