The One Book/One New Paltz committee selected “The Submission” by former New York Times journalist and author Amy Waldman for the 2012 Shared Reading Experience on Thursday, Nov. 11 through Sunday, Nov. 20.
Events will kick off with Waldman as the New Paltz Distinguished Speaker on Nov. 1 at 7:30 p.m. in Lecture Center 100, followed by a public book signing and reception.
The novel was first selected by the One Book committee for the community reading and then it was suggested that the author be a New Paltz Distinguished Speaker, Co-Chair Jacqueline Andrews and committee member Shelly Sherman said.
The One Book committee begins the book selection process with a few recommendations from each member, Sherman said. The committee then reads those selections and narrows down the choices.
“We all read that selection and we narrow the choice down to a half dozen or so, and then continue to eliminate until there is consensus on a winner,” Sherman said. “The Distinguished Speaker Series chose the author of the same book that One Book/One New Paltz had selected for 2012.”
Andrews, the SUNY New Paltz assistant vice president of institutional research and planning, said there is an indirect relationship between One Book/One New Paltz and the Distinguished Speaker Series, as both are offices of the college staffed by people who know each other.
Andrews said she and Special Events Coordinator in the Development/Foundation Office, Lisa Sandick, keep each other informed and look for opportunities to collaborate.
“When One Book/One New Paltz selected ‘The Submission,’ I suggested to her that Amy Waldman might make an excellent choice as distinguished speaker. Lisa negotiated with Ms. Waldman and came to a mutually beneficial arrangement,” Andrews said.
The committee, Sherman said, felt it was a good read on an important and engaging topic that they hope will lead to a great deal of discussion.
“The book forces the reader to confront his/her own biases and prejudices and definitely makes one think about the complexity of many issues relating to race, religion, etc.,” she said.
“The Submission,” Waldman’s first novel published in 2011, imagines a post-9/11 competition for the design of a memorial at ground-zero. When the winner, selected by a ‘blind’ jury, turns out to be an American Muslim, reactions from the jury, the public and the victims’ families are both complex and emotional.
It was named a finalist for the Hemingway Foundation/PEN First Fiction Award, a New York Times Notable Book for 2011, one of National Public Radio’s Ten Best Novels, Esquire’s Book of the Year, Entertainment Weekly’s number one Novel for the Year, a Washington Post Notable Fiction Book and one of Amazon’s Top 100 Books and top ten debut fiction.
The One Book/One New Paltz community reading activities include presentations, book discussions, academic and journalism panels, a movie screening and a dramatic reading by members of the Mohonk Mountain Stage Company, all free to New Paltz students.