Category Archives: Regional Titles

Five Days at Memorial Atop Multiple “Best of 2013” Lists

FIVE DAYS- FINAL JACKETThe accolades for Sheri Fink’s Five Days at Memorial continue to roll in.  Fink’s book, which chronicles five days at Memorial Medical Center in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, has been included in Time Magazine’s 10 Best non-fiction Books of 2013 and has been named as one of the Top Ten Books of 2013 by the New York Times Book Review as well as the Chicago TribuneThe East Bay Express has additionally included Five Days in their “Best of 2013” list, stating: “This year’s most important book is also one of its most enthralling.”  Finally, Entertainment Weekly has named Five Days as the best nonfiction title of 2013.

We are excited to have Sheri Fink presenting at the 10th Annual Random House Author Luncheon at the 2014 Conference on the First-Year Experience®.  Click here to RSVP.


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Momentum Continues for Muck City With “One Book” Adoption

Muck CitySarasota County Libraries in Florida has announced Muck City by Bryan Mealer as their 2014 “One Book” reading selection. Muck City tells the story of the Belle Glade (FL) high school football team, which has sent 27 of its players to the National Football League since 1985.  Despite excelling at football, the town also spawned chronic poverty, teeming migrant ghettos and violence that crippled the future’s of its young people. The book ultimately portrays a community grappling with a difficult past and uncertain future, but with the fierce will to survive and thrive.

“Since this year is the program’s 10th anniversary, we wanted to feature a book, which like the original Sarasota One Book, related to Florida’s history,” said Barb McDonald, outreach coordinator for the Sarasota County Library System.  McDonald added that the book will appeal to readers of all ages and was selected because of its inspirational message.  Mr. Mealer plans to attend “One Book” events beginning in early 2014.

Clear here to read more about Sarasota’s “One Book” program.

Clear here to listen to an interview with Bryan Mealer.


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All Souls an all-read at three universities

CommonReads is happy to announce three university common reading adoptions of All Souls: A Family Story from Southie. Students at Northeastern University, Northridge College, and Springfield Technical Community College  are reading Michael Patrick Macdonald’s memoir about growing up in “Southie,” the proudly insular neighborhood in South Boston with the highest concentration of white poverty in America.

Rocked by Whitey Bulger’s crime schemes and busing riots, MacDonald’s Southie is populated by sharply hewn characters like his Ma, a mini-skirted, accordion-playing single mother who endures the deaths of four of her eleven children. Nearly suffocated by his grief and his community’s code of silence, MacDonald tells his family story here with gritty but moving honesty.



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Georgia State University to kick off First-Year Book Program with Outcasts United

For its inagural First-Year Book Program, Georgia State University has selected what is quickly becoming a state favorite: Outcasts United by Warren St. John. Incoming first-year students will have the opportunity to read the book this summer and it will be integrated into the GSU 1010 New Student Orientation and Engl 1101 English Composition I courses this fall.

In a press release the university said:

“A First-Year Book Program is a proven way to generate intellectual interest and engagement among students,” said Allison Calhoun-Brown, GSU’s academic director of student retention. “Outcasts United” is a very interesting and thought provoking book. This program offers freshmen students an opportunity to engage it collectively and from a wide variety of disciplinary perspectives.  Reading and discussing it together as a class will help familiarize them with the kind of intellectual excitement that flows from the academic enterprise.”

The selected novel tells the story of how Clarkston, Ga., transformed from a predominately white town into one of the most diverse communities in the country, after it was designated a resettlement center for refugees around the world in the early ’90s. The story, which is told through the lens of a soccer team of refugee boys called the “Fugees,” provides readers with lessons about how to create community in places where everyone is different.

Read more about the book’s selection and the First-Year Book program at Georgia State here.

Outcasts United has also been selected by Georgia Tech University ,  Agnes Scott College (Decatur, GA) and several other universities. Find a full list here.


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Dark Tide to wash over Boston

Last week, Random House Library announced Boston’s first ever city-wide read selection: Stephen Puelo’s Dark Tide: The Great Boston Molasses Flood of 1919.

Read the announcement here.


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Outcasts United is picking up speed. Check out new video from the author and new links.

With all the recent news about Outcasts United: An American Town, a Refugee Team, and One Woman’s Quest to Make a Difference,it is easy for us to explain to you all the reasons why the book, by New York Times journalist Warren St. John, will resonate with your students.

But how about hearing it from the author himself?

We’ve previously brought you video from Mr. St. John’s talk at our recent Sixth Annual Author Luncheon at the First-Year Experience Conference in Denver, Colorado. In a new video he once again addresses the impact this story can have on ever-diversifiying college campuses. The video also features video of the town of Clarkston, Georgia where the story of the Fugees is set, as well as footage of the Fugees and their coach.

Also check out this webpage by the Maryland Humanities Council, detailing their response to this intiguing story. Just a few weeks ago, CommonReads brought you the news that they had selected the book for their One Maryland, One Book program.

For more program feedback, visit our previous post featuring comments from Utah State University about why they’ve adopted the book as common reading for their 2010-2011 school year.

Outcasts United’s impact is farther reaching by the day. In a recent e-mail to Random House Academic, Warren St. John updated us on his itinerary. He will be appearing at the Virginia Festival of the Book in Charlottesville, VA on Tuesday, March 23rd and will be taking part in an event hosted by the International Rescue Committee. From there, Mr. St. John will be heading to Atlanta for Roswell Reads, the common reading program run by the Roswell Public Library, just outside the city.

Want Warren St. John to come to your school or library? E-mail for more information!


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Schenectady’s sweet on Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet

Do you have a copy of our One Book, One Community catalog? If not, email to request one!

The results are in for another One Book vote! This time Schenectady, New York and the Schenectady Public Library has selected Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by first-time novelist Jamie Ford for the 2010 “One County, One Book” read.

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