One Book - One Lincoln
Here are the three finalists for 2013!

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Earlier this year, we accepted your nominations for our twelfth annual One Book - One Lincoln title, via drop boxes at all the libraries and here on this Web site. All of your suggestions were forwarded to a special One Book - One Lincoln committee, comprised of representatives throughout the community, which evaluated all the 151 nominated titles to choose the group of three finalists below -- this year, all three finalists are fiction. This group of finalists was announced at a live event, sponsored by the Foundation for Lincoln City Libraries, at The Mill in the Haymarket on May 27th, as well as on the library web site. This year, you can attend preview discussions of the three finalists and vote (through July 26th, both online and at the libraries) for which book you'd like to see as this year's selected One Book - One Lincoln title. In the meantime, the libraries have ordered additional copies of all of these titles, and we encourage you to read any or all of the three finalists and watch the Lincoln Journal Star, Facebook and this web site for further developments on One Book - One Lincoln - 2013.


And the three finalists for 2013 are...

The Sandcastle Girls cover image

The Sandcastle Girls
by Chris Bohjalian


When Elizabeth Endicott arrives in Aleppo, Syria, she has a diploma from Mount Holyoke, a crash course in nursing, and only the most basic grasp of the Armenian language. It’s 1915, and Elizabeth has volunteered to help deliver food and medical aid to refugees of the Armenian Genocide during the First World War. There she meets Armen, a young Armenian engineer who has already lost his wife and infant daughter. After leaving Aleppo and traveling into Egypt to join the British Army, he begins to write Elizabeth letters, realizing that he has fallen in love with the wealthy young American. Years later, their American granddaughter, Laura, embarks on a journey back through her family’s history, uncovering a story of love, loss – and a wrenching secret that has been buried for generations.

—  The author's official website for the book The Sandcastle Girls and author Chris Bohjalian  —


[ The Sandcastle Girls is available in the following formats: Book, Book Club in a Bag, Large Type Book, Book-on-CD and E-book. ]


The Round House cover image

The Round House
by Louise Erdrich


One of the most revered novelists of our time – a brilliant chronicler of Native-American life – Louise Erdrich returns to the territory of her bestselling, Pulitzer Prize finalist The Plague of Doves with The Round House, transporting readers to the Ojibwe reservation in North Dakota. It is an exquisitely told story of a boy on the cusp of manhood who seeks justice and understanding in the wake of a terrible crime that upends and forever transforms his family. Riveting and suspenseful, arguably the most accessible novel to date from the creator of Love Medicine, The Beet Queen, and The Bingo Palace, Erdrich’s The Round House is a page-turning masterpiece of literary fiction – at once a powerful coming-of-age story, a mystery, and a tender, moving novel of family, history, and culture. The Round House won the National Book Award for fiction.

—  Publisher's website for the novel The Round House and author Lisa Stuart  —


[ The Round House is available in the following formats: Book, Book Club in a Bag, Large Type Book, Book-on-CD and E-book. ]


The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry cover image

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry
by Rachel Joyce


Meet Harold Fry, recently retired. He lives in a small English village with his wife, Maureen, who seems irritated by almost everything he does. Little differentiates one day from the next. Then one morning a letter arrives, addressed to Harold in a shaky scrawl, from a woman he hasn’t heard from in twenty years. Queenie Hennessy is in hospice and is writing to say goodbye. But before Harold mails off a quick reply, a chance encounter convinces him that he absolutely must deliver his message to Queenie in person. In his yachting shoes and light coat, Harold Fry embarks on an urgent quest. Determined to walk six hundred miles to the hospice, Harold believes that as long as he walks, Queenie will live. A novel of charm, humor, and profound insight into the thoughts and feelings we all bury deep within our hearts, The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry introduces Rachel Joyce as a wise – and utterly irresistible – storyteller.

