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Katrina Book Picked for Greenwich Reads

GREENWICH, Conn. – A book about a Syrian-American businessman's struggles in New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina is the selection for this year's Greenwich Reads Together, the Greenwich Library announced Wednesday.

"Zeitoun," the American Book Award-winning non-fiction work by Dave Eggers, will be discussed by the community in an April series of programs and lectures. The public was asked to submit recommendations and a committee sorted through dozens of suggestions before picking Eggers' book.

"Zeitoun," which was released two years ago, tells the story of Abdulrahman Zeitoun, who chose to stay in New Orleans to protect his family, house and business. In the days following Katrina, he traveled by canoe through the streets giving out supplies to those in need. He disappeared one week later.

Zeitoun was written in collaboration with its subjects and Eggers researched in the United States as well as in Spain and Syria to explore Zeitoun's roots. Eggers also went into depth with Zeitoun's marriage to Kathy, an American who converted to Islam, and their children.

In October, the public was asked to recommend titles for the community read. The Selection Committee – composed of five Greenwich Library staff members – sorted through dozens of suggestions. In describing why Zeitoun was selected, Marianne Weill of the Selection Committee spoke about “the book’s impact and emotion, and the number of people who are passionate about the story it tells.”

It was named a winner of an American Book Award and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize.  In addition, Zeitoun was named a New York Times Notable Book, an Entertainment Weekly Book of the Decade, and one of the best books of the year by the San Francisco Chronicle, Chicago Tribune, The New Yorker, The Huffington Post and O, the Oprah Magazine.

Free copies of "Zeitoun" were distributed at the announcement ceremony Wednesday, and attendees were encouraged to read the book and pass it along to friends. Print copies are available to borrow at all branches of the Greenwich Library and may also be purchased at local bookstores, including Diane’s Books. E-books and audiobooks in CD format are also available through the Library. Readers are encouraged to share their feedback and keep updated on the schedule of events through the Greenwich Reads Together website, . The page contains information about the book and author, reviews, interviews, discussion guides and more.

Opportunities are available for community organizations and volunteers to become involved in Greenwich Reads Together. Those interested should contact the Greenwich Reads Together co-chairs: Amy Fleishman at or Gail Wilson at .

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