The One Read reading panel narrowed the list of more than 115 book suggestions for the 2016 program to two top contenders. Between now and April 29, cast your vote for either “Bettyville” by George Hodgman or “Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet” by Jamie Ford.
Hodgman, after working for years as an editor in New York City, returns to Paris, Missouri, and finds that his hometown and his aging mother Betty are both in extreme decline. The two share a fierce love, but a deep silence, as Betty has never been able to understand or accept his homosexuality. Hodgman reflects on his recovery from addiction, losing loved ones to the AIDS epidemic and his struggles to care for the still feisty but failing Betty. Funny, honest and tenderhearted, this memoir illuminates how a person is shaped by a family and community that are at once loving and damaging, flawed and beautiful.
When the renovation of a historic Seattle hotel unearths artifacts from Japanese families sent to internment camps during World War II, it also sparks memories in old Henry Lee. This historical fiction follows Henry as he remembers the racial tensions of the 1940s and his forbidden friendship with a Japanese schoolmate. Jamie Ford’s moving debut novel examines the gulf between immigrant parents and their American-born children, the innocence of first love and the dangers of blind patriotism.