Malden Reads mulls book pick for 2017

black_white_draft2-4The Malden Reads Book Selection Committee has been busy reading all summer as they considered the contenders for the 2017 pick.

The popular One City, One Book program will be entering its seventh year of promoting literacy, encouraging a love of reading and building community in the city of Malden. The program is organized collaboratively by MATV, Malden’s Media Center, and the Malden Public Library in collaboration with a dynamic group of community volunteers.

Whittled down from a long list of suggestions from the community, here are the top 10 contenders:



Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates
Using letters to his teenage son, Coates talks in lyrical, yet uncompromising, prose about race in America and how it has shaped our history.



A Common Struggle: A Personal Journey Through the Past and Future of Mental Illness and Addiction by Patrick J. Kennedy, Stephen Fried
The youngest son of Ted Kennedy describes his personal and political struggle with addiction and the hidden damage to his famous family.


amancalledoveA Man Called Ove by Frederik Backman
A grumpy old man finds his solitary world turned on its head when a boisterous young family moves in next door, proving how human connection and the support of your community can truly save us.




The Secret Son by Laila Lalami
The story of a young man, raised by his mother in the slums of Casablanca, who discovers the father and a life of luxury he never thought he’d find. When his fortunes are reversed he becomes an easy target for an extremist religious group.


shakespearesavedlifeShakespeare Saved My Life: Ten Years in Solitary with the Bard by Laura Bates
In a testament to the transformative power of literature, Bates tells the true story of Larry, whom she studied in a supermax prison near Chicago. Larry, poorly educated and in solitary for ten years, had never heard of Shakespeare, but the Bard’s tales and characters profoundly reshaped his life.




Zeitoun by Dave Eggers
The real-life story of an American Muslim family, owners of a painting business in New Orleans when hurricane Katrina hit. Eggers tells of the husband’s efforts to save people and animals from the floods and his subsequent arrest on terrorism charges.


balzac_seamstressBalzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress by Dai Sijie 
Two boys are banished to the countryside during the Chinese Cultural Revolution and discover, not only a beautiful girl, but a stash of translated books – Western classics, which transport them to another world.




The Book of Unknown Americans by Christina Henriquez
When a girl from Mexico moves into Mayor’s apartment building in Maryland, his teenaged life and that of his family’s is turned upside down. The story is interspersed with brief portraits of other interesting characters from in the building, and their stories of coming to the US.


briefwondrouslifeThe Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Juno Díaz
Oscar never gets what he wants because of the ancient curse on his family, until the summer he decides to be the last victim in his family’s long story of prison, torture, tragedy and ill-starred love.




The Pearl that Broke Its Shell by Nadia Hashimi
Forbidden from attending school, young Rahima adopts an ancient Afghan custom and dresses as a boy in order to gain an education and help her family. Her story echoes that of her great-aunt a century before, and their stories are interwoven as Rahima faces an uncertain future.

To learn more about Malden Reads, visit

About annedr 50 Articles
Anne D'Urso-Rose is the Associate Director at Urban Media Arts in Malden. She is the coordinator and a contributing journalist for Neighborhood View.

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