Mayor Matt Brown unveils the One Book One London selection, Brother by Canadian author David Chariandy at the Central Library Branch, February 5, 2018. (Photo by Miranda Chant, Blackburn News)

Londoners Asked To Read The Same Book

If you only read one book over the next couple of months, the London Public Library is hoping it will be “Brother” by Canadian author David Chariandy.

The novel was announced as this year’s One Book One London selection on Monday at the Central Branch. Residents from every corner of the city are encouraged to pick up a copy of the book to read and discuss, creating what library officials call a shared community experience.

Brother is the second book penned by Chariandy, a Toronto-native and 11-time literary award nominee. It centres around two brothers who live with their single mother in a Scarborough housing project.

“They are immigrants struggling to survive. There is a lot of prejudice and racism… but as well it’s about the relationships about brothers, violence, and redemption,” said Librarian Kristen Caschera. “It’s a beautifully written story.”

Brother was selected as this year’s shared novel by library staff who were deeply affected by its themes of generational poverty, racism, and oppression after reading an advance copy last summer.

“This book just kind of fell into our laps. It came across one of our selector’s desks and we thought it was a wonderful book, very different subject matter but also a very important story to tell,” said Caschera. “We are very excited to share it.”

Mayor Matt Brown, who helped reveal this year’s book, plans to start reading Brother this week.

“Books bring communities together. The themes that are covered in this book include things like poverty, racism, community, and music. All of these are themes that we have in our community today, positive and negative. I think that this book will start conversations about that,” said Brown.

This is the second year the London Public Library has run the One Book One London initiative as a way to bring strangers together through literature. Last year’s novel “Etta and Otto and Russell and James” by Canadian author Emma Hooper generated a lot of positive feedback with library copies circulating over 1,800 times.

“There was tons of holds, lots of people engaged with it and I know that the bookstores had a lot of success with sales as well,” said Caschera.

Print and e-book copies of Brother can be borrowed from all public library branches or purchased from stores throughout the city.

From February through April, readers looking to discuss the text can do so in person at one of ten group conversations throughout the city. Date, times, and locations for these discussions can be found by clicking here. There will also be online discussions through the One Book One London Facebook group or by using the #1Book1Ldn hashtag.

The initiative wraps up with a visit from Chariandy to the downtown library on April 16.