Nevada Reads, Nevada’s first statewide community group read, is proud to announce that “Friendly Fallout 1953” by Ann Ronald is the 2011 selection. From August through November, groups and organizations throughout the state will meet to enjoy lively discussions of this thought-provoking book. There will also be exciting programs, events and a traveling exhibit.

Nevada Reads evolved from an earlier group, Northern Nevada Reads. The project is designed to engage communities around the state in reading and discussing a single book. This year’s theme is “Nevada Reads: Nevada’s Explosive Atomic Past.”

“Friendly Fallout 1953” is a hybrid work of literature that combines the actual history of atomic tests in the Nevada desert in 1953 with fictional vignettes that explore the impact of the tests on the people who participated in them and on civilian “downwinders.” Told through the perspectives of military personnel, scientists, ranchers, and others, the stories bring to life a turbulent era when Cold War fears, patriotism, scientific ambition, and popular excitement often collided with the welfare of ordinary citizens and the environment.

Its author, Ann Ronald, is Foundation Professor of English Emerita at the University of Nevada, Reno. She is the author of numerous books and essays including Reader of the Purple Sage: Essays on Western Writers and Environmental Literature (University of Nevada Press.) She was inducted into the Nevada Writers Hall of Fame in 2006.

“We are really excited that the project has expanded and is now statewide,” said Nancy Cummings, Nevada Reads chairperson. “We want to establish a network of book discussion groups around the state, and we encourage their members to contact me so we can coordinate their involvement. Also, any individual who would like to start their own book group in the workplace, church or neighborhood should contact me; we have resources & materials available to assist them.”

There are many ways to get involved in Nevada Reads: • Start a new book group to read and discuss the book • Host a book discussion at your home or workplace • Join an existing book group at one of the participating organizations • Attend panel discussions, meet the author, see the Atomic Testing Museum traveling exhibit.

Organizations currently participating in Nevada Reads include Churchill County Library; Friends of Washoe County Library; Henderson District Public Libraries; KNPB Channel 5 Public Broadcasting; Mineral County Library; Nevada Center for the Book; Nevada Humanities; Northern Nevada Literacy Council; NV Energy; Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at the University of Nevada, Reno; Pershing County Library; Sierra Nevada College; University of Nevada Press; Washoe County Library System; and WCLS and OLLI Lifescapes: Senior Writing Program.

For more information or to get involved, contact Nancy Cummings at or visit