A warning to all New Yorkers: If everyone on the subway seems to be reading the same book this March, you’re not going crazy.
New York City has launched a new program called “One Book, One New York” to encourage all city residents to read the same book.
The initiative allows New Yorkers in all five boroughs to vote on one of five books to start reading in the month of March. Residents can vote online or in kiosks in subway stations until February 28.
The effort is an attempt to give small bookstores throughout the city a boost and, as the program’s title suggests, create a sense of community among the city’s readers.
Other cities such as Chicago and Philadelphia have hosted community reads in the past, though none have created as large a book club as New York can.
In partnership with Buzzfeed, the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment turned to those other cities to suggest books for people to read. It also consulted with heads of local libraries, publishers, and academics, the New York Times reports.
The shortlist offers five choices: “Between the World and Me” by Ta-Nehisi Coates, “The Sellout” by Paul Beatty, “Americanah” by Chimamanda Ngozi-Adichie, “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn” by Betty Smith, and “The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao” by Junot Diaz.
In June, the chosen book’s author will appear at the main branch of the New York Public Library at an event that will cap off a series of smaller meetups planned throughout the city’s five boroughs.
As the Times reports, the five books’ publishers will each donate 4,000 copies to more than 200 library branches around the city in preparation for the final vote.