Welcome to All Iowa Reads!
Established in 2003, the All Iowa Reads program is one of the first projects to be provided by the Iowa Center for the Book.
The purpose of All Iowa Reads is to foster a sense of unity through reading. We encourage Iowans statewide to come together in their communities to read and talk about a single book title in the same year. Libraries, book clubs, schools and other local organizations are encouraged to sponsor discussions of the title. Please use this site for information as you read and study the book. We offer a wealth of materials including book reviews. discussion questions, and publicity materials to help you prepare successful discussions. Read more...
The 2013 selection is "The Year We Left Home" by Jean Thompson
"From National Book Award finalist Jean Thompson comes a mesmerizing,
decades-spanning saga of one ordinary American family—proud, flawed,
hopeful— whose story simultaneously captures the turbulent history of
the country at large."
This sweeping and emotionally powerful story reveals the lives of a single American family during the tumultuous final decades of the twentieth century. "It begins in 1973 when the Erickson family of Grenada, Iowa, gathers for the wedding of their eldest daughter, Anita. Even as they celebrate, the fault lines in the family emerge. The bride wants nothing more than to raise a family in her hometown, while her brother Ryan watches restlessly from the sidelines, planning his escape. He is joined by their cousin Chip, an unpredictable, war-damaged loner who will show Ryan both the appeal and the perils of freedom. Torrie, the Erickson's youngest daughter, is another rebel intent on escape, but the choices she makes will bring about a tragedy that leaves the entire family changed forever.
Stretching from the early 1970s in the Iowa farmlands to suburban Chicago to the coast of contemporary Italy—and moving through the Vietnam War’s aftermath, the farm crisis, the numerous economic booms and busts—The Year We Left Home follows the Erickson siblings as they confront prosperity and heartbreak, setbacks and triumphs, and seek their place in a country whose only constant seems to be breathtaking change. Ambitious, richly told, and fiercely American, this is a vivid and moving meditation on our continual pursuit of happiness and an incisive exploration of the national character."
Courtesy of the Simon & Schuster website.
Past AIR Books:
- 2012. Strength in What Remains by Tracy Kidder
- 2011. Sing Them Home by Stephanie Kallos
- 2010. Driftless by David Rhodes
- 2009. The Rope Walk by Carrie Brown
- 2008. Digging to America by Anne Tyler
How All Iowa Reads is chosenThe All Iowa Reads Committee welcomes, but does not solicit nominations. Members of the Committee read widely, seeking books with broad appeal. In a series of meetings, members discuss possibilities that meet the criteria listed below. The list is narrowed to approximately five titles which are read by all members. Members provide their honest impressions, independent of outside influence, and the final selection is made by consensus.
Criteria used to select the All Iowa Reads title
The book must:
Raise universal social issues relevant to Iowans
Lend itself to sustained, spirited and in-depth discussion
Be accessible to adults and high school aged youth
Be available in paperback, large print, and unabridged audio editions by January 1st of the selection year
It is desirable, but not required, that the book:
Have an Iowa or Midwest connection
Is a recent publication that has not been widely read
For more information, contact the Coordinator.