Deschutes Public Library director Todd Dunkelberg announced “Rocket Men: The Daring Odyssey of Apollo 8 and the Astronauts Who Made Man’s First Journey to the Moon,” by Robert Kurson, as the 2019 A Novel Idea … Read Together program selection during an event Saturday evening at the Downtown Bend Library. This is the third nonfiction book selected in the 16-year history of the program.

Published in April, “Rocket Men” tells the riveting inside story of Apollo 8 astronauts Frank Borman, Jim Lovell and Bill Anders and the first manned mission to the moon in 1968.

Kurson distills hundreds of hours of interviews with the astronauts, their friends and family and NASA staff into a compelling and suspenseful narrative.

Readers are immersed in the frantic preparation and dramatic journey to the moon and back, set against the turbulent social and political upheaval in America during the late 1960s.

Based in Chicago, Kurson began his career as an attorney before becoming a features writer at the Chicago Sun-Times.

His stories have appeared in Esquire, Rolling Stone, The New York Times Magazine and more.

He has written three other nonfiction books, including the 2004 best-seller “Shadow Divers.”

A Novel Idea is the largest annual community reading program in Oregon with more than 5,400 participants in 2018, according to Chantal Strobel, Deschutes Public Library communications and development manager.

Residents throughout Deschutes County read and discuss one book and can also participate in a series of more than two dozen related events, starting with the official kickoff scheduled for April 6 at the Downtown Bend Library and culminating in a presentation by Kurson on April 28 in Bend.

Free book club kits will also be made available to groups throughout Deschutes County.

The complete schedule of events and activities for A Novel Idea will be posted to the Deschutes Public Library Foundation website as dates and details are finalized.

Author Kurson’s presentation is free, but tickets are required and will be available on the Deschutes Public Library Foundation website and in all library branches starting April 6.

Contact: or 541-312-1027.

— Reporter: 541-383-0350;