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Columbia Missourian

Three books contend for One Read program

March 30, 2004 | 12:00 a.m. CST

It’s the public’s turn again to democratically elect a book for the Daniel Boone Regional Library’s third annual One Read program.

Voting began Monday on the three books selected by the One Read 2004 Reading Panel: “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time,” by Mark Haddon, “Life of Pi,” by Yann Martel and “Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting by in Boom-Time America,” by Barbara Ehrenreich.

The top three are a broad selection, representing the diversity of the submitted books. “There was a huge range of book titles, from classic literature to science fiction, to current nonfiction to old nonfiction,” said reading panelist Karen Entrikin.

The results will be released in the fall, when One Read will officially start.

The One Read program is modeled on the Chicago Public Library’s “One Book, One Chicago.” The idea is to get the public involved through the literature, small group discussions and community events.

For one panelist, the success of last year’s book, Harper Lee’s 1960 classic “To Kill a Mockingbird,” influenced his vote for this year. “It’s one of the reasons I voted Ehrenreich above Haddon. I could imagine some good discussions and some great programming about social equity and the class system in America,” said Doug Hunt, an associate professor of English at MU.

“Each book is pertinent to what’s going on today,” said reading panelist Bill Stoltz, “ ‘Life of Pi’ is a fable with lessons, so people can relate, and ‘The Curious Incident’ is about people dealing with disabilities.”

People can vote at the public libraries in Ashland, Columbia and Fulton and the Bookmobile; Barnes & Noble; 9th Street Bookstore; or online at


“The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time,” by Mark Haddon

Christopher Boone, a 15-year-old math genius with Asperger’s Syndrome (an autism-like disorder), sets out to find the killer of Wellington, his neighbor’s poodle, slain with a pitchfork in the night. In the course of solving the murder, dispassionate Christopher uncovers a series of deceptions in his own life. This quirky, compassionate book weaves together an old-fashioned mystery, a contemporary coming-of-age story and a fascinating excursion into a mind incapable of processing emotions.


“Nickel and Dimed,” by Barbara Ehrenreich

Millions of Americans work full-time, year-round for poverty-level wages. In 1998, Barbara Ehrenreich worked as a waitress, a hotel maid, a cleaning woman, a nursing home aide, and a Wal-Mart sales clerk. She discovers that these “unskilled” occupations require exhausting mental and physical activity and that, even living in the most modest accommodations, she often has to supplement her income with a second job. Even though she is buoyed by the kindness and generosity of her co-workers, her account of their lives is sobering.


“Life of Pi,” by Yann Martell

When Piscine “Pi” Molitar and his family emigrate from India to Canada with a few remaining animals from their zoo, their ship sinks in the Pacific Ocean. Pi finds himself marooned in a lifeboat with a hyena, orangutan, a wounded zebra and a 450-pound Bengal tiger named Richard Parker. Pi survives with the tiger through 227 days of heat, storms and adventure before making landfall in Mexico. This fabulist novel combines the delight of Kipling’s “Just So Stories” with the metaphysical adventure of “Jonah and the Whale.”

—Summaries courtesy of Daniel Boone Regional Library