So, just curious, what are the Vancouver Public Library staff thinking with their One Book, One Vancouver book choices this year? This year's winner as the book that every Vancouverite should read, chosen by visitors to the library branches as well as via their webiste, is the reknowned and widely already-read Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, written by the late Douglas Adams in 1979. The competition was The Absolutely True Dairies of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexis and The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.
Don't get me wrong it's a stellar book. If you happen to be one of the five people who haven't already read it, you're in for a treat. It's fantastically fun, intelligent, creative and silly, but it's an odd choice after past winners with somewhat more gravity and/or local relevance such as Stanley Park by Timothy Taylor, Joy Kogawa’s Obasan, Joel Bakan’s The Corporation and The Five Books of Moses Lapinsky by Karen X. Tulchinsky. (There's more info on their website.) Terry Lavender writes a killer article that says exactly (but more eloquently) what I thought when I heard the news, which is basically that, as influential as the book has been for the tech-happy, cyber-stoked side of this planet, it's not specifically Vancouver-y at all.
Maybe it was nominated because of the potential for fun themed events. While the Hitchhiker's Guide reigns supreme this fall there will be "intergalactic events and contests" (the promotional pamphlet from the library said it, not me) which include a Vogon Poetry Slam and Vog-Off (Vogon Poetry is, according to The Guide, the worst in the universe), a travel writing workshop, a Hitchhiker's Innovation Expo of the latest gear, eco-gadgets and technology –an "electronic petting zoo", apparently– and the assembly of a 2040 time capsule to be opened in thirty years.