Suggested One Read: 1984

Book cover for 1984 by George OrwellIn 2003, the community read Harper Lee’s classic novel “To Kill a Mockingbird,” inspiring important discussions about race relations and social justice. This year, an area reader suggests another classic work be considered for One Read: “1984” by George Orwell.

In this dystopian novel, protagonist Winston Smith begins to question the totalitarian government, which watches and controls the actions of its citizens. Our nominator writes, “With revelations that government is tracking conversations, are we living in the Big Brother society predicted to happen 30 years ago? Also, this is the 65th anniversary of book’s publication.” A timely suggestion, indeed.

See other One Read 2014 nominations we’ve highlighted.

Suggested One Read: Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk

Book cover for Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk by Ben FountainLike our last highlighted One Read recommendation, David Finkel’s “Thank You For Your Service,” “Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk” by Ben Fountain deals with soldiers returning from war. The books’ publisher describes this satirical novel as an exploration of “the gaping national disconnect between the war at home and the war abroad. The story follows the surviving members of the heroic Bravo Squad through one exhausting stop in their media-intensive ‘Victory Tour’ at Texas Stadium, football mecca of the Dallas Cowboys, their fans, promoters and cheerleaders.”

Our nominator calls this book, “comic, moving and very relevant right now.”

See what other titles area readers think our community would benefit from reading together and check out the nominated titles we’ve highlighted so far.


Suggested One Read: Thank You for Your Service

Book cover for Thank You For Your Service by David Finkel“I think the story of returning veterans and their readjustment would be excellent for the community,” writes the nominator of “Thank You for Your Service” by David Finkel. Finkel, a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter with the Washington Post, provides a moving and sobering portrait of soldiers returning from Iraq. Dealing with PTSD, suicide, crumbling family relationships, and a myriad of physical and mental struggles, these veterans’ stories reveal that the tragic cost of war is not simply paid in lives lost on the battlefield.

Want more reading recommendations? See other books area readers have nominated for our community-wide reading program.

Suggested One Read: Telex From Cuba

Book cover for Telex From Cuba by Rachel KushnerWorks of historical fiction make great book club picks. Along with any themes the plot might offer up for discussion, the time period and historical context provide ample topics for examination. Our next One Read nomination is such a novel: “Telex From Cuba” by Rachel Kushner.

Our nominator writes, “Kushner’s first book is incredibly well-researched and brings to life mid-century Cuba in rich illuminating detail. Her depiction of the revolution and all of the people caught in its cross-hairs would inspire meaty discussions about so many -isms: imperialism, capitalism, racism, idealism. Yet this fact-packed novel is so compellingly told through the points of view of her indelible characters that you forget you’re getting a vivid history lesson until after you close the book. Moving without being sentimental and full of gorgeous prose and hard questions, this book would be an excellent One Read choice.”

View all of the nominated titles we have highlighted here at so far, and find your next good read!

Suggested One Read: The Rent Collector

Book cover for The Rent Collector by Camron WrightWe collected nominations for next year’s One Read book throughout November, and this month we are highlighting some of the titles your friends and neighbors suggested. We received one of our most heartfelt nominations for Camron Wright’s “The Rent Collector,” a novel set in Cambodia’s biggest municipal dump.

“This is the best book I have read all year!” begins our nominator. “I have recommended this book to everyone I know. The setting: an enormous garbage dump in Cambodia. The people who actually live there and try to eke out a living from picking through the trash are real. The story itself is fictionalized. It is a gripping read that pulls you in to this unthinkable environment and makes you ponder many questions including hope, healing and redemption. As ‘the rent collector’ teaches Sang Ly to read, we are asked to give thought to what measures up enough to be called literature. I think that is an important topic to probe as well.”

Want to know what other books people in your community are discussing? View all of the nominated titles we have highlighted here at so far, and find your next good read!