Originally published March 13, 2013 at 11:35 a.m., updated March 14, 2013 at 9:08 a.m.
This year's One Book, One San Diego is off and running! Or, to put it in the words of Sherlock Holmes, “The game is afoot!”
All this month, you have the unique opportunity to help choose the next One Book. You can do so by visiting the One Book, One San Diego webpage and nominating your favorite book. And then, who knows? Yours may very well become the winning selection. Just ask Clare Pister, KPBS Education and Literacy Coordinator, who implements the campaign in partnership with the San Diego Public Library.
“Now in its seventh year, One Book, One San Diego is a community reading program, with its most important element being meaningful, county-wide engagement,” says Pister. “This new nomination process encourages participation from the very beginning, and it’s anyone guess which book, among the ones submitted, will be chosen. It’s exciting to learn what great books San Diegans are reading.”
More than 300 nominations have been submitted so far—from the sublime to the compelling, leaving me to wonder which one of these will make it to the top of the list.
Will it be a gripping mystery or a light-hearted tale of love, lost and won? Perhaps a riveting tale of child trafficking in Nepal? How about the unspeakable saga of a young man born into captivity, and held prisoner by his own government?
With so many options and so many books to consider, the sky's the limit. Here’s a small sampling:
Susan, from Scripps Ranch, recommends “Little Princes: One Man’s Promise to Bring home the Lost Children of Nepal” by Conor Grennan. She describes the book this way, “Adventure, excitement, inspiration and humor are yours—a must-read!”
Mimi from La Mesa has nominated “My Father’s Paradise” by Ariel Sabar. She writes that this story of a young man’s search for his father’s Kurdish Jewish past in Iraq, “is a theme that resonates with many here in multicultural San Diego.”
Bob of Escondido thinks the next One Book should be “Indomitable Maria Magdalena” by John Messer. “It’s a true story about a woman from Mexico being abandoned with five children,” he says. “Her challenge to survive and give her children a better life in spite of it all is a lesson in courage, faith and hope.”
Diana from Clairemont feels that “The Woman Who Heard Color” by Kelly Jones “is a lesson we all need to remember,” and adds that, “the writing is deeply rich and sensitive.”
There’s still plenty of time for you to nominate a book, as long as you reside in either San Diego or Imperial County, that is, and as long as you’ve read the book in its entirety. Other criteria include:
- Story (fiction or nonfiction) should be of high literary quality, significant and compelling, and should have a strong narrative with well-developed characters.
- Themes resonate with local and/or global communities.
- Inspires discussion, conversations, and action.
- Available in paperback and hardcover.
- Author is alive.
- Should have professional reviews (the book is currently in print and available in large quantities).
- Suitable for high school study and up (and for people of all backgrounds).
Once the book is chosen, it becomes the focus of eight weeks of community events all over the city, with the culmination being a series of special events featuring the author.
Participating in One Book, One San Diego can be a rewarding experience. “Those who take part gain a greater sense of community while meeting and learning about their neighbors and the world,” observes Pister. “Plus, they get to see cool films, eat great food, listen to smart people talk about interesting things, and, of course, they read a superb book! You can stay up to date with the One Book, One San Diego project on Facebook and Twitter, too."
So, now it’s up to you. Nominate a book today, and, to quote another popular book, “May the odds be ever in your favor!”