What do a giant Pacific octopus, a young Chinese woman kidnapped and trafficked to America in the late 1880s, and a modern-day David Copperfield from rural Appalachia have in common?
They’re each a protagonist in a novel selected by the One Book One Lincoln committee, a community reading program sponsored by Lincoln City Libraries. This summer, two dozen Honors students are reading and discussing these books as part of a 201H Honors seminar, “Honors Book Club: One Book One Lincoln.”
The course, taught by Jacob Schlange, assistant director of the Honors Program, aims to get students engaging in discourse about the themes of the books alongside the rest of Lincoln, as adults throughout the city are encouraged to read these books at the same time before ultimately voting for their favorite. In the process, students will learn more about their own tastes as a reader and learn about ways they can use these books as an entry point to connecting with various sectors of the Lincoln community.
The titles chosen for One Book One Lincoln, which will be voted on this month by readers, are “Demon Copperhead,” by Barbara Kingsolver; “Remarkably Bright Creatures,” by Shelby Van Pelt; and “Four Treasures of the Sky,” by Jenny Tinghui Zhang.
“Lincoln City Libraries is thrilled to be a part of a UNL Honors seminar this year showcasing the community choices in our One Book One Lincoln program,” Traci Glass, assistant director for Lincoln City Libraries, said. “We truly believe in the power and depth of these titles and hope to see students engaged in thoughtful and meaningful discussions around these books both with their fellow students as well as within their communities.”
Schlange, a member of the One Book One Lincoln committee that selected the three finalists, saw the creation of this course as a perfect opportunity to build on existing resources in the community by using an Honors course structure that has been successful in the past.
“We’ve had other UHON 201H seminars that used the Honors Book Club model, and students really enjoyed having an excuse to read for pleasure while also fulfilling an Honors requirement,” Schlange said. “As an added bonus, since the course is taking place entirely on Zoom, students can participate in the discussion no matter where they’re spending the summer.”
Past Honors Book Club seminars have explored themes such as Nebraska authors, or books about the experience of first-year college students, but this is the first time students have had the opportunity to fulfill a 201H requirement during the summer term.
The three books selected by the One Book One Lincoln committee this year feature diverse characters and varied settings and will allow students to grapple with a wide range of topics and literary styles.
“This summer course has been a great way to get out of my comfort zone and read books that I wouldn’t ordinarily pick up,” Liz Andersen, a sophomore microbiology major, said. “I love discussing the different themes during class and hearing everyone’s perspectives. It’s been a blast!”
For more information about the One Book One Lincoln program, click here.