The BuzzFeed Book Club has partnered with the New York City Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment to launch this year’s “One Book, One New York” program — the citywide book club getting everyone to read the same book at the same time. Throughout the month of April, New Yorkers will vote on one of these five nominated books written by five brilliant authors. We’ll announce the winning book in May.
And here they are!
A Place for Us by Fatima Farheen Mirza
As an Indian wedding gathers a family back together, parents Rafiq and Layla must reckon with the choices their children have made. There is Hadia: their headstrong, eldest daughter, whose marriage is a match of love and not tradition. Huda, the middle child, determined to follow in her sister’s footsteps. And lastly, their estranged son, Amar, who returns to the family fold for the first time in three years to take his place as brother of the bride. What secrets and betrayals have caused this close-knit family to fracture? Can Amar find his way back to the people who know and love him best?
A Place for Us takes us back to the beginning of this family’s life: from the bonds that bring them together, to the differences that pull them apart. All the joy and struggle of family life is here, from Rafiq and Layla’s own arrival in America from India, to the years in which their children — each in their own way — tread between two cultures, seeking to find their place in the world, as well as a path home. (Blurb from SJP for Hogarth.)
Read an excerpt of A Place for Us here.
Another Brooklyn by Jacqueline Woodson
Running into a long-ago friend sets memory from the 1970s in motion for August, transporting her to a time and a place where friendship was everything — until it wasn’t. For August and her girls, sharing confidences as they ambled through neighborhood streets, Brooklyn was a place where they believed that they were beautiful, talented, brilliant — a part of a future that belonged to them.
But beneath the hopeful veneer, there was another Brooklyn, a dangerous place where grown men reached for innocent girls in dark hallways, where ghosts haunted the night, where mothers disappeared. A world where madness was just a sunset away and fathers found hope in religion. (Blurb from HarperCollins.)
Read an excerpt here.
Just Kids by Patti Smith
In Just Kids, Patti Smith’s first book of prose, the legendary American artist offers a never-before-seen glimpse of her remarkable relationship with photographer Robert Mapplethorpe in the epochal days of New York City and the Chelsea Hotel in the late ’60s and ’70s. An honest and moving story of youth and friendship, Smith brings the same unique, lyrical quality to Just Kids as she has to the rest of her formidable body of work — from her influential 1975 album Horses to her visual art and poetry. (Blurb from Ecco.)
Read an excerpt of Just Kids here.
Nilda by Nicholasa Mohr
It’s the summer of 1941, and all 10-year-old Nilda wants to do is enjoy the cool water with her friends. But the police officers’ curses end their fun, and their animosity is played out over and over again in Nilda’s life. She is repeatedly treated with contempt and even disgust by adults in positions of authority: teachers, nurses, and social workers.
At home, though, she is surrounded by a large and loving — if somewhat eccentric — family that supports and encourages her artistic abilities. She experiences the onset of World War II and watches anxiously as several brothers go off to war; her stepfather’s poor health means he can’t work, causing serious financial difficulties for the family; one brother slinks off to the underworld, leaving behind a pregnant girlfriend, adding two more mouths to feed to the family’s already dire situation. (Blurb from Arte Público Press.)
Read an excerpt of Nilda here.
Free Food for Millionaires by Min Jin Lee
In her critically acclaimed debut, National Book Award finalist Min Jin Lee introduces the indelible Casey Han: a strong-willed, Queens-bred daughter of Korean immigrants who is addicted to a glamorous Manhattan lifestyle she cannot afford. Fresh out of Princeton with an economics degree, no job, and a popular white boyfriend, Casey is determined to carve a space for herself in the glittering world she craves — but at what cost?
Lee’s bestselling, sharp-eyed, sweeping epic of love, greed, and hunger — set in a landscape where millionaires scramble for the free lunches the poor are too proud to accept — is an addictively readable, startlingly sympathetic portrait of intergenerational strife and immigrant struggle, exposing the intricate layers of a community clinging to its old ways in a city packed with haves and have-nots. (Blurb from Grand Central Publishing.)