Monday, October 23, 2006

One Nation, One Story?

Last Friday, Reuters UK ran a short piece on Dutch libraries giving away more than a half million copies of the 1973 novel Dubbelspel (Double Play) in hopes of creating a nationwide reading group discussion.

Every year I hear about the difficulty the panel goes through in selecting a single novel for Pasadena's One City, One Story program -- finding a story with broad appeal yet high literary merit, appropriate for a wide range of ages, and so on. Can you imagine being on the committee trying to select a single title for an entire country? I know nothing of culture in the Netherlands (except for these stories I keep hearing about hashish brownies) and wonder if it's more homogeneous than that of the U.S. I cannot fathom being able to settle on one book that all (or even a majority of) Americans would feel satisfied reading.


At 10:54 PM, Blogger Don said...

The Netherlands is quite a bit more homogeneous than the U.S. The heterogeneity of the country is largely courtesy of immigration, mostly from former Dutch colonies, and the immigrants tend to either assimilate or remain aloof (the latter is considered a serious issue), so there's not quite the same kind of demands. And then, of course, there's the fact that the country IS awfully small. Bigger than Pasadena, but less diverse.


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