Every year, the organizers of the Collingswood Book Festival choose a town book, “to provide an opportunity for our entire community to bond over some of the great themes in literature,” said Jean Brennan, chair of the book festival committee. Copies of the book are donated to students of the AP English Class of Collingswood High School as part of their reading curriculum. The festival provides a forum for discussion and analysis beyond the classroom and into the community through a discussion taking place at Collingswood Public Library during festival week. Over the years, students have examined such topics as life in Afghanistan, plagiarism, book banning and the demographic shift away from urban sprawl.
After several non-fiction books, this year’s town book is a page-turning story that spans decades and contains numerous interwoven plotlines revolving around sharply focused universal themes of family, love and identity. It is a timely and important exploration of the complex bonds between a daughter and her father, of the role of intelligence technology in human relationships.
Ada Sibelius is raised by David, her brilliant, eccentric, socially inept single father, who directs a computer science lab in 1980s-era Boston. Home-schooled, Ada accompanies David to work every day; by twelve, she is a painfully shy prodigy. The lab begins to gain acclaim at the same time that David's mysterious history comes into question. When his mind begins to falter, leaving Ada virtually an orphan, she is taken in by one of David's colleagues. Soon after she embarks on a mission to uncover her father’s secrets: a process that carries her from childhood to adulthood. What Ada discovers on her journey into a virtual universe will keep the reader riveted until The Unseen World's heart-stopping, fascinating conclusion.
The Collingswood Book Festival includes authors and events for kids, tweens, teens and poetry fans in addition to top-notch adult authors. The free festival is set for more than six blocks along Haddon Avenue on October 7. More information will be added to the website in the coming weeks: www.collingswoodbookfestival.com.