February 2, 2017

City-wide book club, “One Book, One New York,” announces the five books it wants everyone to read at the same time


One Book, One New York would like it if everyone in New York City was on the same page.

Sponsored by BuzzFeed Books and the Commissioner of the New York City Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment Julie Menin, the program, per BuzzFeed Books’ Isaac Fitzgerald, is “a new initiative to get everyone in NYC to read the same book at the same time.” But, he adds, “it wouldn’t be New York without a little competition, so we had five celebrities select five books for New Yorkers to choose from.”

Okay, so five books. It’s a little unclear what exactly is going on here, but I think what is happening is this: the One Book, One New York initiative has had five celebrities pick five books, one book each. The most popular of the five will be the winner of the competition. But the winner of the competition is not the book that we will all then be asked to read. Rather, we’re all winners here, having read at least one of the five, since all of them are recommended. I think that is what is going on here.

Good news is, these celebrities—Danielle Brooks, Bebe Neuwirth, Giancarlo Esposito, William H. Macy, and Larry Wilmore—have pretty good taste:

  1. Danielle Brooks: Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates (Spiegel & Grau/Random House)
  2. Bebe Neuwirth: Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (Anchor Books/Knopf)
  3. Giancarlo Esposito: The Sellout by Paul Beatty (Picador/Pan Macmillan)
  4. William H. Macy: A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith (HarperPerennial/HarperCollins)
  5. Larry Wilmore: The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Díaz (Riverheard/Penguin)

Less good news is these are totally the five books that everyone in New York is already reading, or has already read. But that’s okay. Reading is good. Everything is fine. Head to BuzzFeed to hear the celebrities out; head to nyc.gov to learn more about the initiative.



Chad Felix is the Director of Library and Academic Marketing at Melville House, and a former bookseller.