Monday, November 29, 2010

One Book Announces 2011 Selection

Major Pettigrow's Last Stand
by Helen Simonson

One Book Community Read invites all adults in Rutherford County to read the same book each winter season. This year’s selection is Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand, a novel by Helen Simonson. The One Book initiative is created by Read To Succeed, Linebaugh Library and Barnes & Noble to promote reading and literacy in Rutherford County.

This work of fiction transports readers to present-day England, where Major Ernest Pettigrew, retired and widowed, lives a quiet and principled life. His pleasures include hunting excursions, rounds of golf at the country club, books, and of course, tea. But when his brother dies, he finds himself on a quest for a family heirloom – and in an unlikely friendship with local shopkeeper Jasmine Ali that, if he admits it to himself, seems more important each day. Factor in his boorish son Roger’s more frequent trips home and the encroachment of development on his very back yard, and life has become quite complicated indeed. This book will have you laughing out loud and rooting for the Major to succeed on what you hope will not actually be his “last stand.”

Critics have described the novel as “thoroughly charming” and “refreshing in its optimism and its faith in the transformative possibilities of courtesy and kindness.” The book, Simonson’s debut, made the New York Times bestseller list a month after its March 2010 publication. It also made Oprah’s and Amazon’s top 10 books for 2010. It will be available in paperback next week (November 30th).

After two years of selecting non-fiction titles for One Book (Barbara Kingsolver’s Animal, Vegetable, Miracle and The Soloist by Steve Lopez), this year’s committee turned to fiction for a change of pace, said Kory Wells, One Book co-chair for this winter’s read. “This book is witty and enjoyable,” said Wells, “but at the same time, it has some great insight about personal relationships that bridge culture, race, religion and class.”

One Book co-chair Kristina Brown suggests that “there is something transformative about a community sharing a book. It’s almost like a good meal shared with friends. We can enjoy it, discuss it, and learn from it together. We might even appreciate the meal so much that we pick up our next book with a whetted appetite.” In fact the One Book Committee will be suggesting additional titles for further reading which will soon be posted at

The Learning Circle, First Baptist Church, and the Intercultural & Diversity Affairs Center at MTSU will be collaborating with this year's One Book partners to help get folks in Rutherford reading Major Pettigrew's Last Stand. Please contact us at 738-READ to work with us on One Book.

What Is One Book?

One Book is a collaborative project of Read To Succeed created to challenge adult readers in Rutherford County to read the same book. The objectives of One Book are to encourage reading among adults, to demonstrate to our children the importance of reading, to unify our community through a shared experience and to highlight an issue of importance by means of a book’s theme or subject matter.

How Can I Get Involved?

There are a number of ways every person and business in Rutherford County can be involved in the One Book experience.

Individuals: Read the book and encourage your friends and family to read it too. Take part in a neighborhood or online discussion of the book (through our Facebook page, blog or forum). If you’re part of a book club, consider having your group read the One Book selection between now and the end of April. If you’ve already read the book, encourage those around you to share in the experience. You can also help by volunteering to join the One Book committee or making a donation at

Companies: Companies and workplaces can encourage employees and customers to take the One Book challenge and read. Consider setting up a small display about the book. Give away a copy or two in a company raffle. Give employees a 10-minute “reading break” every day to read the One Book title. Companies can also help further the One Book cause by becoming a sponsor of the project. For more information on One Book corporate sponsorship, contact Ronni Shaw, Read To Succeed Executive Director, at (615)738-READ.

For More on One Book and the 2010-11 Selection – Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand:

One Book Community Read Read To Succeed

One Book Co-Chair: Kory Wells PO Box 12161

Email: Murfreesboro, TN 37129

Phone: 615-898-0063 (615) 738-READ

One Book Co-Chair: Kristina Brown Ronni Shaw

Email: Email:

Phone: 615-898-1817 Website:

Online Resources and Information Available: click on One Book

The Read To Succeed Facebook page: Join us on Facebook at Read To Succeed

Read To Succeed, the community literacy collaborative in Rutherford County, will promote reading, with an emphasis on family literacy. This non-profit initiative supports literacy programs and fosters awareness of the importance of reading. Please visit


Kory Wells said...

The early feedback we're getting about this selection is SO positive...Major Pettigrew is an endearing character, and I think Rutherford County readers are really going to enjoy getting to know him!

Diane said...

This is a fantastic choice! I review a book a week on my blog, Cats and a Book ( and Major Pettigrew's Last Stand was one of my favorite books this year. Congratulations on this terrific selection!