CHARLESTON, W.Va. --Call it the year of the book. Make that the year of many books.
In honor of the Mountain State's 150th anniversary this year, the West Virginia Library Commission and the West Virginia Center for the Book are encouraging residents to read -- one book for every year the state has existed.
"Reading is just a wonderful thing to do at anytime and of course this is celebration of the state's 150 birthday," said Preston Richardson, information specialist for the library commission.
People can read the books on their own or form teams of up to 15 members. Teams are encouraged to choose a name and select a leader to keep track of the books members read.
Dozens of libraries and bookstores across the state are participating in the program. Prizes and certificates are determined by the individual libraries and will vary, Richardson said.
The library council is providing libraries with artwork, window clings and other resources as well as social media support and program ideas.
Richard is participating, though he doubts he'll read all 150, he said. He may join others for a team.
After admitting he'd never read an Ernest Hemingway novel, Richardson decided to start with "For whom the bell tolls."
"[Reading] with a team is probably the ideal way to do it," Richardson said. "And reading is just so important to learning and education and society as a whole.
"It's just a fundamental foundation of democracy and we need to encourage it," he said.
The team approach may be fine for some, but not for Joslyn Davidson of South Charleston, who plans to read all 150 by herself.
It only takes 12.1 books a month, said Davidson, a student. Davidson reads lots of different genres of books -- nonfiction and academic fiction, the classics, for instance. She heads to the library as often as it can get in the books she requests.
"Two weeks ago they got me four in and I read them all during the weekend," she said.
It's simple, she said. Instead of watching TV when she's home from work or class, she reads.
"It's not going to put you out," Davidson said. "I read 400-page books, too. If you read a 400-page book it's going to take you four hours if you really read it. I read fast."
Davidson participates in many library-reading programs throughout the year, she said. She learned a love for books early on from parents who read to her.
"Reading is always going to make you smarter and more knowledgeable and help you understand depths," she said. "If you read a variety of genres then you'll be well read."
For more information, visit http://www.librarycommission.wv.gov .
Reach Lori Kersey at lori.ker...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1240.