New York Picks One Book to Rule Them All

One Book, One New York Banner Image 2019


Finalists Announced for One Book, One New York 2019


Voting is now open for the program that gets everyone to read the same book at the same time: One Book, One New York. You’ve got one month to choose your favorite among the list of this year’s finalists for the citywide book club; the winning book is announced on May 3rd. In consideration of the difficult choice ahead, BKLYN Library staff renounce their customary hushed tones below and declare which of the nominated books should be chosen:


Just Kids by Patti Smith - “Obviously Just Kids should be chosen. If nothing else because it reminds us of a time when New York was a playground for misfits, artists and poets (and actually affordable)! This creative nonfiction memoir is a wonderfully nostalgic look back at this nearly forgotten NYC. It reads like a love letter to a place and time where anyone could take a risk in this city, while documenting the dynamic relationship of two of the most prolific artists to emerge in this period. It’s an important record of a fleeting time in local history, so vote for Just Kids!” -Robin


Free Food for Millionaires  by Min Jin Lee: “Free Food for Millionaires is a pretty special book for the moment. It uncovers a new story about the immigrant experience and expands the American identity, all while retaining universal relatability. It explores the difficulties that new American families face in balancing a desire to remain connected with culture and family with a desire for economic success--often the reason for immigrating in the first place. Lee’s central character Casey, daughter of Korean immigrants, embodies this psychic strife with both humor and tenderness. We should read this book together!” -Erik


Another Brooklyn by Jacqueline Woodson: “We should choose Another Brooklyn because it is the only finalist that would appeal to both adult readers and teens! Wouldn’t it be cool to really see everyone on the subway reading Another Brooklyn together? Woodson’s novel is also a classic tale of Brooklyn in the 1970s, relating with perfect poignancy the feeling of endless promise that accompanies youth. It deserves to be shared widely!” -Robert


A Place for Us by Fatima Farheen Mirza*: Fatima Farheen Mirza’s A Place for Us is the book that I have been pressing into everyone’s hands this year. “Read it. Then let’s talk about it,” I instruct with confidence. A Place for Us is the story of a family told from alternating perspectives with so much tenderness and empathy packed into its very complicated, raw characters that I still find myself thinking about Hadia, Amar, Layla, and dear Rafiq as if they exist outside the pages of Mirza’s stunning prose. While this is not a New York story (it takes place in northern California over the span of several decades), it was written by a Brooklynite and speaks to the universal story of so many immigrant families who call our city home. Yes, it is an important novel, but it’s also a sincerely enjoyable one filled with joy and magic and cruelty and loss and above all, love. Read it. Then let’s start the conversation.” -Sarah


Nilda by Nicholasa Mohr: While this book was written in the ‘70s and takes place in the ‘40s, its appeal to New Yorkers stands. Nilda is a young girl growing up in Spanish Harlem in the ‘40s as the world rages during World War II. Readers are swept into Nilda’s world and her eccentric and loving family as she is faced with many issues we still live with today. Nilda highlights the complicated relationships we have with our families and our worldview as we mature into our own person. It’s no surprise this book remains a classic and one we can all relate to.” -Jennifer


Careful readers will notice the links to the titles listed above are from our Book Discussion Sets collection. Book Discussion Sets are special because they check out for longer (60 days!) and are best enjoyed in a group. While you can check out just one copy, feel free to gather your friends and neighbors together to discuss the book you think everyone should read this year!


*Check out a live booktalk with Fatima Farheen Mirza, author of A Place for Us, on Thursday, April 25th from 7:30-9:00pm in the Dweck Auditorium (more information).


This blog post reflects the opinions of the author and does not necessarily represent the views of Brooklyn Public Library.


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