One Book One Lincoln A joint venture of the Lincoln Journal Star and Lincoln City Libraries One Book - One Lincoln - 2007:
Down to Five...

The Finalists for 2007 Have Been Announced!

Thanks for your nominations!

Throughout the month of January 2007, we accepted your nominations for our sixth One Book - One Lincoln title, via drop boxes at all the libraries and on this Web site. All of your suggestions were forwarded to a special One Book - One Lincoln committee, comprised of representatives throughout the community, which evaluated all the nominated titles to choose the group of five finalists below. This group of finalists was announced in the Lincoln Journal Star and on this web site on Monday, June 18, 2007. The final selection will be announced later this Summer, with book discussion opportunities and numerous special programs scheduled for the Fall. In the meantime, the libraries have ordered additional copies of all of these titles, and we encourage you to read any or all of the five finalists and watch the Lincoln Journal Star and this web site for further developments on One Book - One Lincoln - 2007. As in past years, you can place a reserve on any of the five finalist titles (in print or recorded book formats) for free -- Just talk to any library staff member if you've got questions! If you'd like to discuss any of the five finalists, or the One Book -- One Lincoln process, visit the Book Lovers Discussions blog on the library's BookGuide readers' site.

You can join members of the Selection Committee for preview discussions of the 2007 finalists at the following:
July 24 - 9:00 a.m.
2649 N. 48th St.

July 27 - 7:30 p.m.
Lee Booksellers
5500 S. 56th St.

July 29 - 2:00 p.m.
Barnes and Noble
5150 "O" St.

July 31 - 7:00 p.m.
Crescent Moon
816 "P" St.

August 5 -1:00 p.m.
Barnes and Noble
2910 Pine Lake Rd.

Moloka'i cover image Moloka'i
by Alan Brennert

This richly imagined novel, set in Hawai'i more than a century ago, is an extraordinary epic of a little-known time and place -- and a deeply moving testament to the resiliency of the human spirit. Rachel Kalama, a spirited seven-year-old Hawaiian girl, dreams of visiting far-off lands like her father, a merchant seaman. Then one day a rose-colored mark appears on her skin, and those dreams are stolen from her. Taken from her home and family, Rachel is sent to Kalaupapa, the quarantined leprosy settlement on the island of Moloka'i. Here her life is supposed to end -- but instead she discovers it is only just beginning. With a vibrant cast of vividly realized characters, Moloka'i is the true-to-life chronicle of a people who embraced life in the face of death. Such is the warmth, humor, and compassion of this novel that few readers will remain unchanged by Rachel's story.

The Madonnas of Leningrad cover image The Madonnas of Leningrad
by Debra Dean

In the fall of 1941, the German army approached the outskirts of Leningrad, signaling the beginning of what would become a long and torturous siege. During the ensuing months, the city's inhabitants would brave starvation and the bitter cold, all while fending off the constant German onslaught. Marina, then a tour guide at the Hermitage Museum, along with other staff members, was instructed to take down the museum's priceless masterpieces for safekeeping, yet leave the frames hanging empty on the walls - a symbol of the artworks' eventual return. To hold on to sanity when the Luftwaffe's bombs began to fall, she burned to memory, brushstroke by brushstroke, these exquisite artworks: the nude figures of women, the angels, the serene Madonnas that had so shortly before gazed down upon her. She used them to furnish a "memory palace," a personal Hermitage in her mind to which she retreated to escape terror, hunger, and encroaching death. A refuge that would stay buried deep within her, until she needed it once more. Moving back and forth in time between the Soviet Union and contemporary America, The Madonnas of Leningrad is a portrait of war and remembrance, of the power of love, memory, and art to offer beauty, grace, and hope in the face of overwhelming despair.

Worst Hard Time cover image The Worst Hard Time: The Untold Story of Those Who Survived the Great American Dustbowl
by Timothy Egan

The dust storms that terrorized the High Plains in the darkest years of the Depression were like nothing ever seen before or since. Timothy Egan's critically acclaimed account rescues this iconic chapter of American history from the shadows in a tour de force of historical reportage. Following a dozen families and their communities through the rise and fall of the region, Egan tells of their desperate attempts to carry on through blinding black dust blizzards, crop failure, and the death of loved ones. Brilliantly capturing the terrifying drama of catastrophe, Egan does equal justice to the human characters who become his heroes, "the stoic, long-suffering men and women whose lives he opens up with urgency and respect" (New York Times). In an era that promises ever-greater natural disasters, The Worst Hard Time is "arguably the best nonfiction book yet" (Austin Statesman Journal) on the greatest environmental disaster ever to be visited upon our land and a powerful cautionary tale about the dangers of trifling with nature. [Also available in Unabridged Book-on-CD format.]

