One Book - One Lincoln
Here are the five finalists for 2009!

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And the five finalists for 2009 are...

People of the Book cover image The People of the Book
by Geraldine Brooks

Inspired by a true story, The People of the Book is a novel of sweeping historical grandeur and intimate emotional intensity by an acclaimed and beloved author. Called “a tour de force”by the San Francisco Chronicle, this ambitious, electrifying work traces the harrowing journey of the famed Sarajevo Haggadah, a beautifully illuminated Hebrew manuscript created in fifteenth-century Spain. When it falls to Hanna Heath, an Australian rare-book expert, to conserve this priceless work, the series of tiny artifacts she discovers in its ancient binding — an insect wing fragment, wine stains, salt crystals, a white hair—only begin to unlock its deep mysteries and unexpectedly plunges Hanna into the intrigues of fine art forgers and ultra-nationalist fanatics.

What is the What cover image What is the What?
by Dave Eggers

What is the What? is the epic novel based on the life of Valentino Achak Deng who, along with thousands of other children -- the so-called Lost Boys -- was forced to leave his village in Sudan at the age of seven and trek hundreds of miles by foot, pursued by militias, government bombers, and wild animals, crossing the deserts of three countries to find freedom. When he finally is resettled in the United States, he finds a life full of promise, but also heartache and myriad new challenges. Moving, suspenseful, and unexpectedly funny, What is the What? is an astonishing novel that illuminates the lives of millions through one extraordinary man.

Widow of the South cover image Widow of the South
by Robert Hicks

In 1894 Carrie McGavock is an old woman, an old woman who has only her former slave to keep her companyalong with the almost 1,500 soldiers buried in her backyard. Years ago, rather than let someone plow over the field where these young men had been buried, Carrie dug them up and buried them in her own personal cemetery. Now, as she walks the rows of the dead, an old soldier appears. It is the man she met that day of the battle that changed everything. The man who came to her house as a wounded soldier and left with her heart. He asks if the cemetery has room for one more. Flash back 30 years to the morning of the Battle of Franklin, a battle that was the bloodiest five hours of the Civil War, with 9,200 casualties that fateful day. Carries home Carnton Plantation was taken over by the Confederate army and turned into a hospital; four generals died on her porch, and the pile of amputated limbs reached the second story window. And one soldier came to her house and reawakened in Carrie feelings she thought long dead. Zacharaiah Cashwell was a 32-year-old soldier who had lived a hardscrabble life. When Cashwell, wounded, was brought to her home, Carrie found herself inexplicably drawn to him despite boundaries of class and decorum. The story that ensues between Carrie and Cashwell is just as unforgettable as the battle from which it is drawn.

The Color of Water cover image The Color of Water
by James McBride [305.8 McB]

James McBride grew up one of twelve siblings in the all-black housing projects of Red Hook, Brooklyn, the son of a black minister and a woman who would not admit she was white. The object of McBride's constant embarrassment and continuous fear for her safety, his mother was an inspiring figure, who through sheer force of will saw her dozen children through college, and many through graduate school. McBride was an adult before he discovered the truth about his mother: The daughter of a failed itinerant Orthodox rabbi in rural Virginia, she had run away to Harlem, married a black man, and founded an all-black Baptist church in her living room in Red Hook. In her son's remarkable memoir, she tells in her own words the story of her past. Around her narrative, James McBride has written a powerful portrait of growing up, a meditation on race and identity, and a poignant, beautifully crafted hymn from a son to his mother.

River of Doubt cover image The River of Doubt
by Candice Millard [B R67m]

At once an incredible adventure narrative and a penetrating biographical portrait, The River of Doubt is the true story of Theodore Roosevelt’s harrowing exploration of one of the most dangerous rivers on earth. The River of Doubt — it is a black, uncharted tributary of the Amazon that snakes through one of the most treacherous jungles in the world. Indians armed with poison-tipped arrows haunt its shadows; piranhas glide through its waters; boulder-strewn rapids turn the river into a roiling cauldron. After his humiliating election defeat in 1912, Roosevelt set his sights on the most punishing physical challenge he could find — the first descent of an unmapped, rapids-choked tributary of the Amazon. Together with his son Kermit and Brazil’s most famous explorer, Candido Mariano da Silva Rondon, Roosevelt accomplished a feat so great that many at the time refused to believe it. In the process, he changed the map of the western hemisphere forever. Along the way, Roosevelt and his men faced an unbelievable series of hardships, losing their canoes and supplies to punishing whitewater rapids, and enduring starvation, Indian attack, disease, drowning, and a murder within their own ranks. Three men died, and Roosevelt was brought to the brink of suicide.The River of Doubt brings alive these extraordinary events in a powerful nonfiction narrative thriller that happens to feature one of the most famous Americans who ever lived. From the soaring beauty of the Amazon rain forest to the darkest night of Theodore Roosevelt’s life, here is Candice Millard’s dazzling debut.

Because you asked...

The master list of suggested titles was whittled down to 12 before the final five (above) were selected. Because readers have been curious, here are the other 7 titles that made the top dozen (in alphabetical order by author):
book cover March
by Geraldine Brooks

From Louisa May Alcott’s beloved classic "Little Women," Geraldine Brooks has animated the character of the absent father, March, as he leaves behind his family to aid the Union cause in the Civil War. His experiences will utterly change his marriage and challenge his most ardently held beliefs.

book cover The Lords of Discipline
by Pat Conroy

While attending an elite military academy, Will McLean is forced to face an excruciating moral dilemma.

book cover Come Back: A Mother and Daughter's Journey Through Hell and Back
by Claire Fontaine [306.873 Fon]An unforgettable story of love and transformation, Come Back is a heart-wrenching and humorous portrayal of the primal bond between mother and daughter that will resonate with women everywhere.



book cover A Prayer for Owen Meaney
by John Irving

In the summer of 1953, two eleven-year-old boys—best friends—are playing in a Little League baseball game in Gravesend, New Hampshire. One of the boys hits a foul ball that kills the other boy’s mother. The boy who hits the ball doesn’t believe in accidents; Owen Meany believes he is God’s instrument. What happens to Owen, after that 1953 foul ball, is extraordinary and terrifying.

book cover The Speed of Dark
by Elizabeth Moon

Journeys inside the mind of Lou Arrendale, an autistic man, who is asked to undergo a new, experimental treatment designed to cure autism, as he decides whether or not he should risk a medical procedure that could make him "normal."

book cover The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Burrows

As London is emerging from the shadow of World War II, writer Juliet Ashton discovers her next subject in a book club on Guernsey--a club born as a spur-of-the-moment alibi after its members are discovered breaking curfew by the Germans occupying their island.

book cover Women of the Silk: A Novel
by Gail Tsukiyama

Sent by her family to work in a silk factory just prior to World War II, young Pei grows to womanhood, working fifteen-hour days and sending her pay to the family who abandoned her.




Book Club in a Bag!


Book Clubs and organizations now have the ability to check out several popular titles, including the five 2009 One Book finalists below, 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. New titles will be added to this service on a regular basis.



Discussion Opportunities and Radio Spots

Five preview discussions will be held at Lincoln bookstores during July and August, featuring members of the One Book - One Lincoln selection committee talking about the One Book process. Those dates and locations are listed below.

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

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




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 the present [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 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.

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