Unlike watching a movie or seeing a play, reading a book is often a solitary activity. But if you live in New York City and want someone to share your literary experiences with, the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment and BuzzFeed are encouraging you to join their “One Book, One New York” program.
With all 8.5 million city residents invited to participate, the event has the potential to become one of the largest book clubs ever organized. The purpose of the initiative is to “get everyone in NYC to read the same book at the same time,” according to BuzzFeed. However, before the reading can commence, the city is calling on participants to choose the inaugural book from a list of five titles. The contenders (all of which are available at every branch of the New York Public Library) include Betty Smith's A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's Americanah, Junot Díaz's The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, Paul Beatty's The Sellout, and Ta-Nehisi Coates's Between the World and Me.
If you're at a loss for which book to choose, don’t fret: The “One Book, One New York” team recruited five celebrities to sell their picks for the contest. Below you can watch Orange is the New Black star Danielle Brooks make an impassioned pitch for Between the World and Me. Bebe Neuwirth, Larry Wilmore, William H. Macy, and Giancarlo Esposito also recorded video testimonials.
Book club members have until February 28 to cast their votes at NYC.gov. If you’re a non-New Yorker looking to join something similar, there are plenty of worldwide reading groups to choose from, including a feminist book club started by Emma Watson.