one county one book Five books, including three works of fiction and two works of non-fiction, were announced as finalists for Schenectady County’s popular One County One Book (OCOB) program at the Schenectady County Public Library on Wednesday, August 15.  For the first time in the program’s three-year history, non-fiction books placed in the final five.

The books are:  Before You Know Kindness, a family saga about the aftermath of a gun fire accident; by Chris Bohjalian; Hiroshima, John Hershey’s collection of first person accounts after the atomic bomb was dropped; The Kite Runner, Khaled Hosseini’s epic tale of fathers and sons in  Afghanistan that takes the reader from the final days of the monarchy to the atrocities of the present; Nickel and Dimed:  On (Not) Getting by in America, Barbara Ehrenreich, this premier reporter of the underside of Capitalism gives a first hand account of surviving at the poverty level; and Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen, a compelling and gritty story set amid life in a traveling circus during the Great Depression.

“Ample quantities of all five books are available at the Central Library and all branches,” said co-chair Carol Raphael who is an SCPL Trustee.

“Individuals are encouraged to read all of the books prior to casting their
one vote for their favorite title.”

“The topical diversity and literary quality of these books is phenomenal,” said 2008 OCOB co-chair and SCPL Trustee Carl Erikson. “The selection process was very inclusive, involving open nominations from the public, meeting established criteria and a review of all nominated books by a community-based selection committee.”

The established criteria included that the books lend themselves well to programs and discussion and are available in audio-book, large-print and paperback editions. A total of 130 individual book titles were nominated by the community this year.  The previous two OCOB selections were Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird in 2006 and Jodi Picoult’s My Sister’s Keeper in 2007.

The final book will be decided by the community.  Interested community members are encouraged to review the final five and cast their vote. Ballots are available at all Schenectady County Public Library locations, the Open Door Bookstore, The Whitney Book Corner, and on line at www.scpl.org.  Further information, including detailed descriptions of all five books and information on casting a ballot online are available at www.scpl.org.  Ballots must be cast by October 12, 2007.