Everybody Reads, Multnomah County Library's fourth annual community reading project, begins this month and continues throughout the month of February. This year's book is The Kite Runner, Khaled Hosseini's best-selling and highly acclaimed tale of the friendship of two boys set against the tumultuous backdrop of modern Afghanistan. Each year, private donations and corporate sponsorships make thousands of copies of the book available for borrowing at Multnomah County libraries and pay for the presentation of a wide array of educational and cultural programs throughout the community. This year, approximately 5,000 books will be available at libraries beginning Jan. 2 and more than 70 programs will take place in February. Books are also available for purchase from participating book stores. "Everybody Reads is a unique opportunity for people from all walks of life to come together and connect," said Director of Libraries Molly Raphael. "From high school students to senior citizens, we are able to learn from and about each other and our world." Everybody Reads is one example of the "one community, one book" projects that the Library of Congress' Center for the Book estimates take place in hundreds of states, cities and towns throughout the country. There are a number of ways to participate: • Pick up an Everybody Reads project guide. Beginning in January, brochures will be available at all Multnomah County libraries, participating bookstores and on the Portland State University campus. The project guide contains a list of all related programs plus background information and material to help jump-start discussions of the book. • Read the book. Copies of the book are available at all Multnomah County libraries, or purchase one at a participating bookstore or Fred Meyer. • Join a discussion group. Dozens of discussion groups will take place at Multnomah County libraries and a number of Starbucks shops and bookstores. You can also start your own book group and, if you need one, request a discussion leader from the library free of charge to help you get started. • Attend an Everybody Reads event. Programming begins in February and includes lectures, performances and family activities. Lectures and talks include a panel discussion on the politics, history and culture of Afghanistan, a literary overview of The Kite Runner, a slideshow on Afghanistan today and an analysis of past and present U.S. policy towards Afghanistan. Performances include Middle Eastern music by Americanistan and The American Place Theatre's Literature to Life exclusive presentation of The Kite Runner. In addition, there will be kite-making workshops and Afghan food tastings. The Everybody Reads project guide will have a complete listing of programs, dates and times. This information is also available now on the Everybody Reads Web site, www.multcolib.org/reads.