Suggested One Read: Girl in Translation

Book cover for Girl in TranslationEach year a number of books that explore social issues are nominated for One Read. Jean Kwok’s “Girl in Translation” is one such novel.  Main character Kimberly Chang emigrates with her mother from Hong Kong to Brooklyn and begins a secret double life as an exceptional schoolgirl during the day and sweatshop worker at night, an existence also marked by her first crush and the pressure to save her family from poverty.

Our nominator writes, “[This book] clearly demonstrates the misunderstandings possible (often inevitable) between cultures and classes. Wonderful!”

See some of the other titles that have been nominated for One Read 2016.

Suggested One Read: Our Kids

In January, our One Read reading panel will begin narrowing down the list of more than 100 books nominated for our community-wide reading program. In the meantime, we are highlighting just some of these suggested titles so you can see what other local readers are enjoying.

This year’s list of nominations contains a significantly greater number of nonfiction titles than in past years. Perhaps it is the political climate, with a presidential election looming. And the issues of racism, social justice and gun violence have dominated local news and discussion in the community. Economic disparity and education is another topic front-of-mind for mid-Missourians, and we received more than one nomination for “Our Kids: The American Dream in Crisis” by Robert Putnam.

One nominator writes, “Growing socioeconomic inequality is the biggest problem facing our schools, our city and our country today. Putnam’s new book is engaging and compelling and hopefully will call us to action.”

See some of the other titles that have been nominated for One Read 2016.

Suggested One Read: Dead Wake

Book cover for Dead Wake by Erik LarsonAn area reader has nominated Erik Larson’s “Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania” for One Read 2016. Larson is the author of a number of successful works of narrative nonfiction, including “The Devil in the White City” and “In the Garden of Beasts.”

Our nominator writes, “Larson weaves several stories into one. There is the real-life adventure story of submarines hunting ships and ships avoiding being sunk. It is a human interest story, as we get to know several passengers and crew, many of whom lost their lives. It is a political story. Wilson tried to keep America out of WWI, and Churchill and others urged the U.S. to enter the conflict. It makes the reader think about the complexity of war and what – if any – rules so-called civilized societies should follow in modern warfare. And it a story of class distinctions between the super-wealthy, the working classes and those in-between. ”

Check out the other One Read nominations we’ve highlighted this month.

Suggested One Read: Cutting for Stone

Book cover for Cutting for StoneWe continue to highlight just some of the more than 100 books nominated for One Read 2016.

Cutting for Stone” by Abraham Verghese has been a favorite of book clubs since its publication in 2009. In the novel, twin brothers born from a secret love affair between an Indian nun and a British surgeon in Ethiopia come of age in a country on the brink of revolution, where their love for the same woman drives them apart.

Our nominator writes that book is “an epic story. . . with politics, mystery, love, family, ethics and medicine – this Ethiopian-born doctor tells a story that is close to his heart, opening the reader’s eyes to third-world lives and medical practices and the heroes who work miracles.”

See some of the other titles that have been nominated for One Read 2016.

Suggested One Read: Life on the Mississippi

Book cover for Life on the MississippiEvery year we get a handful of nominations of books widely considered classics: “1984” by George Orwell, “The Grapes of Wrath” by John Steinbeck or “Their Eyes Were Watching God” by Zora Neale Hurston, for example. This year is no different.

Mark Twain’s “Life on the Mississippi” combines history of the great river and the decline of the steamboat era with memoir-like tales of Twain’s life as a young man, before he became a writer. This book showcases Twain’s gift for descriptive prose, keen wit, talent for telling a tall tale and firm grasp of history, economics and politics. Our nominator says, “This sprawling collection of Twain’s memories from apprentice river boat pilot to his later river travels would be an appropriate One Read by perhaps our best known American author.”

Read about the other titles mid-Missouri readers nominated for One Read 2016.