Past Selections

The following books are past years' nominations:

Good Kings Bad Kings Book Cover

Good Kings Bad Kings

by Susan Nussbaum

Good Kings Bad Kings follows the lives of residents at ILLC, an institution for juveniles with disabilities, where friendships are forged, trust is built, and love affairs begin, all despite an atmosphere of neglect and abuse. In this alliance the residents of ILLC ultimately find the strength to resist their mistreatment and fight back. With humor and an authentic eye, Good Kings Bad Kings tells the story of their struggle for dignity and self-determination. 

Little Princes Book Cover

LITTLE PRINCES: One Man's Promise to Bring Home the Lost Children of Nepal

by Conor Grennan

Grennan's book chronicles his journey to Nepal as a 29-year-old volunteer in the Little Princes orphanage, where he discovers that the children there are victims of human trafficking. Awakened to the children's dire circumstances, he commits to making a difference by reuniting them with their parents. Grennan's ambitions are complicated by the ongoing civil war and by the harsh mountain landscape of Nepal. The book is at once a gripping adventure narrative and a tale of deep personal transformation. Like other One Book selections, Little Princes will provide opportunities for discussion of many pressing contemporary issues.

One Book Cover - Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet

Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet

by Jamie Ford

Set during one of the most conflicted and volatile times in American history, Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet is an extraordinary story of commitment and enduring hope. In Henry and Keiko, Jamie Ford has created an unforgettable duo whose story teaches us of the power of forgiveness and the human heart

The Unforgiving Minute

The Unforgiving Minute

by Craig Mullaney

The Unforgiving Minute is the extraordinary story of one soldier’s singular education. From a hilarious plebe’s-eye view of the West Point experience to the demanding leadership crucible of Ranger School’s swamps and mountains, to a two-year academic whirlwind at Oxford, Mullaney’s winding path to the battlegrounds of Afghanistan was unique and remarkable. Despite all his preparation, the hardest questions remained. When the call came to lead his platoon into battle and earn his soldiers’ salutes, would he be ready? Was his education sufficient for the unforgiving minutes he’d face? The Unforgiving Minute is, above all, an unforgettable portrait of a young soldier grappling with the weight of his hard-earned knowledge while coming to grips with becoming a man. (Booklist Review). All full-time undergraduate students will receive free copies of the book in the fall 2010. The author's visit is currently being planned for Spring 2011. Additional information about programming and related events will be available in the next several months.

Rooftop of Tehran Book Cover

Rooftops of Tehran
by Mahbod Seraji

This stunning literary debut paints a vivid portrait of growing up, discovering love, and awakening to the reality of life in a nation on the verge of revolution in the 1970s. Rooftops of Tehran opens in a middle-class neighborhood in Iran’s sprawling capital city. The rooftop of the narrator’s house – the tallest in their alley − is the perfect spot for sleeping on hot summer nights. It’s also the perfect location for stargazing, sneaking cigarettes, talking about American movies, and confiding, analyzing and agonizing through the typical trials of being a seventeen year-old boy, including being in love.

This is the spot from which the narrator quietly watches his secret love, his beautiful next door neighbor Zari, promised since birth to his friend and mentor, nicknamed Doctor, a man adored and respected by the whole neighborhood. It is from this high perch that the narrator witnesses the SAVAK's brutal hunt and arrest of Doctor and realizes the oppressiveness of the regime under which he resides. And the rooftop is where the narrator and Zari ultimately find quiet refuge in each other after the shock of Doctor’s senseless faith ripples through their close-knit community and brings about terrible, unexpected repercussions.

Glass Castle Book Cover
2008-2009 Selection

The Glass Castle
by Jeannette Walls

The Glass Castle is a remarkable memoir of resilience and redemption, and a revelatory look into a family at once deeply dysfunctional and uniquely vibrant. When sober, Jeannette's brilliant and charismatic father captured his children's imagination. teaching them physics, geology and how to embrace life fearlessly, But when he drank, he was a dishonest and destructive. Her mother was a free sprit who abhorred the idea of domesticity and didn't want the responsibility of raising a family.

The Walls children learned to take care of themselves. They fed, clothed, and protected one another and eventually found their way to New York. Their parents followed them, choosing to be homeless even as their children prospered. The Glass Castle is truly astonishing - a memoir permeated by the intense love of a peculiar but loyal family.

Left to Tell Book Cover
2007-2008 Selection

Left To Tell
by Immaculèe Ilibagiza

Immaculee Ilibagiza grew up in a country she loved, surrounded by a family she cherished. But in 1994 her idyllic world was ripped apart as Rwanda descended into a bloody genocide. Immaculee's family was brutally murdered during a killing spree that lasted three months and claimed the lives of nearly a million Rwandans. Incredibly, Immaculee survived the slaughter. For 91 days, she and seven other women huddled silently together in the cramped bathroom of a local pastor while hundreds of machete-wielding killers hunted for them. It was during those endless hours of unspeakable terror that Immaculee discovered the power of prayer, eventually shedding her fear of death and forging a profound and lasting relationship with God. She emerged from her bathroom hideout having discovered the meaning of truly unconditional love—a love so strong she was able seek out and forgive her family's killers. The triumphant story of this remarkable young woman's journey through the darkness of genocide will inspire anyone whose life has been touched by fear, suffering, and loss. This is Immaculee's first book.

file
2006-2007 Selection

Blood Done Sign My Name
by Timothy Tyson

In the tradition of 1959's To Kill a Mockingbird, Blood Done Sign My Name is a classic work of conscience, a defining portrait of a time and place that we will never forget. Published in 2004, Tim Tyson's riveting narrative of that fiery summer and one family's struggle to build bridges in a time of destruction brings gritty blues truth, soaring gospel vision, and down home humor to our complex history, where violence and faith, courage and evil, despair and hope all mingle to illuminate America's enduring chasm of race.

file
2004-2005 Selection

The Kite Runner
by Kahled Hosseini

Set both in Afghanistan and in California, the plot engages you from the first page. The book gives a powerful perspective on some of the most pressing national issues of our day. At the same time it raises important personal questions having to do with friendship, loyalty, prejudice, and intercultural communication. It is particularly relevant to the experience of our students, which is why it is a best seller in college bookstores across the nation.

10th Anniversary One Book Logo
One Book 10th Anniversary Cake

Mahbod Seraji's visit to Villanova University