The City of Santa Monica and the Santa Monica Public Library have selected The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger as the featured book for the 2007 Santa Monica Citywide Reads program.

Santa Monica Citywide Reads is a community reading program that invites everyone to read and discuss the same novel in book clubs and other events held around the city.

Next year marks the fifth anniversary of Santa Monica Citywide Reads, and the new book selection offers a thematic change from books featured previously.

The Time Traveler’s Wife is described as a romantic adventure story about a beautiful artist named Clare Abshire and a dashing librarian named Henry De Tamble.

Destined to be together as a couple, Clare and Henry must fight against one seemingly insurmountable obstacle.

Henry suffers from chrono-displacement disorder, a condition that causes him to unexpectedly jump backward and forward in time, while Clare, the love of his life, ages in the normal chronological fashion.

Clare is completely unaware of where and when she and her beau will be able to resume their lives together again.

“Audrey Niffenegger makes this premise work with delightful wryness and delicate poignancy,” said Susan Sterr-Ryan, chair of the English Department at Santa Monica College and a member of the Citywide Reads Advisory Committee. “As we come to love her richly drawn characters, we appreciate our own challenges to live in the moment.”

The Time Traveler’s Wife was published in hardback by MacAdam/Cage Publishing and in trade paperback by Harcourt Trade Publishing.

The novel was Niffenegger’s first, and upon publication, became a New York Times bestseller and won several awards, including a British Book Award for Popular Fiction and the Young Adult Library Services

Association Alex Award for books with appeal to teens.

Niffenegger has subsequently published two illustrated “visual novels,” The Three Incestuous Sisters and The Adventuress, and is currently at work on a new novel about a mysterious pair of mirror-image twins. She is a professor in the Master of Fine Arts program at the Columbia College Chicago Center for Books and Paper Arts.

Santa Monica Citywide Reads events will be held from mid-April to mid-May and will feature free public book discussion groups led by volunteer facilitators and held in libraries, bookstores, coffee houses and other places.

Related events such as presentations on the mainstreaming of genre fiction, artists’ books and a possible visit to Santa Monica by Niffenegger are being planned.

Information, Citywide Reads, www.smpl .org/cwr, or Santa Monica Public Library, (310) 458-8600.