—  The official US publisher's website for the novel The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry and author Rachel Joyce  —


[ The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry is available in the following formats: Book, Book Club in a Bag, Book-on-CD, Downloadable Audiobook and E-Book. ]


Which title do you want as this year's selection? [ Voting has now ended! ]

Vote for this year's One Book title!
For the fourth time in the history of the One Book - One Lincoln community reading project, readers are again invited to help pick this year's selected title. Votes will be taken from May 27th through July 26th, 2013, via this online voting form and via paper forms at each library, and the winning title will be announced in September, along with a slate of special events/activities and opportunities for readers to gather and discuss the selected title.

Because you asked...

The master list of suggested titles presented to the selection committee was whittled down to 10 – surprisingly all fiction – before the final three (above) were selected. Because readers have been curious, here are the other seven titles that made the top ten (in alphabetical order by author):
Autobiography of Mrs. Tom Thumb cover image Hell or High Water
by Joy Castro [Castro]

Nola Céspedes, an ambitious young reporter at the Times-Picayune, finally catches a break: an assignment to write her first full-length feature. While investigating her story, she also becomes fixated on the search for a missing tourist in the French Quarter. As Nola’s work leads her into a violent criminal underworld, she’s forced to face disturbing truths from her own past and is confronted with the question: In the aftermath of devastation, who is responsible for rebuilding what's been broken? Vividly rendered in razor-sharp prose, this haunting thriller is a riveting journey of trust betrayed—and the courageous struggle to rebuild. Fast-paced, atmospheric, and with a knockout twist, Hell or High Water features an unforgettable heroine as fascinating and multilayered as New Orleans itself.

The Big Burn cover image The Language of Flowers
by Vanessa Diffenbaugh [Diffenbaugh]

The Victorian language of flowers was used to convey romantic expressions: honeysuckle for devotion, asters for patience, and red roses for love. But for Victoria Jones, it’s been more useful in communicating mistrust and solitude. After a childhood spent in the foster-care system, she is unable to get close to anybody, and her only connection to the world is through flowers and their meanings. Now eighteen and emancipated from the system with nowhere to go, Victoria realizes she has a gift for helping others through the flowers she chooses for them. But an unexpected encounter with a mysterious stranger has her questioning what’s been missing in her life. And when she’s forced to confront a painful secret from her past, she must decide whether it’s worth risking everything for a second chance at happiness.

Flight Behavior cover image Flight Behavior
by Barbara Kingsolver [Kingsolver]

The extraordinary New York Times bestselling author of The Lacuna (winner of the Orange Prize), The Poisonwood Bible (nominated for the Pulitzer Prize), and Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, Barbara Kingsolver returns with a truly stunning and unforgettable work. Flight Behavior is a brilliant and suspenseful novel set in present day Appalachia; a breathtaking parable of catastrophe and denial that explores how the complexities we inevitably encounter in life lead us to believe in our particular chosen truths. Kingsolver's riveting story concerns a young wife and mother on a failing farm in rural Tennessee who experiences something she cannot explain, and how her discovery energizes various competing factions—religious leaders, climate scientists, environmentalists, politicians—trapping her in the center of the conflict and ultimately opening up her world. Flight Behavior is arguably Kingsolver's must thrilling and accessible novel to date, and like so many other of her acclaimed works, represents contemporary American fiction at its finest.

Song of Achilles cover image The Song of Achilles
by Madeline Miller [Miller]

“Mary Renault lives again!” declares Emma Donoghue, author of Room, referring to The Song of Achilles, Madeline Miller’s thrilling, profoundly moving, and utterly unique retelling of the legend of Achilles and the Trojan War. A tale of gods, kings, immortal fame, and the human heart, The Song of Achilles is a dazzling literary feat that brilliantly reimagines Homer’s enduring masterwork, The Iliad. An action-packed adventure, an epic love story, a marvelously conceived and executed page-turner, Miller’s monumental debut novel has already earned resounding acclaim from some of contemporary fiction’s brightest lights—and fans of Mary Renault, Bernard Cornwell, Steven Pressfield, and Colleen McCullough’s Masters of Rome series will delight in this unforgettable journey back to ancient Greece in the Age of Heroes.

