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October 18, 2010

Boston: One City One Story

Posted by Dana


This past weekend I got to be a part of the 2nd annual Boston Book Festival.  (I was there in the wind manning a booth as part of my job for Better World Books).  While there I learned about ther Once City One Story project and thought I'd share it with you.

If you're a regular reader of this blog, you will have already read about several city wide and community wide reading programs across the country.  But Boston, a notoriously literary town,  has taken a slightly different spin on it.  They went with a short story.  And why not.  It's portable and easily accessible.  The story, THE SMILE ON HAPPY CHANG'S FACE by Boston resident Tom Perrotta, was originally published in Post Road ( and then later included in the 2005 edition of BEST AMERICAN SHORT STORIES edited by Michael Chabon.

For the One City One Story program, Bostonians could download the story as a PDF or to their eReaders or even here an audio excerpt read by the author.  I even got a copy in pamphlet form in my hotel room!  (Apparently they were available at various T stops and at local shops and events leading up to the festival).  The whole thing is kind of genius.  Everyone could get involved.  There is no financial barrier to entry and it's a short story.... about baseball... (and life, of course)... so even if you're not a big reader, you could still get into it.

And of course to top the whole thing off Tom Perotta joined the fun at the book festival to talk about the story with his readers.

Pretty cool idea, in my humble opinion.  Go Boston!

Have you had a chance to read the story?  If not, click here to download.  And as always, feel free to share your thoughts!

-- Dana Barrett, Contributing Editor