Callaway County readers now have their chance to help select the book title for Daniel Boone Regional Library's One Read 2021.
Readers must choose between the two finalists — "Furious Hours: Murder, Fraud, and the Last Trial of Harper Lee" by Casey Cep, and "The Resisters" by Gish Jen.
"It's kind of fun because each finalist is an echo of past One Read books," said Lauren Williams, DBRL One Read co-chair and adult and community services manager. "They're two very different books, but both lend themselves to the types of discussions we do every September (about the winning title).
"I think — first and foremost — that they both speak to really relevant topics that are appropriate for the 20th anniverary of One Read."
A One Read panel of community members from Callaway and Boone counties whittled a list of more than 230 book recommendations down to the final two contenders.
Voting started Monday and continues through April 24, and can be done online at oneread.dbrl.org. Ballot boxes are also set up at locations in the DBRL system, including Callaway County Public Libarary in Fulton and Holts Summit Public Library.
The winning title will be announced May 18. DBRL libraries and partner organizations will then host a series of discussions and activities focused on the selected book in September.
One Read is a community-wide reading program coordinated by DBRL that encourages adults of all ages to read and discuss a single book. The program is co-sponsored by a task force of local businesses, agencies, academic institutions and other groups.
Here are summaries of the two finalists for One Read 2021:
"Furious Hours: Murder, Fraud, and the Last Trial of Harper Lee"
Part true crime narrative, part biography, "Furious Hours" documents the remarkable story of the 1970s-era Alabama serial killer Willie Maxwell, and Harper Lee's attempt to write a book about his crimes, the justice system and racial politics in the deep South.
Cep first tells the story of Mawell, the mysterious deaths of several family members, accusations of voodoo and his dramatic murder at the funeral of his final alleged victim. Cep next dives deeply into the trial of Mawell's father (which Harper Lee attended), Alabama politics and the insanity defense.
Finally, Cep creates a portrait of a frustrated Lee, trying — and failing — to get to the truth behind the murders onto the page. The result is an extensively researched and immersive work of nonfiction.
In an eerily familiar and not-so-distant future, the mostly-flooded AutoAmerica is strictly divided between the fair-skinned employed (Netted) and the darker-skinned unemployed (Surplus), with everyone's actions closely monitored by Aunt Nettie.
Grant, a former professor, and Eleanor — an attorney still fighting for the rights of the oppressed — discover their daughter Gwen has an almost supernatural gift for pitching.
Surplus aren't allowed to play organized sports, so the family starts an underground baseball league. Gwen's talents are ultimately discovered and her family threatened if she won't agree to play ball on behalf of AutoAmerica.
This is a clever, well-crafted novel about the construction of race, the surveillance state, the consequences of climate change and baseball.