WALLINGFORD — The public library has revealed its pick for the inaugural “One Book One Wallingford” program — Matthew Quick’s “The Reason You’re Alive.”
Quick is an American writer, raised in New Jersey, who writes adult and young adult fiction. All eight of his books have been optioned for film, the most notable being “Silver Linings Playbook,” the 2012 Oscar-winning film starring Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper.
Community members gathered Wednesday evening on the library’s main floor for the reveal. They were treated to a live performance by Mayor William Dickinson Jr. on trumpet and Jim Walton on drums, cake, and a personalized video from Quick.
“I think it’s a bold selection,” library director Jane Fisher said. “It encompasses some heavy themes… but he’s a complicated character and he doesn’t hold back.”
People will have the opportunity to meet and have their books signed by Quick on April 4 at 7 p.m. at the Paul Mellon Arts Center. Quick will also talk about the book and writing. A limited number of free tickets will be available at the library. The library will also offer copies of the book for both loan and purchase.
“If you come out, we’ll be talking about empathy, we’ll be taking compassion, we’ll be talking tolerance,” Quick said in a video played after the book was announced. “I can’t wait to meet you… I’ve very honored that you have chosen this one, which is very near and dear to my heart.”
Quick’s most recent book, “The Reason You’re Alive,” was published in July. The story follows 68-year-old David Granger, “a Vietnam vet embarking on a quixotic crusade to track down his nemesis from the war,” according to the book’s summary.
Granger crashes his BMW and learns he has a brain tumor, which he believes is caused by his exposure to Agent Orange. He wakes up from surgery with a new quest to find and return something precious to a Native American soldier whom he was ordered to discipline. Through his journey, Granger is forced to confront his past to reclaim his present, while grappling with a conflicted sense of patriotism.
Fisher, who has read the book, said she hopes people stick with it through the end, when the character truly reveals his complexity.
The library will hold multiple programs before the April talk.
“We wanted a book that would get people talking to each other, talking about ideas,” Fisher said.
The first discussion event will be Feb. 13 at 6:30 p.m. at the Andrew Mellon Library at Choate Rosemary Hall. Registration with the library is recommended. This first event will be about the history, symptoms, and recovery of PTSD experienced by veterans.
The library will host six other events on topics, including the political aspects of the Vietnam War, the war’s military history, the intersection of faith and spirituality, and two general book discussions. There will also be a panel discussion with Vietnam War veterans on Feb. 27. More information can be found on the library’s website.
The One Book One Wallingford program is an effort to bring the community together through reading. The library announced the program late last year and had been revealing clues. This inaugural program is in memory of Patricia Juliano, a former library volunteer and board member who died last April.
“We all know that this is not a way to cure all of society's ills,” Julie Rio, the adult programming and community services librarian said. “But it is a way to bring the community together around reading one book and discussing a literary work.”