A timely tale has been chosen for this year's "One Book One Town" community reading program -- "Station Eleven," by Emily St. John Mandel.

The novel tells the story of a world decimated by a strain of flu that has left few people alive. But Town Librarian Karen Ronald said not to worry, "It's not all doom and gloom."

In fact, Nicole Scherer, teen librarian and co-chairwoman of the selection committee, said the book is a story that explores "what needs to survive," along with mankind.

"It was not easy to find a story to match the intensity of last year's selection," Scherer said, referring to "A House in the Sky," a woman's account of abduction and being held hostage in Somalia.

"Station Eleven" looks at life before, during and after a plague, she said.

Scherer said the novel is recommended for readers of high school age and older.

Included in the programs planned in conjunction with the One Book One Town selection is the signature event, a visit March 31 from the author, as well as an evening of Shakespeare performances. "Shakespeare comes into play quite a bit in the book," Scherer said.

There will be book discussions and a session on backyard foraging, where participants will learn how to recognize, harvest and prepare food from plants in their yards, much like the survivors in the book must learn to do.

A writing contest will once again be held, and there also will be a game for teens to see if they have what it takes to survive an apocalypse.

This is the eighth year the town has selected a book for the "One Book One Town" program, and this year, Ronald said, the selection defies classification as a particular genre. It could, she said, be considered a mystery, science fiction or dystopian.

The committee read close to 30 books over four months before selecting "Station Eleven."

Copies of the book are available for lending at the Fairfield Public Library, the Fairfield Woods Branch Library and the Pequot Library.

For more information about events planned for One Book One Town this year, visit www.fairfieldpubliclibrary.org.