New Yorkers Chose This Book for First Citywide Book Club
This is the biggest book club ever.
New Yorkers love to read — in parks, coffee shops, and subway stations, you’re sure to find someone turning the pages of a book unearthed from the stacks at Strand.
It’s the most book-friendly city in the US, and it’s arguably the literary capital of the world, the birthplace of James Baldwin and Nora Ephron and the final home of Toni Morrison and Allen Ginsberg.
Now that great literary tradition is continuing with the first-ever citywide book club, through a partnership with the Mayor’s office and Buzzfeed.
In February, ads appeared in subway cars, Facebook feeds, and NPR shows for the “One Book, One New York” event. New Yorkers were invited to vote online or through a subway kiosk for one of five books: Ta-Nehisi Coates’s “Between the World and Me,” Paul Beatty’s “The Sellout,” Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s “Americanah,”Betty Smith’s “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn” and Junot Díaz’s “The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao.”
After a month of voting, the winner was clear: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s “Americanah, a searing, funny, and insightful tale of one woman leaving behind everything she knew in Nigeria to start over in the US.
The city of New York is donating 1,000 copies of the book to public libraries and is offering the audiobook to citizens for free.
Over the next several months, dozens of events will be held throughout the five boroughs, giving readers a chance to engage with one another and attend talks and events that draw on the themes of the book.
For example, on April 18, the New York Public Library is hosting “Immigrant Stories: Min Jin Lee in Conversation.”
In June, a culminating “One Book, One New York” will take place. The full list of events can be found here.
New Yorkers are also encouraged to form their own book clubs and community events and to use a discussion guide created by Penguin Random House.
Ultimately, the whole effort is a way to get New Yorkers to slow down and get on the same page, think about fascinatingly knotty issues, and savor a classic of American literature by one of the greatest writers alive.
“So in my novel ‘Americanah,’ one of the characters talks about how Americans are always excited about things,” Adichie says in a video announcing her novel’s win. “But I want to say that today, like Americans, I am so excited that you chose my book.”