Literature is quickly being embraced as a therapeutic way of supporting good mental health, and its more than just self-help books.
Hopefully this initiative will unite strangers, reduce the loneliness we can all feel, and connect us to a story of hope.Writer Kate Liston-Mills
Writer Kate Liston-Mills said the creation of a regional book club is aimed at combating an ever fragmenting and individualistic society.
"We have lost our sense of community. Books are powerful. Reading connects. Reading uplifts. And if we all read the same book then perhaps we can all have an easy way to connect to each other, through a shared story," she said.
Dubbed One Book One Community, the group is open to anybody, and is based on similar programs overseas. The club aims to help "build community around shared values and hopes", and facilitate new social interactions.
Launching on October 18 as part of Mental Health Month, the group have chosen There Was Still Love, the newly-released third novel by Miles Franklin Award shortlisted author Favel Parrett.
The project will then finish in February next year when Ms Parrett will visit the region to meet with book club members to discuss her work.
Ms Liston-Mills said it was a recent talk by World Vision Australia's Tim Costello that inspired the group to embrace a project about inclusion and mental health.
"I see people angry and growing angrier online," she said.
"I see topics continually polarise our community and divide us even further. Wouldn't it be great to remember we are one Shire, one community, and that even though we might disagree on some things our commonalities are more than our differences.
"And this book offers such a heart warming narrative about a family being torn apart from war but maintaining their identities, relationships and their love despite the obstacles.
"Hopefully this initiative will unite strangers, reduce the loneliness we can all feel, and connect us to a story of hope.
"The Bega Valley is physically very spread out but hopefully through this shared reading experience we won't feel so far apart."