The results are in: Our community has chosen True Grit by Charles Portis as our One Book, One Michiana 2020 selection.
True Grit tells the story of Mattie Ross, who is just fourteen when the coward Tom Chaney shoots down her father in Fort Smith, Arkansas, and robs him of his life, his horse, and $150 in cash. Determined to avenge the killing, Mattie enlists the help of Rooster Cogburg, the meanest available U.S. Marshal, and pursues the killer into Indian Territory. As Mattie outdickers and outmaneuvers the hard-bitten types in her path, her vitality and resourcefulness amuse, impress, and touch the reader. What happens—to Mattie, to the gang of outlaws unfortunate enough to tangle with her, to Rooster and the swaggering Texas Ranger LeBoeuf—rings with the dramatic rightness of legend. An instant bestseller and critical success upon its first publication and the basis for two Academy Award-winning films, True Grit is an American Classic through and through.
Preparing for One Book, One Michiana is a grueling test of our Librarians’ literary prowess and reading endurance. Librarians and staff on the planning committee read dozens of books throughout the summer and discuss each selection in depth. Over the years, the committee has selected important literary works—from To Kill A Mockingbird to The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy.
This year, the committee read over 50 titles and narrowed the field down to three selections. Titles were chosen to represent Modern Fiction (The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead), Classic Fiction (True Grit by Charles Portis), and Nonfiction (Being Mortal by Atul Gawande). For the first time, we asked you (yes you!) to vote on the One Book title. Over 1,000 votes were cast online and in person throughout September 2019. For much of the month, the three titles were neck and neck with the winner holding on to a slim margin.