‘One Book, One New York,’ with 5 contenders, seeks votes

“One Book, One New York” contenders include Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s novel “Americanah.” Photo Credit: Google Maps

There’s a really contentious election going on in NYC.

“One Book, One New York” – an initiative of the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment and BuzzFeed — wants New Yorkers to vote on one book that all New Yorkers will read at the same time.

NYC is the creative and publishing capital of the world and “The One Book, One New York” initiative provides the perfect opportunity to bring city residents from all five boroughs together through reading,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said in a statement.

The final titles to be voted on — and which were chosen by an expert committee — include “Americanah” by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, “Between the World and Me” by Ta-Nehisi Coates, “The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao,” by Junot Díaz, “The Sellout” by Paul Beatty and “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn” by Betty Smith.

All selections involve an author or protagonist trying to make sense of the world in which they live.

Reading enthusiasts can vote online or place their votes at interactive digital kiosks on subway platforms through Feb. 28. A city wide awareness campaign on subways, buses and LinkNYC about the program’s launch began Wednesday. An announcement of the final book selection will occur in March, followed by multiple “One Book, One New York,” events.

Celebrity advocates such as Bebe Neuwirth, William H. Macy, Giancarlo Esposito, Larry Wilmore and Danielle Brooks also have been enlisted to promote the campaign.

This literary effort isn’t the first time advocates of reading have tried to get New Yorkers on the same page. In 2002, a committee was formed to facilitate a collective civic literary conversation, but the organizing group of librarians, educators and bookstore owners charged with choosing a title couldn’t agree on whether to recommend “Native Speaker” by Chang-Rae Lee or “The Color of Water,” by James McBride.

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