One Book, One Town 2023: I Keep Trying to Catch His Eye

We are honored to announce that the title chosen was written by a resident of Fairfield. This year’s OBOT selection is I Keep Trying to Catch His Eye by Ivan Maisel.  It is an honest and emotionally deep memoir in which Ivan reflects on the loss of his dear son Max to suicide, the impact of grief on family and community, and the painful journey which brings Ivan to a place of seeing grief as an expression of love.

I Keep Trying to Catch His Eye

What Ivan and his family experienced was felt throughout the entire community.  For this reason, the existence of this beautiful memoir presented itself as an urgent and unique opportunity to bring an essential conversation to the forefront.

Here is a summary of the book from the publisher:  “In February 2015, Ivan Maisel received a call that would alter his life forever: his son Max’s car was found abandoned in a parking next to Lake Ontario. Two months later, Max’s body would be found in the lake. I Keep Trying to Catch His Eye is the story of Maisel’s love for a son who was so different from him, but who he loved so deeply, and how he came to learn that grief for Max was nothing more than a last, ultimate expression of love. Navigating the moments of their complicated relationship, as well as their love for each other, Maisel explores the bridges he tried to build to his son and the grief that engulfed him and his family after Max’s death by suicide. Taking its title from Max’s love of photography–and his tendency to only love the camera when he was behind it, looking away whenever his picture was taken–I Keep Trying to Catch His Eye delves into the tragically transformative reality of losing a child, all with grace, depth, and refinement. But by humanizing Max and humanizing his grief, Maisel evokes understanding instead of sorrow, appreciation instead of anxiety–and love instead of fear.”

Special thanks goes to Tamara Lyhne, Children’s Librarian, and Jen Laseman, Teen Librarian, for choosing wonderful titles for our younger readers. For Teens and middle school readers the titles are Hope Wins: A Collection of Inspiring Stories for Young Readers and also Hope Nation: YA Authors Share Personal Moments of Inspiration.  Both books are edited by Rose Brock and feature stories that celebrate the triumphant power of hope, an important message in a time when hope is sometimes difficult to find.  

For Children, the title is The Rhino Suit by Colter Jackson. This gentle and moving picture book tells the story of a very sensitive little girl who builds herself a rhino suit as protection against all of the bad and sad feelings she experiences.

Ivan Maisel will be appearing at the Fairfield University Quick Center for the Arts on Tuesday, March 28th at 7:00pm.  Registration for this event is required and will begin on Tuesday, February 28th.

Colter Jackson will be appearing at the Main Library on Saturday, March 25th at 1:00pm. Rose Brock will be holding an event as well, time and date TBA.  A full list of programs is to follow; many of them will include professionals who work in the counseling field. Details will be added to the events page as they become available.

OBOT 2023 Book Suggestions?

It is One Book One Town Book selection time! We would love to hear from our patrons. Have you read a book recently that you are eager to share? Do you think it is worthy of a community wide conversation? The criteria is as follows: must have been published in 2021 or 2022, the author must be living and able to come to Fairfield in March 2023. Simple as that, so please fill out this form. We can’t wait to see what you suggest. 

Thank you –

The OBOT committee

And the book is…

The Fairfield Public Library and its community partners are happy to announce the One Book One Town selection for 2021 – Punching the Air by award-winning, bestselling author Ibi Zoboi and Dr. Yusef Salaam.  This is the story of a tragic event leading to an unjust imprisonment and its impact on the family and community. It is also a story of how the power of art and poetry can create strength and community.

Ibi Zoboi is the New York Times Bestselling author of American Street, a National Book Award Finalist and a New York Times Notable Book. Her writing has been published widely.

Dr. Yusef Salaam was just fifteen years old when his life was upended after being wrongly convicted with four other boys in the “Central Park Jogger” case.  In 2002, after the young men spent years of their lives behind bars, their sentences were overturned.  They are now known as The Exonerated Five.  Their story has been documented in the award-winning film The Central Park Five and in the highly acclaimed series When They See Us.  Dr. Salaam is now a poet, prison reform activist, and inspirational speaker.  He received a Presidential Lifetime Achievement Award in 2016 among other honors.

Both authors will be visiting Fairfield virtually on Tuesday, March 2nd, 2021 at 7:00 pm.  There will also be book discussions and other related programs, including the annual One Book One Town writing contest. Copies of the book are available in print or digitally to borrow from the libraries or for purchase from the Fairfield University Book Store. 

Registration for the Authors visit will begin February 1, 2021. Details on One Book One Town events and the Writing Contest will soon be updated at   

The One Book One Town book is chosen each year by a committee comprised of members of the Fairfield Public Library, the Pequot Library, Fairfield University, Fairfield University Bookstore, and the Fairfield Public Schools. This is the thirteenth year of Fairfield’s One Book One Town.  One Book One Town is made possible through the sponsorship of the Friends of the Fairfield Public Library.