What if everyone in New York City read the same book at the same time?

That’s the concept behind One Book, One New York, a program organized by the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment. New Yorkers cast their votes in February to choose which book they wanted to read, and the results are in! This spring, New York City will read Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Americanah, the 2013 National Book Critics Circle Award-winner for fiction.

Readings, panels, and other public events related to Americanah are scheduled from March until June. The One Book program also provides a discussion guide for book clubs (and classes), as well as a free audiobook download. See nyc.gov/onebook for all events and program information.

One Book programs have been popular in many cities, here and abroad, as a way to connect community members through a common text. One Book, One New York is the first such event organized for New York City—and of course, being held in the Big Apple, it is now the largest community reading program ever organized.

About Americanah: “Ifemelu and Obinze are young and in love when they depart military-ruled Nigeria for the West. Beautiful, self-assured Ifemelu heads for America, where despite her academic success, she is forced to grapple with what it means to be black for the first time. Quiet, thoughtful Obinze had hoped to join her, but with post-9/11 America closed to him, he instead plunges into a dangerous, undocumented life in London. Fifteen years later, they reunite in a newly democratic Nigeria, and reignite their passion—for each other and for their homeland” (publisher’s description).

Americanah is available in the John Jay Library at Stacks PR9387.9 .A34354 A72 2014 and as an ebook (1 user limit).

Other #OneBookNY contenders:

  • The Sellout by Paul Beatty, available in the John Jay Library at Stacks PS3552 .E19 S45 2015
  • Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates, available in the John Jay Library at Stacks E185.615 .C6335 2015
  • A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith, available in the John Jay Library at Stacks PS3537 .M2895 T7 2005 or ...1982
  • The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz, available in the John Jay Library at Stacks PS3554 .I259 B75 2007


By Robin Davis

Read more from the Spring 2017 issue of Classified Information, the Library's newsletter