The Worst Hard Time by Timothy Egan has been selected for the 2007 “One Book – One Lincoln” program.
About One Book – One Lincoln – 2007
One Book – One Lincoln is a community reading program co-sponsored by Lincoln City Libraries and the Lincoln Journal Star. 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.
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 are being introduced across the U.S.A. and around the world.
This is Lincoln’s sixth year of the program. In the fall of 2002, thousands of Lincolnites read and discussed Plainsong by Kent Haruf. For 2003, Ann Patchett’s award-winning novel Bel Canto was selected for our second city-wide reading experience. In 2004, Leif Enger’s dazzling debut novel Peace Like a River was the choice and during the fall of 2005, Lincolnites went on a journey of friendship, discovery and redemption, exploring the culture and history of Afghanistan and its people, as we read and discussed Khaled Hosseini’s novel The Kite Runner. In 2006, for the first time, a non-fiction title was selected — Erik Larson’s The Devil in the White City explored the heights of man’s accomplishment at the 1893 Chicago Worlds Exposition, and the depth’s of his depravity with a serial killer’s preying on the Fair’s attendees. This year, Timothy Egan’s critically-acclaimed The Worst Hard Time provides a look back at the natural and man-made conditions that led to the period of the Great American Dust Bowl — and explores the lives of the hardy individuals who survived it.
Lincoln City Libraries Reference staff have compiled additional resources about The Worst Hard Time and Timothy Egan.
How can I participate?
- Get the Book. Check out a copy of The Worst Hard Time 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 hardback and paperback and abridged book-on-CD formats. Free reserves are available on this title for the duration of One Book – One Lincoln – 2007!
- Read! Join your family, friends, co-workers, neighbors and fellow Lincolnites in reading the same book – together!
- Attend our related programs.
- Look at our additional resources about The Worst Hard Time.
- Discuss the Book in Person or Online! Attend a Community Discussion at your local library, bookstore, community and recreation center. A complete list of Community Discussion groups is available here. Contact the library to have a trained facilitator come and lead your own discussion group. Or visit the One Book — One Lincoln Blog, 24/7/365, to leave comments to questions and discussion topics posted in the blog by library staff. A One Book — One Lincoln discussion forum has also been set up on the LibraryThing web site — feel free to join up there and post comments.
- Help us evaluate our program by filling out our feedback form. [disabled]
Setting up a discussion group
Are you interested in starting a discussion group or leading a discussion about The Worst Hard Time? Lincoln City Libraries have materials available to those interested in sponsoring a discussion group. For further information about organizing a discussion group, copies of the discussion questions, posters, and bookmarks, call Lincoln City Libraries discussion coordinators at 441-8562 or 441-8564.
We can provide a discussion leader for your group
So you want to have a One Book – One Lincoln discussion group, but you don’t have a discussion leader? During September, October and November, Lincoln City Libraries staff will be available to organizations, businesses and clubs interested in hosting a discussion group. For further information, call Lincoln City Libraries, 441-8562
What programs will there be? Will the author visit?
Several special programs are scheduled at various branches of the city libraries during September, October or November, with ties to the themes and events of The Worst Hard Time. The programs include: showings of the documentary The Plow That Broke the Plains; Dust Bowl Descent with Bill Ganzel; presentations from Nebraska State Climatologist Al Dutcher, Christy Carlson and Meghan Sittler of the UNL High Plains Regional Climate Center and the National Drought Mitigation Center; a tour of the Lester F. Larsen Tractor Museum at UNL; a special showing of The Grapes of Wrath at the State Theatre; and a touring photographic display.
You can see descriptions at our Special Events and Displays page. At present, Timothy Egan is not scheduled to physically appear in Lincoln during the One Book — One Lincoln events, however we will be featuring a live teleconference with the author in November — details are still being finalized.
This Web site will be updated to reflect any new information regarding special programs and events as it becomes available.
How was The Worst Hard Time chosen?
A call for nominations from the community in January resulted in 137 different titles being nominated. 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 paperback
- Addresses universal themes of life
A selection committee with community-wide representation was formed to narrow the list down to five finalists, and ultimately to select the book for this year’s community reading program. Members of that committee included:
- Tami Works, Chair
- Ed Bates
- Patty Beutler
- Diane Chapman
- Donna Ewoldt
- Mary Kingery
- Jeff Kirkpatrick
- Donna Marvin
- Greg Mickells
- Kelly Helm Smith
- Laura Weymouth
- Kerstin Vandervoort
The title they selected is The Worst Hard Time by Timothy Egan.
The dust storms that terrorized America’s High Plains in the darkest years of the Depression were like nothing ever seen before or since, and the stories of the people that held on have never been fully told. Pulitzer Prize–winning New York Times journalist and author Timothy Egan follows a half-dozen families and their communities through the rise and fall of the region, going from sod homes to new framed houses to huddling in basements with the windows sealed by damp sheets in a futile effort to keep the dust out. He follows their desperate attempts to carry on through blinding black blizzards, crop failure, and the deaths of loved ones. Drawing on the voices of those who stayed and survived — those who, now in their eighties and nineties, will soon carry their memories to the grave—Egan tells a story of endurance and heroism against the backdrop of the Great Depression.
As only great history can, Egan’s book captures the very voice of the times: its grit, pathos, and abiding courage. Combining the human drama of Isaac’s Storm with the sweep of The American People in the Great Depression, The Worst Hard Time is a lasting and important work of American history. The Worst Hard Time won the National Book Award for Non-Fiction in 2006. Timothy Egan is a national enterprise reporter for the New York Times. He is the author of four books and the recipient of several awards, including the Pulitzer Prize. He lives in Seattle, Washington.
What other books were considered for 2007?
The other four finalists for One Book – One Lincoln – 2007 were:
You can also Click Here for more detailed information about all five finalists!
The Lincoln Journal Star and the Lincoln City Libraries thank the following additional supporter of One Book – One Lincoln: