Middletown Press - 2/11/04
‘Morrie' picked for One Book project
By AMY L. ZITKA , Middletown Press Staff
MIDDLETOWN -- Learning life's lessons and finding meaning in one's life will be among the topics citizens will be reading about in the second annual selection of the One Book, One Middletown project.
Members of the One Book, One Middletown Committee, coordinated by the Middletown Rotary Club, and Mayor Domenique Thornton announced on Tuesday that Mitch Albom's "Tuesdays with Morrie" had been selected as the book to be read by the community.
"Once again, they've chosen an excellent selection for all of our enjoyment," Thornton said to a gathering of Rotarians, Common Council and Board of Education members, Russell Library and city officials, and representatives from Middlesex Community College. "It's thoughtful and thought-provoking."
The book, focuses on visits by Albom, then a Detroit Free Press columnist, with his mentor and former professor Morrie Schwartz who was dying of ALS, or Lou Gehrig's Disease.
It continuously points out that people really should stop and smell the roses, Thornton said.
During the announcement, Thornton read a quote from the book: "So many people walk around with a meaningless life. They seem half asleep, even when they're busy doing things they think are important. This is because they're chasing the wrong things. The way you get meaning in your life is to devote yourself to loving others, devote yourself to your community around you, and devote yourself to creating something that gives you purpose and meaning."
Rotary Club President Rich Carella did not know what the book title was until the announcement.
As Thornton revealed the book from a wooden box, Carella was surprised by the selection.
"It's one of my favorite books," he said. "I'm looking forward to it."
"We hope we get more members of the community to read and discuss it in groups," Thornton said.
One Book, One Middletown Committee coordinator and Rotarian Pat Tucker said some events surrounding the project are still being finalized, but the project will be kicked off on March 26 from 5 to 9 p.m. in the Russell Library with a Read-Aloud.
With assistance from The Middletown Press, the committee has been able to obtain the Nightline interviews with Morrie Schwartz, which will be shown at various venues, Tucker said. Two senior classes at Middletown High School are also reading the book, she added.
There will be a week of activities surrounding the event involving new participants and new venues, Tucker said.
Last year there were an estimated 1,200 participants in the project. "I'm hoping to double it," she said.
The Rotary Club has been involved in the One Book, One Middletown project for two years, President Rich Carella said.
"Last year was a great experience, and we thought it was a great success in the project," he said. The Rotary Club promotes literature, and "we think this is one of the ways in accomplishing it."
Last year Lois Lowry's "The Giver" was selected by the One Book, One Middletown Committee.
The One Book project originated in Seattle and is a community-wide effort designed to encourage adults and young adults to read the same book at the same time. The One Book, One Middletown effort came about two years ago when the Rotary's Literacy Committee was told by Middletown Literacy Volunteers officials about the One Book program in Chicago when a book is chosen every six months.
To contact Amy L. Zitka, call (860) 347-3331 ext. 211 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
©The Middletown Press 2004