The Free Library of Philadelphia’s “One Book, One Philadelphia” program, geared at promoting literacy and library use, has selected Charles Frazier’s award-winning Civil War novel, "Cold Mountain," as its featured read in 2016.
Written in 1997, "Cold Mountain" is the popular American epic about a Civil War soldier traveling within a divided nation to return to the woman he loves, while she struggles to keep up her father’s farm and come to terms with the new world evolving around her.
"Twelve Years a Slave" by Solomon Northup and "The Civil War" by Geoffrey Ward with Ric Burns & Ken Burns were also selected as two adult companion books to historically contextualize the effects of the events leading up to and after one of America’s most revolutionary eras.
“This is our 14th season and we wanted to select books that would give a very holistic viewpoint of a crucial moment in American history,” Kalela Williams, program director of One Book, said. “To have these books written by a freed slave, respected historians, and a great author allows the readers to see the Civil War in a unique way.”
In addition to the books being chosen for next year’s season, which runs from Feb. 2, 2015 - March 30, 2016, it will also be coinciding with the East Coast premiere of the opera "Cold Mountain," composed by Jennifer Higdon and Gene Scheer. The selection of the novel played a role in giving The Free Library an opportunity to tie its season in with another major cultural event.
“It’s fascinating to be able to get the city to view literacy as more than just books, but a way to invoke local culture and arts…the opera coming to the city was a great way to compliment our programming,” Sandra Horrocks, vice president of external affairs said. “It’s never a dismal moment when great happenings in the city can help ignite people to read.”
From now until February, Philadelphians are encouraged to read the selected books in order to take full advantage of the workshops, panels and spotlight events such as the kickoff celebration featuring author Charles Frazier in Parkway Central’s Montgomery Auditorium at 7:30 p.m on Tuesday, Feb. 2, 2016.