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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