Not an overly literary book, but not a fluff piece either. A book with plenty of themes for discussion, appealing to teens -- and definitely a page-turner.
In a nutshell, that's "Ordinary Grace" by William Kent Krueger, the book picked by the Arlington Heights Memorial Library for its first "One Book One Village" community reading initiative unveiled Saturday, said library deputy director Daisy Porter-Reynolds.
"We chose a book that had themes that the community could talk about -- the '60s, veterans and the aftermath of the war," said Porter-Reynolds, a member of the book selection committee. "Yet we still wanted it to be an accessible book that would be enjoyable to read."
About 130 patrons who attended a brunch Saturday were the first to receive copies from the library, which also has planned a series of related events in the fall.
Patron Diane Kowalski of Arlington Heights said she loved the selection.
"I've heard of it before and I'm excited to read it," she said, adding she would grab a large-print copy immediately.
The unveiling of the book included a recorded video appearance by Krueger, who said he was honored his book was chosen by Arlington Heights.
The book is set in the summer of 1961 in a small town in Minnesota's River Valley, where the child of the local Methodist minister is murdered.
"At heart it's really the story what this terrible tragedy does to this man's faith, his family and ultimately the entire fabric of the small town in which he lives," Krueger said.
The book will be a perfect suggestion for a members of a book club at First United Methodist Church in Arlington Heights, said patron Raylene Gallas.
"I think it's a fantastic idea," she said. "I enjoy anything that comes up to read about my growing up years, and I am interested to see how I will parallel some of that."
The goal is for readers to pass the book on to other Arlington Heights residents, to turn this into a true villagewide initiative, said Nancy Kim Phillips, the library's info services manager.
"We know you will be our book ambassadors,"she said.
Coincidentally, the book is also on the summer reading list at Rolling Meadows High School.
The library has planned a series of events starting in September, including a discussion featuring Krueger on Oct. 28 for which registration opens Sept 1.
There will also be book discussions at various locations throughout the village, an exhibit of World War II posters, music and movies celebrating the '60s, and more.
The popularity of book clubs in Arlington Heights was part of the impetus to organize a community read, said Deb Whisler, director of communications and marketing for the library. Book clubs can request multiple copies.
"We completed our renovation last year and we've been waiting for the right time," she said. "We think this will be successful in Arlington Heights."
For more, go to the library, 500 N. Dunton Ave., visit the website ahml.info or call (847) 392-0100.