Lincoln City Libraries (LCL) Director Pat Leach today announced that "The Light Between Oceans" by M.L. Stedman has been selected from among three finalists as the featured novel for the 2014 One Book - One Lincoln community reading program. LCL has sponsored the annual program since 2002 to encourage reading and dialogue by creating a community wide reading and discussion experience.
"The Light Between Oceans" is the first novel by Stedman, who was born and raised in Western Australia and now lives in London. The book is set in Australia and tells the story of Tom Sherbourne who welcomes a new job as a lighthouse keeper after the horror of World War I. He and his wife Isabel are the only residents of Janus Rock, an isolated island off the coast of Australia.
"I'm a great fan of libraries, so I'm absolutely delighted that my novel has been chosen as the 2014 One Book - One Lincoln selection," said Stedman. "Such programs are vital in fostering reading and shared experience in communities around the world. I hope readers enjoy the story, and more importantly, the process of exploring it with your fellow Lincolnites. I'm honored by your choice."
The author said one of the underlying themes in the book is the nature of community and its role in shaping morality. She said community provides a vital context for our choices, and it is the absence of that context which has such an impact on the novel's main characters. She said the book encourages readers to look at situations from the perspective of each character, understanding their different motivations and points of view, without rushing to judgment. It also deals with the fundamental need for tolerance and forgiveness in order to allow people to live fulfilling lives together.
The selection process began in January when the community nominated 195 books for consideration. A selection team of community readers narrowed the list down to three books. The other two finalists were "The Presidents Club" by Nancy Gibbs and Michael Duffy, and "The Shadow of the Wind" by Carlos Ruiz Zafon. Leach said the voting was close, with the winner decided by 17 votes.
The novel is available at all Lincoln libraries in print (including large type), audio recording and as a Book Club in a Bag. Discussions, special events and an art contest are being planned for the next three months. Visit lincolnlibraries.org for more details.