Suggested One Read: Notes From No Man’s Land

Book cover for Notes From a No Man's Land by Eula BissThe outsider’s perspective often calls into question practices and environments we think of as unexceptional, normal, a given. Award-winning author and journalist Eula Biss, who grew up in a racially mixed family, uses her personal experience to explore what it means to be American, our complex attitudes about race, community, self and belonging. Her collection of essays, “Notes From No Man’s Land,” is the final One Read 2012 suggestion we’ll be highlighting here at

Our nominator writes, “These essays are exquisite, complex, crystalline and would prompt a variety of community conversations and invite a whole raft of possible facilitators.”

Many thanks to the more than 100 of you who nominated titles for our reading panel’s consideration. Our community’s involvement and support are what make this program great!

See all of the nominated titles we have highlighted for One Read 2012.

Suggested One Read: The Invisible Wall

Book cover for The Invisible Wall by Harry BernsteinHarry Bernstein’s “The Invisible Wall” proves that it is never too late to write your first book. In his 90s, Bernstein has written a fascinating memoir about his childhood in an impoverished mill town in England before and during World War I. Our nominator elaborates: “His family was poor, his father was abusive and the particular street that he grew up on happened to be the dividing line between the Jewish and Christian neighborhoods, so there is an interesting dynamic between the two sides. This compelling true story also involves a love story between a Jewish girl and Christian boy. My mom and I and everyone we have recommended it to love it.”

See other readers’ nominations for One Read 2012.


Suggested One Read: Just Like Us

Book cover for Just Like Us by Helen ThorpeThe publisher of “Just Like Us: The True Story of Four Mexican Girls Coming of Age in America” by Helen Thorpe describes this book as offering “a powerful account of four young Mexican women coming of age in Denver–two of whom have legal documentation, two of whom don’t–and the challenges they face as they attempt to pursue the American dream.”

Our nominator recommends “Just Like Us” for One Read 2012 because “immigration – especially illegal immigration – is an important, timely issue in our country. This is the true story (with the names of the families changed) of four girls about to graduate from high school and how their legal status affected their lives.” Coming-of-age, social conditions for Mexican-Americans and the living conditions of undocumented workers are all topics ripe for discussion.

 See other readers’ nominations for One Read 2012.


Suggested One Read: Afterwards

Book cover for Afterwards by Rachel SeiffertStories of love, loss, secrets and war always provide a wealth of topics for discussion. The nominator of “Afterwards” by Rachel Seiffert seems to agree with this sentiment, writing that this novel has “an amazing amount of discussion material, including two wars, relationships, post traumatic stress syndrome, etc. Highly recommended.”

Seiffert’s work of psychological fiction follows the relationship of Alice and Joseph, who fall in love but hesitate to grow too close to each other as each hides a dark secret. Joseph was involved in violence in Northern Ireland. Alice never met her father and is caring for her grandfather after her grandmother’s death, but her grandfather is hiding some secrets from his own past as a soldier in Kenya. Seiffert handles her characters with compassion and delicacy as she explores the scars left by military service.

See other readers’ nominations for One Read 2012.


Suggested One Read: Your Medical Mind

Book cover for Your Medical Mind by Drs. Groopman and HartzbandMid-Missouri is home to a number of health care facilities and many researchers and professionals, so our next suggested One Read title should appeal to many readers in our community. The nominator of “Your Medical Mind: How to Decide What Is Right for You” by Drs. Jerome Groopman and Pamela Hartzband writes, “The authors can teach us how to become better consumers of medical care, how to advocate for and support our loved ones who are facing medical catastrophes and how to effectively communicate with care providers about our own personal preferences. This book could save lives.”

Throughout the month of December we will continue to highlight some of this year’s One Read nominations at See other readers’ nominations for One Read 2012.