Each year, a panel from the Iowa Center for the Book chooses a single book as the All Iowa Reads title for the year. Preference is given to books that generate in-depth discussion and highlight issues relevant to Iowans.

This year’s selection, "The Year We Left Home" by Jean Thompson, follows a fictional Iowa family for thirty years, starting in the early 1970s. The four Erickson siblings scatter different directions in their adult lives and experience both good times and tragedies. Waukee Public Library’s March discussion group pretty well agreed that we weren’t big fans of this book, for varied reasons. A few individuals were put off by errors in basic facts, misspellings, and a seeming lack of editing. Others felt the characters were not developed enough to make them likeable or to understand their motives. Another felt it was not an believable portrayal of Iowans. In spite of our misgivings, the book does generate quite a good discussion. Give it a try and talk it over with a friend or neighbor – or your book group!

Send me your recommendations! Email is best: devonm@waukee.lib.ia.us. I look forward to hearing from you!