Six cities in the Four Corners region and their public libraries, including Moab’s Grand County Public Library, have launched an annual regional reading program called “Four Corners/One Book” with the stated goals of promoting literacy, encouraging dialogue and building community through the shared experience of story. Along with Moab, the Colorado cities of Cortez, Dolores, Mancos, Montrose and Ignacio have selected “Church of the Graveyard Saints” by C. Joseph Greaves as the program’s inaugural title.

“Church of the Graveyard Saints,” set in the American Southwest, tells the story of a young woman’s return to her small hometown only to discover that the oil and gas boom promising prosperity to the larger community is threatening her family’s ranching heritage. Published in September of 2019 by Utah-based nonprofit Torrey House Press, the novel was recently named by High Country News to its year-end list of “This Season’s Best Reads.”

Community-wide reading programs designed to promote civic unity through the power of literature have proliferated since the Washington Center for the Book pioneered the concept in 1989.

“At a time when public discourse has become polarized and Americans increasingly define themselves by that which divides them, we thought the time was ripe to use the written word to bring people together,” said Cortez Public Library director Eric Ikenouye. “What if we all read the same book? What if we all come together to discuss the issues it raises? What might we learn about ourselves and our community?”

The community book discussion in Moab will be held on Thursday, Feb. 20, at 6:00 p.m. at the Grand County Public Library (257 E. Center St.).