Water for Elephants cover image Water for Elephants
by Sara Gruen

Though he may not speak of them, the memories still dwell inside Jacob Jankowski's ninety-something-year-old mind. Memories of himself as a young man, tossed by fate onto a rickety train that was home to the Benzini Brothers Most Spectacular Show on Earth. Memories of a world filled with freaks and clowns, with wonder and pain and anger and passion; a world with its own narrow, irrational rules, its own way of life, and its own way of death. The world of the circus: to Jacob it was both salvation and a living hell. Jacob was there because his luck had run out - orphaned and penniless, he had no direction until he landed on this locomotive "ship of fools." It was the early part of the Great Depression, and everyone in this third-rate circus was lucky to have any job at all. Marlena, the star of the equestrian act, was there because she fell in love with the wrong man, a handsome circus boss with a wide mean streak. And Rosie the elephant was there because she was the great gray hope, the new act that was going to be the salvation of the circus; the only problem was, Rosie didn't have an act - in fact, she couldn't even follow instructions. The bond that grew among this unlikely trio was one of love and trust, and ultimately, it was their only hope for survival. [Also available in Downloadable Audio, Unabridged Book-on-CD, and Large Print formats.]

If Nobody Speaks... cover image If Nobody Speaks of Remarkable Things
by Jon McGregor

This is a prose poem of a novel with a mystery at its center, which keeps the reader in suspense until the final page. In a tour de force that could be described as Altmanesque, we are invited into the private lives of the residents of a quiet urban street in England over the course of a single day. In delicate, intricately observed closeup, we witness the hopes, fears, and unspoken despairs of a diverse community: the man with painfully scarred hands who tried in vain to save his wife from a burning house and who must now care for his young daughter alone; a group of young clubgoers just home from an all-night rave, sweetly high and mulling over vague dreams; the nervous young man at number 18 who collects weird urban junk and is haunted by the specter of unrequited love. The tranquility of the street is shattered at day's end when a terrible accident occurs. [Also available in Unabridged Book-on-CD format.]

Interested in past years' One Book - One Lincoln selections?

Devil in the White City cover image The Devil in the White City
by Erik Larson

Our first non-fiction title features the story of two men's obsessions with the Chicago World's Fair, one its architect, the other a serial murderer. The Devil in the White City draws the reader into a time of magic and majesty, made all the more appealing by a supporting cast of real-life characters, including Buffalo Bill, Theodore Dreiser, Susan B. Anthony, Thomas Edison, Archduke Francis Ferdinand, and others. Murder, magic and madness at the fair that changed America. [Visit our 2006 OBOL pages.]

The Kite Runner cover image In 2005, The Kite Runner was a novel about friendship, betrayal, and the price of loyalty. It is about the bonds between fathers and sons, and the power of fathers over sons - their love, their sacrifices, and their lies. Written against a backdrop of history that has not been told in fiction before. The Kite Runner describes the rich culture and beauty of a land in the process of being destroyed. But with the devastation, Khaled Hosseini also gives us hope: through the novel's faith in the power of reading and storytelling, and in the possibilities he shows for redemption. [Visit our 2005 OBOL pages.]

Peace Like a River cover imageIn 2004, Peace Like a River
by Leif Enger was our selected title. Participants became engrossed in a novel rich in setting, peopled by fascinating characters, and featuring miraculous events. When Reuben Land's older brother Davy kills two marauders who have come to harm the family, a town is divided between those who see him as a hero and those who see him as a cold-blooded murderer. [Visit our 2004 OBOL pages.]

Bel Canto cover image For 2003, Ann Patchett's award-winning Bel Canto was chosen as the 2003 One Book - One Lincoln selection. Readers in the Capital City became enmeshed in the lives of terrorists and hostages alike in a small South American country, and gained an increased respect for the power of music to create bonds between the most unlikely of individuals. Over the course of more than two months, participants attended nine special events tied in to the themes of Bel Canto, and gathered with over 40 more book discussion groups at libraries, bookstores, community centers and coffee shops around Lincoln. [Visit our 2003 OBOL pages.]

Plainsong cover image In 2002, Plainsong, by former Lincolnite Kent Haruf, was chosen as our city's first One Book - One Lincoln selection. The citizens of Lincoln became familiar with a group of resilient rural Coloradans who were able to forge new and unexpected family bonds after their original family relationships fell apart. Attendees enjoyed five special programs tied in to the themes of Plainsong, joined over 40 organized book discussion groups at libraries and other locations around Lincoln, and a packed house of over 500 gathered for the grand finale to hear Haruf speak. [Visit our 2002 OBOL pages.]

One Book - One Lincoln is a community reading program co-sponsored by Lincoln City Libraries and the Lincoln Journal Star. The program encourages all adults in Lincoln and Lancaster County to read and discuss the same book at the same time. The goal of the program is to encourage reading and dialogue by creating a community wide reading and discussion experience.

A list of what other communities are reading for similar programs can be found on the One Book Reading Promotion Projects page on the Library of Congress Center for the Book Web site.

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