One Book Thomas County is now in its seventh year. Together, we have traveled through time (Mitch Albom's The Time Keeper), explored innocence and justice through the eyes of an exoneree (Picking Cotton), practiced happiness and joy-filled living (The Happiness Project), discovered what makes our region's ecology special (Ecology of a Cracker Childhood), experienced love and lost (To Dance with the White Dog), and followed a Jewish family as they fought for survival during World War II (We Were the Lucky Ones).
ONE BOOK 2018: we were the lucky ones
It is the spring of 1939 and three generations of the Kurc family are doing their best to live normal lives, even as the shadow of war grows closer. The talk around the family Seder table is of new babies and budding romance, not of the increasing hardships threatening Jews in their hometown of Radom, Poland. But soon the horrors overtaking Europe will become inescapable and the Kurcs will be flung to the far corners of the world, each desperately trying to navigate his or her own path to safety.
An extraordinary, propulsive novel, We Were the Lucky Ones demonstrates how in the face of the twentieth century’s darkest moment, the human spirit can endure and even thrive.
ONE BOOK 2017: TO DANCE WITH THE WHITE DOG
Sam Peek's children are worried. Since that "saddest day" when Cora, his beloved wife of 57 good years, died, no one knows how he will survive. How can this elderly man live alone on his farm? How can he keep driving his dilapidated truck down to the fields to care for his few rows of pecan trees? And when Sam begins telling his children about a dog as white as the pure driven snow -- that seems invisible to everyone but him -- his children think that grief and old age have finally taken their toll.
But whether the dog is real or not, Sam Peek -- "one of the smartest men in the South when it comes to trees" -- outsmarts them all. Sam and the White Dog will dance from the pages of this bittersweet novel and into your heart, as they share the mystery of life, and begin together a warm and moving final rite of passage.
To Dance with the White Dog was the winner of the Southeastern Library Association's Outstanding Author Award.
ONE BOOK 2016: ECOLOGY OF A CRACKER CHILDHOOD
Janisse Ray grew up in a junkyard along U.S. Highway 1, hidden from Florida-bound travelers by the hedge at the edge of the road and by hulks of old cars, stacks of blown-out tires, and primeval jumbles of rusted metal. Ecology of a Cracker Childhood tells how a childhood spent in rural isolation -- living in the country but not even knowing how to swim -- grew into a passion to save the almost vanished longleaf pine ecosystem that existed before the region was ever called the South.
Ecology of a Cracker Childhood was a New York Times Notable Book in 2000 and won the Southern Booksellers Award for Nonfiction in 1999.
ONE BOOK 2015: THE HAPPINESS PROJECT
Gretchen Rubin had an epiphany one rainy afternoon in the unlikeliest of places: a city bus. "The days are long, but the years are short," she realized. "Time is passing, and I'm not focusing enough on the things that really matter." In that moment, she decided to dedicate a year to her happiness project.
In this lively and compelling account, Rubin chronicles her adventures during the twelve months she spent test-driving the wisdom of the ages, current scientific research, and lessons from popular culture about how to be happier. Among other things, she found that novelty and challenge are powerful sources of happiness; that money can help buy happiness, when spent wisely; that outer order contributes to inner calm; and that the very smallest of changes can make the biggest difference.
ONE BOOK 2014: PICKING COTTON
In 2014, Thomas County read Picking Cotton, a memoir by Jennifer Thompson-Cannino and Ronald Cotton. Jennifer Thompson was raped at knifepoint by a man who broke into her apartment while she slept. She was able to escape, and eventually positively identified Ronald Cotton as her attacker. Ronald insisted that she was mistaken -- but Jennifer's positive identification was the compelling evidence that put him behind bars. After 11 years, Ronald was allowed to take a DNA test that proved his innocence. He was released, after serving more than a decade in prison for a crime he never committed. Two years later, Jennifer and Ronald met face to face -- and forged an unlikely friendship that changed both of their lives.
Thomas County read Picking Cotton and attended a variety of events dedicated to the book and its themes, including: a mock trial, a presentation by the Innocence Project of Florida, and an author lecture presented by Jennifer and Ronald.
ONE BOOK 2013: THE TIME KEEPER
In September of 2013, the first One Book Thomas County program launched in partnership with FLAUNT, a public art experience produced by the Thomasville Center for the Arts. Together, the public library and the Center created events and exhibitions devoted to Mitch Albom's The Time Keeper, including:
- Time to Play, interactive board games on the downtown bricks,
- Time to Discuss, a community-wide book discussion,
- Time to Learn, a science lecture about time, and
- Time to Listen, a night of music and poetry.