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Emily Habeck’s Shark Heart chosen as Deschutes Public Library’s ‘A Novel Idea’ 2024 community read

Deschutes Public Library

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- Deschutes Public Library is proud to announce Emily Habeck’s debut novel Shark Heart as the 2024 A Novel Idea…Read Together selection. Literary enthusiasts gathered at the Downtown Bend Library Saturday night to hear the announcement live. Also joining the lineup of coveted books and notable authors of A Novel Idea is a youth title, No Matter the Distance, by Cindy Baldwin.

Since 2003, A Novel Idea has introduced readers to fresh and captivating narratives with new participants joining every year. The idea is simple: pick a great book, engage with community through thought-provoking and relevant programming and wrap up the project with free and accessible author visits.

“Traditional readers as well as those looking for something a little more unusual will enjoy Shark Heart because there’s basic humanity at the center of the story,” said Deschutes Public Library’s Programs Supervisor Liz Goodrich. “There’s some great metaphors for life, it’s genre-defying and allows readers to explore enduring themes like transformation, grief and ultimately, love.”

Shark Heart is an intergenerational love story that begins with newlyweds Wren and her husband, Lewis—a man who, over the course of nine months, transforms into a great white shark. Habek’s debut novel is an unforgettable story about life’s perennial questions, the fragility of memories, finding joy amidst grief and creating a meaningful life.

“I’m really looking forward to discussions and feedback from the readers,” said Goodrich. “It’s a fast and quirky read with potential to spark some wonderful conversations. We’re excited to explore Shark Heart with Deschutes County readers.”

A Novel Idea is the largest community read program in the state of Oregon. In 2023, more than 15,000 participants read, discussed and attended free cultural and author events throughout Deschutes County.

Programming for A Novel Idea begins on May 4, 2024. Throughout the month, readers can explore and expound upon ideas found in Shark Heart and No Matter the Distance. Save the dates for a final author event featuring Emily Habeck on Saturday, June 1, 2024 at Caldera High School and a visit from the youth edition author, Cindy Baldwin, on Saturday, May 18, at the Downtown Bend Library. All programs, including the authors’ presentations, are free of charge thanks to the support of the Deschutes Public Library Foundation.

Copies of Shark Heart (Simon and Schuster) and No Matter the Distance (HarperCollins) can be checked out from the library or purchased from local bookstores.

About the Book: Shark Heart
For Lewis and Wren, their first year of marriage is also their last. A few weeks after their wedding, Lewis receives a rare diagnosis. He will retain most of his consciousness, memories and intellect, but his physical body will gradually turn into a great white shark. As Lewis develops the features and impulses of one of the most predatory creatures in the ocean, his complicated artist’s heart struggles to make peace with his unfulfilled dreams.

About the Author: Emily Habeck
Emily Habeck has a BFA in Theater from Southern Methodist University’s Meadows School of the Arts as well as master’s degrees from Vanderbilt Divinity School and Vanderbilt’s Peabody College. Her debut novel Shark Heart was a Book of the Month selection, a New York Times book review editor’s choice, and the #1 Indie Next pick for August 2023. She is from Ardmore, Oklahoma, and currently lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

About the Book: No Matter the Distance
Penny Rooney has cystic fibrosis (CF), which means she has to do breathing treatments to help her lungs work. Some days, it seems like her CF is the only thing Penny knows about herself for sure. From her point of view, everyone around her can make sense of their place in the world. Then during spring break Penny spots something impossible in the creek behind her house: a dolphin, far from its home. As Penny’s CF worsens, she realizes that Rose needs to return to her pod to get better. Will Penny be able to help guide Rose back to the ocean, even if it means losing her friend?

About the Author: Cindy Baldwin

Cindy Baldwin is the author of the critically acclaimed novels Where the Watermelons Grow, Beginners Welcome, The Stars of Whistling Ridge and No Matter the Distance (a Junior Library Guild selection). She lives just outside Portland, Oregon, with her husband and daughter.

For more information about A Novel Idea, please contact Liz Goodrich at (541) 312-1032 or Check out the Novel Idea website at event listings as they are scheduled and for author information.

Article Topic Follows: Deschutes County

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