Learn More About the 2022 One Read Finalists

The One Read reading panel narrowed the list of more than 210 book suggestions for the 2022 program to two top contenders. Between now and April 22, cast your vote for either “The Big Door Prize” by M.O. Walsh or “Deacon King Kong” by James McBride.

“The Big Door Prize” by M.O. Walsh

Big Door Prize book coverAn unassuming booth shows up at a Deerfield, Louisiana grocery store, promising to reveal your true life potential for a mere two dollars and a swab of DNA from your cheek. Suddenly, store owners, nurses and teachers are striving to be cowboys, magicians and athletes. The steady and quietly happy marriage of Douglas and Cherilyn Hubbard is disturbed by Cherilyn’s readout from the mysterious machine, which declares her true life calling to be “royalty.” Meanwhile, teenager Jacob tries to figure out who he is after the death of his twin brother, Toby. And Toby’s troubled ex-girlfriend, Trina, plots revenge. M.O. Walsh addresses serious topics with a light hand in this offbeat and charming novel about small-town life, relationships and the power of dreams.

Preview the first few pages of “The Big Door Prize”

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“Deacon King Kong” by James McBride

Deacon King Kong book coverThis exuberant work of historical fiction follows the fate of a largely Black and Latinx cast of characters living in and around a New York housing project in the fall of 1969 after a hard-drinking church deacon known as Sportcoat shuffles into the courtyard and – in front of everyone – shoots the ear off of the local drug dealer. This event brings all elements of the neighborhood into Sportcoat’s orbit, from the Five Ends Baptist Church members and a white policeman trying to protect the old man, to mob bosses and drug kingpins seeking revenge. Throw in a bit of romance, mystery and a hidden treasure, and you’ve got a romp of a novel that paints a vivid portrait of a community undergoing enormous change.

Preview the first few pages of “Deacon King Kong”

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Suggested One Read: Born a Crime

Born a Crime book coverThis is the last of our reviews of your suggested books for our community-wide reading program. You can review other One Read nominees here. In January, our One Read reading panel will begin narrowing down the list and sometime in Spring we will vote as a community for our final selection.

One of our two nominating readers says this: “This is a true story about a situation that many of us aren’t really familiar with but presented with some humor. And the audio book version is well-read by the author.” “Born a Crime” is Noah’s tribute to his mother as much as his own coming-of-age story. Every story illustrates her determination, her bravery and her work to raise her family at the end of apartheid in South Africa. Noah does not sugarcoat the dangers he and his family experienced. You will enjoy his signature humor and brilliant storytelling style.

Watch the One Read website for the announcement of 2022’s title as well of other events and opportunities.

Suggested One Read: Hamnet

This is one of the last suggested titles we are highlighting for One Read 2022. In January the reading panel will start narrowing down the list!

Today’s title is “Hamnet” by Maggie O’Farrell. This book has won so many literary awards including the National Book Critic’s Circle Award and the Woman’s Prize for Fiction (which is featured as a task for the Read Harder 2022 reading challenge.) This is really the story Agnes who happens to be married to a not yet famous playwright and who, until now, was merely a footnote in history. One nominator says that it’s “a gem of a book, beautifully written.Topics include marriage, loss of a child, living through an epidemic — and how a writer (Shakespeare) uses that pain to honor his child by writing a play the loss has inspired.” Another nominator says that it has “incredible characters, beautiful descriptions.” We couldn’t agree more on both accounts! 

Be sure to check back for our final suggested One Read.