Attention readers! I’d like to suggest one more title for your book list this fall: “Church of the Graveyard Saints” by C. Joseph Greaves, is the inaugural title selected for Four Corners/One Book, a new Montrose community read.

Four Corners/One Book is a collaboration between the Montrose Library and five other southwestern cities: Cortez, Dolores, Mancos, Ignacio and Moab. Participants in each community will read the book over the next few months, then join with other readers in their town for a city-wide book discussion in January. Libraries in each town will host their own special events. Chuck Greaves, the author, will join us as well. We hope to establish Four Corners/one book as an annual event that will bring readers together through the shared experience of story.

You’re probably already familiar with the one book/one community model. Such programs were designed to promote literacy and build community through discussion. The first One Book community read was pioneered by the Washington Center for the Book in 1989; similar initiatives have since spread throughout the country.

It’s interesting to note that not everyone in the book community is a fan of such events. Prominent literary critic Harold Bloom said, “I don’t like these mass reading bees ... It is rather like the idea that we are all going to pop out and eat Chicken McNuggets or something else horrid at once.”

I think we can agree that literature lets us explore different ways of being in the world. Readers bring their own perspectives to a story, and discussing all these interpretations can help us learn more about the world and about each other. The many active book clubs in Montrose are founded on these principles; I encourage all our local book clubs to partner with us in this community read.

Church of the Graveyard Saints, set in the Four Corners, tells the story of a young woman’s return to her hometown of Cortez only to discover that the oil and gas boom promising prosperity to the larger community is threatening her family’s ranching heritage. Of the novel’s central theme, Publishers Weekly wrote: “Can one go home again? Greaves explores this question with both passion and compassion, taking readers on a lyrical, vivid tour of the West.”

Writing both literary fiction (as C. Joseph Greaves) and mystery fiction (as Chuck Greaves), the author has been a finalist for most of the major awards in crime fiction including the Shamus, Macavity, Lefty, and Audie, as well as the New Mexico-Arizona, Oklahoma, and Colorado Book Awards. He is the author of five previous novels including Hard Twisted and Tom & Lucky, the latter a Wall Street Journal “Best Books of 2015” selection and finalist for the 2016 Harper Lee Prize. Greaves lives, writes, and farms in the Four Corners region.

We’ll be kicking off Four Corners/One Book in Montrose with a launch party at Maggie’s Books on Main Street at 7 p.m., Sept. 23. Meet the author, enjoy refreshments, and enter a drawing for free copies of the book. Stay tuned for more information about our local public book discussions and author talks, which are slated for January of 2020.

Tania Hajjar is the assistant director at Montrose Regional Library.

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