he city that opens the same book closes it in greater harmony. Mary McGory

The Fox Cities Book Festival in partnership with public libraries of the Fox Cities, works to promote literacy through an annual community read. Each year, we select an author and title to promote for Fox Cities Reads and encourage the people in our communities to read, think, talk, listen, and grow together.

2023 Fox Cities Reads book selection is Bird Box by Josh Malerman!

2023 Fox Cities Reads: A Conversation with Josh Malerman and Sarah Read

It was a great year of discussion around the 2023 Fox Cities Book Festival community read, Bird Box by Josh Malerman.

We hope you were captivated by this Fox Cities Reads title and discussed the book with your friends, family, book clubs and in other community settings.

Now, watch the conversation our YouTube page HERE between Librarian Sarah Read and Josh Malerman. Josh shares more about his projects, reflects on writing, discusses the character of Malorie, and gets real about mental health.

Scary Story Writing Contest Finalists

Watch the discussion about the Scary Story Writing Contest on our YouTube page HERE!

This spring season we encouraged all community members to participate in a short scary story writing contest. Josh Malerman, our 2023 Fox Cities Reads featured author, discusses the winners with host and horror writer Sarah Read.
Congratulations to the winners! And be sure to watch the full interview with Josh Malerman on our YouTube channel.

On behalf of the Fox Cities Book Festival, thank you to everyone who helped make the 2023 community read possible and to all of you for reading this book.

We will be back to kick off the 2024 community read on October 26 with a live musical event at Poplar Hall in Appleton. Mark your calendars now!

About the Author

  • “Malerman is too fierce an original to allow anyone else’s visions to intrude on his. [He] defies categories and comparisons with other writers.” —Kirkus ReviewsJosh Malerman is the mastermind behind the 2018 hit Netflix thriller, Bird Box. He is an author of short stories and novels, and he is also the singer/songwriter of the Detroit rock band The High Strung. While on tour with his band, Josh wrote novels in the passenger seat between cities. Bird Box wasn’t the first novel he wrote, but it was the first one published; it was published in 2014 to much critical acclaim. Author Hugh Howey calls Bird Box, “A book that demands to be read,” and Kirkus Reviews writes, “Malerman…keeps us tinglingly on edge with his cool, merciless storytelling [and] douses his tale in poetic gloom….an unsettling thriller.” In 2018, Netflix released a film adaptation of Bird Box, starring Sandra Bullock, John Malkovich, and Trevante Rhodes. Josh published  a follow-up to Bird Box entitled Malorie, in 2020. His latest novel Daphne was released in September 2022.  His other novels include Unbury Carol, Goblin, On This, The Day of the Pig, Black Mad Wheel, A House at the Bottom of a Lake, and Inspection. Josh’s writing has been compared to that of Stephen King and Jonathan Carroll, but with a voice uniquely his own. His books have been nominated for the Stoker Award, the Shirley Jackson Award, and the James Herbert Award. Josh lives in Michigan with his fiancé, artist/musician, Allison Laakko. Aside from writing, he is currently working on a new album with his band. To  learn more about Josh Malerman and his next endeavors, visit his website: www.joshmalerman.com

About the Book

  • Something is out there . . .Something terrifying that must not be seen. One glimpse and a person is driven to deadly violence. No one knows what it is or where it came from. Five years after it began, a handful of scattered survivors remain, including Malorie and her two young children. Living in an abandoned house near the river, she has dreamed of fleeing to a place where they might be safe. Now, that the boy and girl are four, it is time to go. But the journey ahead will be terrifying: twenty miles downriver in a rowboat—blindfolded—with nothing to rely on but her wits and the children’s trained ears. One wrong choice and they will die. And something is following them. But is it man, animal, or monster? Engulfed in darkness, surrounded by sounds both familiar and frightening, Malorie embarks on a harrowing odyssey—a trip that takes her into an unseen world and back into the past, to the companions who once saved her. Under the guidance of the stalwart Tom, a motely group of strangers banded together against the unseen terror, creating order from the chaos. But when supplies ran low, they were forced to venture outside—and confront the ultimate question: in a world gone mad, who can really be trusted? Interweaving past and present, Josh Malerman’s breathtaking debut is a horrific and gripping snapshot of a world unraveled that will have you racing to the final page.
  • Bird Box is the debut published work by American novelist Josh Malerman.  Interweaving past and present, the book is a horrific and gripping snapshot of a world unraveled that will have you racing to the final page. The book is a remarkable post-apocalyptic story that follows a woman’s struggle to protect two children in a world where people are driven to violence by unseen monsters, touching on such themes as paranoia, raising children to deal with an uncertain future, and the dangers of exceptionalism. Bird Box won a Michigan Notable Book Award and was also nominated for the James Herbert Award as well as the Bram Stoker Award for Best First Novel. In 2018, Bird Box was made into a Netflix film starring Sandra Bullock and John Malkovich.

Bird Box is available for checkout at all Fox Cities libraries. An e-book and audiobook version is also accessible in Overdrive and Hoopla.

The purpose of the Fox Cities Reads is to select an author and title that encourages people in our community to read, think, talk, listen and grow  together. The FC Reads is organized by the Fox Cities Book Festival in partnership with Appleton Public Library, Kaukauna Public Library, Kimberly Public Library, Little Chute Public Library,  Menasha Public  Library and Neenah Public Library. Bird Box by Josh Malerman is the 17th selection for Fox Cities Reads.

Special thanks goes out to our sponsors, Community Foundation for the Fox Valley Region and Lakeside Book Company.

Now, let the reading begin!

We encourage you to read the book with your community and join us for an event with the author.

Please stay tuned for information on how you can further connect and engage with Reads programming. Details will go up on Fox Cities Book Festival-related social media and websites as they become available.

View a schedule of upcoming events on our Fox Cities Reads Event Page.

Visit the Fox Cities Reads event page for details about upcoming events!

Stay up to date with the FCBF! Sign up for our newsletter & follow FCBF on  Facebook!

Please direct questions about Fox Cities Reads to: info@foxcitiesbookfestival.org or to your local Fox Cities public library.

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