State of Wonder cover image State of Wonder
by Ann Patchett [Patchett]

Award-winning, New York Times bestsellingauthor Ann Patchett returns with a provocative andassured novel of morality and miracles, science and sacrifice set in the Amazonrainforest. Infusing the narrative with the same ingenuity and emotionalurgency that pervaded her acclaimed previous novels Bel Canto, Taft, Run, The Magician’s Assistant, and ThePatron Saint of Liars, Patchett delivers anenthrallingly innovative tale of aspiration, exploration, and attachment in State of Wonder—a gripping adventurestory and a profound look at the difficult choices we make in the name ofdiscovery and love.

The Art of Hearing Heartbeats cover image The Art of Hearing Heartbeats
by Jan-Philipp Sendker [Sendker]

A poignant and inspirational love story set in Burma, The Art of Hearing Heartbeats spans the decades between the 1950s and the present. When a successful New York lawyer suddenly disappears without a trace, neither his wife nor his daughter Julia has any idea where he might be…until they find a love letter he wrote many years ago, to a Burmese woman they have never heard of. Intent on solving the mystery and coming to terms with her father’s past, Julia decides to travel to the village where the woman lived. There she uncovers a tale of unimaginable hardship, resilience, and passion that will reaffirm the reader’s belief in the power of love to move mountains.

The Story of Beautiful Girl cover image The Story of Beautiful Girl
by Rachel Simon [Simon]

It is 1968. Lynnie, a young white woman with a developmental disability, and Homan, an African American deaf man, are locked away in an institution, the School for the Incurable and Feebleminded, and have been left to languish, forgotten. Deeply in love, they escape, and find refuge in the farmhouse of Martha, a retired schoolteacher and widow. But the couple is not alone-Lynnie has just given birth to a baby girl. When the authorities catch up to them that same night, Homan escapes into the darkness, and Lynnie is caught. But before she is forced back into the institution, she whispers two words to Martha: "Hide her." And so begins the 40-year epic journey of Lynnie, Homan, Martha, and baby Julia-lives divided by seemingly insurmountable obstacles, yet drawn together by a secret pact and extraordinary love.



Discussion Opportunities and Promotional Spots

Preview discussions are being held at various Lincoln locations during June, featuring members of the One Book - One Lincoln Selection Committee. Committee members and a Lincoln City Libraries staff member will be on hand to talk about their experience serving on the committee, and about the three finalists. Ballots will be available so that attendees can submit their vote for the 2013 One Book - One Lincoln selection. Dates and locations will be listed below:

The One Book finalists will be discussed by library staff on the following radio stations and dates:

  • [ radio listings will be posted when confirmed -- please check back! ]

Library staff will also be at the market booths at the following outdoor Lincoln events, answering questions about One Book - One Lincoln, the Summer Reading Programs and other library topics:

  • Jazz in June, Tuesday, June 4, 5:00 - 8:45 p.m.
  • Jazz in June, Tuesday, June 11, 5:00 - 8:45 p.m.
  • Jazz in June, Tuesday, June 18, 5:00 - 8:45 p.m.
  • Jazz in June, Tuesday, June 25, 5:00 - 8:45 p.m.


Book Club in a Bag!


Book Clubs and organizations now have the ability to check out several popular titles, including two sets of each of the three 2013 One Book finalists above, in a book club format. For each title, the Book Club in a Bag will contain 10 copies of that book as well as some starter discussion questions. Book Club in a Bag selections will be able to be checked out for 8 weeks but with no renewals. You can find out what additional titles are available in the Book Club in a Bag program by searching in the library catalog under Subject: Book Club in a Bag.



Interested in past years' One Book - One Lincoln selections?

Visit our main One Book - One Lincoln archive site
See a master list of all the nominees for One Book - One Lincoln from 2002 to 2013 [in .pdf format]

A list of what other communities are reading for similar programs can be found on the One Book Reading Promotion Projects page on the Library of Congress Center for the Book Web site.


One Book - One Lincoln is a community reading program sponsored by Lincoln City Libraries. The program encourages all adults in Lincoln and Lancaster County to read and discuss the same book at the same time. The goal of the program is to encourage reading and dialogue by creating a community wide reading and discussion experience.

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