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One Book – One Lincoln – 2016

one book one lincoln c450

Being Mortal
by Atul Gawande

is the selection for the 2016 “One Book — One Lincoln” program.

The fifteenth annual One Book – One Lincoln community reading program began on May 30, 2016, with the announcement of Atul Gawande’s engaging and thought-provoking non-fiction book, Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End, as the selected title for 2016. The scheduled events of One Book — One Lincoln — 2016 will take place throughout this summer.

BeingMortal-aThe Quality of Life
Medical and moral choices about the final years, months and days of life

About This Year’s Selection

BeingMortal-a“In Being Mortal , bestselling author Atul Gawande tackles the hardest challenge of his profession: how medicine can not only improve life but also the process of its ending.

Medicine has triumphed in modern times, transforming birth, injury, and infectious disease from harrowing to manageable. But in the inevitable condition of aging and death, the goals of medicine seem too frequently to run counter to the interest of the human spirit. Nursing homes, preoccupied with safety, pin patients into railed beds and wheelchairs. Hospitals isolate the dying, checking for vital signs long after the goals of cure have become moot. Doctors, committed to extending life, continue to carry out devastating procedures that in the end extend suffering.

Gawande, a practicing surgeon, addresses his profession’s ultimate limitation, arguing that quality of life is the desired goal for patients and families. Gawande offers examples of freer, more socially fulfilling models for assisting the infirm and dependent elderly, and he explores the varieties of hospice care to demonstrate that a person’s last weeks or months may be rich and dignified.

Full of eye-opening research and riveting storytelling, Being Mortal asserts that medicine can comfort and enhance our experience even to the end, providing not only a good life but also a good end..”

Amazon “Book of the Month” (October 2014)

And the other two 2016 finalists are…

The two “runners up” in the top three for One Book – One Lincoln – 2016 are:

Bettyville-a Fisherman-a

Bettyville: A Memoir by George Hodgman [Biography Hodgman]

The Fishermen by Chigozie Obioma [Obioma]

Click Here to visit the the official One Book – One Lincoln Finalists page for more detailed information about the Top Three titles — the rest of the Top Eleven titles for 2016 were announced in July!

About One Book – One Lincoln – 2016

One Book One Lincoln on 5 City TV’s City Focus program:


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 reading and discussion experience.

The idea of city-wide reading programs started in Seattle in 1998 with the program “If All Seattle Read the Same Book” initiated by the Washington Center for the Book, located at the Seattle Public Library. The Library of Congress’ Center for the Book reports that “One Book” programs have been introduced across the U.S.A. and around the world.

This is Lincoln’s 15th straight year of the program. Since 2002, the citizens of Lincoln and the surrounding communities have been encouraged to read the same book each fall, and participate in special programming and book discussions. Each year, readers in Lincoln have been invited to nominate titles for consideration for that year’s selected title. You can see an archive of the previous fourteen years’ worth of One Book – One Lincoln selections at our One Book main page (although some of the individual pages for previous years are still being converted for use on the Lincoln City Libraries’ current web site design!).

Lincoln City Libraries reference staff have compiled a list of additional resources about Being Mortal and Atul Gawande.

How can I participate?

  • Get the Book. Check out a copy, in print, audio or downloadable formats, of Being Mortal at any of the Lincoln City Libraries or purchase your own copy at your local bookstore. The title is available at Lincoln City Libraries in a wide variety of physical (hardback, book-on-cd, Large Type) and electronic (eBook and downloadable audio) formats. An episode of the PBS series Frontline was also produced based on this book, and is available on DVD. This book is also available as a Book Club in a Bag version, for book clubs wishing to check out multiple copies at once!
  • Read! Join your family, friends, co-workers, neighbors and fellow Lincolnites in reading the same book – together!
  • Watch an informational program about this year’s One Book — One Lincoln which will begin airing on CityTV (Channel 5 local cable) later this spring on both Channel 5 and the On Demand channels.
  • Attend our related programs.
  • Look at our Resource Page about Being Mortal, for links to further information on the themes and topics of the book.
  • Visit our One Book – One Lincoln Facebook page (also below). Look for more online opportunities.
  • Sign up to recieve e-mail updates about One Book-related programs and events on our Sign-Ups page.
  • Discuss the Book in Person or Online! Attend a Community Discussion of Being Mortal at your local library or bookstore. A complete list of Community Discussion opportunities is available right now. Print off the official Discussion Questions for your own book group, or contact the library to have a trained facilitator come and lead your own discussion group. Or visit our One Book One – Lincoln Blog to reply to discussion topics posted there, to which you can leave reply comments.
  • Nominate for future years — Don’t forget…you can now nominate year-round for the next year’s One Book – One Lincoln with our online nomination form.

We can provide a discussion leader for your group

So you want to have a One Book – One Lincoln discussion group for Being Mortal, or another of this year’s finalists, but you don’t have a discussion leader? During June, July and August and beyond, Lincoln City Libraries staff will be available to organizations, businesses and clubs interested in hosting a discussion group. Visit our Finalists page, to request a book discussion leader via our online form, or for further information, call Lincoln City Libraries at 402-441-8503.

What programs will there be?

Several special programs are being scheduled at various locations during June, July or August, with ties to the themes and events of Being Mortal. You can see descriptions at this year’s One Book – One Lincoln Programs and Events page!

How was Being Mortal chosen?

A call for nominations from the community in 2015 through end of January 2016 resulted in 210 nominations for 151 different titles being received. The general criteria for the title included:

  • Fiction or Non-Fiction
  • Of general interest to adults and young adults
  • Sparks thoughtful discussion
  • Easily available in multiple formats
  • Addresses universal themes of life
  • Readable

A selection committee with community-wide representation was formed, which narrowed the list down to an eleven title shortlist, and ultimately to both the Top Three Finalists and ultimate winner, which were announced to the public on Memorial Day 2016. The “Top Eleven” list will be announced later this summer.

Members of the selection committee included:

  • David Smith, Chair
  • Katie Murtha, Library Representative
  • Donna Kennedy Marvin, Library Board
  • Kathy McKillip, Library Board
  • Patty Beutler
  • Greg Buckley
  • DeAnna Coughlin
  • Brett Elizabeth Ebert
  • Delmer Esters
  • Karla Fusco
  • Mary Graham
  • Erin Hussey
  • Jade Kai
  • Sarah Knight
  • Tice Miller
  • James Rea
  • Judith Ruffo
  • Brian Sunderman
  • Greg Walklin
  • Julie Wolf

One Book – One Lincoln – 2016: Main Page | Finalists | Programs | Discussions | Additional Resources


Interested in past years’ One Book – One Lincoln selections?

Visit our main One Book – One Lincoln archive site [data from past years is still being converted for archiving on our new web site!]

Master list of all One Book — One Lincoln finalists and selected titles [2002-2016] 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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