One Book, One Michiana

One Book, One Michiana begins in April 2022.

Every year in April, the community comes together to read and discuss one book together. We asked for your help to pick the next book and received over 500 responses!

2022 Book Choice

Just Mercy: A Story of of Justice and Redemption

by Bryan Stevenson

In 1983, Stevenson, a 23-year-old law student, was starting an internship that involved assisting inmates on Alabama’s death row. This memoir, which often reads like a true crime novel, relates Stevenson’s experiences with several of his cases, primarily that of Walter McMillian, who was sentenced to death for a notorious murder that he could not have committed. Working with McMillian, Stevenson was put in contact with other non-death row inmates, many of whom had been in the prison system since they were teens, and he soon realized that many, especially the poor, were in desperate need of legal help. Stevenson eloquently highlights the stories of defendants who have been falsely imprisoned, and explains why justice and mercy must go hand-in-hand.

About the Author

Bryan Stevenson is the author of the critically acclaimed New York Times bestseller, Just Mercy, which was named by Time Magazine as one of the 10 Best Books of Nonfiction for 2014. He has been awarded several honors, including the American Library Association’s Carnegie Medal for best nonfiction book of 2015 and a 2015 NAACP Image Award. He is a graduate of the Harvard Law School and the Harvard School of Government. Just Mercy was recently adapted as a major motion picture.

Sponsored by the Community Foundation of St. Joseph County


Sponsored by Herman & Goetz


Sponsored by Barnes & Thornburg


Sponsored by IBEW Local 153


Events

An Evening with Anthony Ray Hinton

Author of The Sun Does Shine: How I Found Life and Freedom on Death Row

Monday, April 25 at 6:30 p.m.
Main Library, Auditorium

“Race, poverty, inadequate legal assistance, and prosecutorial indifference to innocence conspired to create a textbook example of injustice,” wrote Bryan Stevenson. “I can’t think of a case that more urgently dramatizes the need for reform than what has happened to Anthony Ray Hinton.​”

Anthony Ray Hinton was wrongly convicted of the 1985 murders of two fast food restaurant managers in Birmingham, Alabama. He was sentenced to death and held on the state’s death row for 28 years before his conviction was finally overturned.

Just Mercy Book Drive

April 1 – 30, 2022

Please donate new or gently used paperback books at any Library location for use at the Juvenile Justice Center, DuComb Center, or the St. Joseph County Jail.


Reading Resources

Discussion Questions

Further Reading

The Sun Does Shine: How I Found Life and Freedom on Death Row by Anthony Ray Hinton
Adult Nonfiction
In this intense memoir, Hinton recounts his three-decade nightmare: awaiting execution for crimes he didn’t commit. In 1985, Hinton, then 29, was charged with a series of violent robberies as well as the murders of two restaurant managers in Birmingham, Alabama. Hinton passed a polygraph test and was in a locked warehouse during one robbery, but that didn’t prevent an all-white jury from finding him guilty after only two hours (the death penalty recommendation took another 45 minutes). With the unwavering support of his mother and his best friend, Hinton created a fulfilling life for himself, which included running a book club for death row inmates. After many years, his dogged pursuit of justice led civil rights attorney Bryan Stephenson to adopt his cause. Hinton was freed from prison in 2015.

A Knock at Midnight by Brittany K. Barnett
Adult Nonfiction
An urgent call to free those buried alive by America’s legal system, and an inspiring true story about unwavering belief in humanity-from a gifted young lawyer and important new voice in the movement to transform the system.

Beneath a Ruthless Sun by Gilbert King
Adult Nonfiction
Documents the mid-twentieth-century case of a gentle, developmentally challenged youth who was falsely accused of raping a wealthy woman, and traces the efforts of a crusading journalist to uncover the racism and class corruption that led to his incarceration without a trial.

What the Eyes Don’t See by Mona Hanna-Attisha
Adult Nonfiction
From the heroic pediatrician who rallied a community and brought the fight for justice to national attention comes a powerful firsthand account of the Flint water crisis–a dramatic story of failed democracy and inspiring citizen advocacy and action.

Confessions of an Innocent Man by David R. Dow
Adult Fiction
Confessions of an Innocent Man centers on an innocent man convicted of murder and exonerated after six years on death row, written by the founder and director of the Texas Innocence Network.

On the Run: Fugitive Life in an American City by Alice Goffman
Adult Nonfiction
The author shares her six-year immersion in the swelling world of fugitives in America, where nearly five million people are on probation or parole. Goffman offers an ethnographic account focusing on the impact of probation and parole practices on one community, where living under “fear of capture and confinement” transforms lives.

Charged: The New Movement to Transform American Prosecution and End Mass Incarceration by Emily Bazelon
Adult Nonfiction
Renowned investigative journalist Bazelon exposes the unchecked power of the prosecutor as a driving force in America’s mass incarceration crisis, and also offers a way out.

Deep Delta Justice: A Black Teen, His Lawyer, and Their Groundbreaking Battle for Civil Rights in the South by Matthew Van Meter
Adult Nonfiction
In 1966 Louisiana, Gary Duncan leaped from his car to stop a fight between a bunch of white kids and two of his own cousins and was promptly accused of assault. He asked New Yorker Richard Sobol, working that summer at a New Orleans law firm, to represent him, and together they fought a case all the way to the Supreme Court that ended the pernicious habit of denying trial by jury.

Better, not Bitter: Living on Purpose in the Pursuit of Racial Justice by Yusef Salaam
Adult Nonfiction
Author Salaam’s memoir is an inspiring story that grew out of one of the gravest miscarriages of justice. At age fifteen, Salaam was one of the five teenage boys wrongly convicted and sentenced to prison in the Central Park jogger case. After seven years in prison he was an adult in a world he didn’t fully recognize or understand. In 2002, the sentences for the Central Park Five were overturned, and all five were exonerated for the crime they didn’t commit. Salaam committed to sharing his story and working to mobilize change in the systems that create injustice, as well as personal change in the reader of his story.

Printable Booklet


The Process

This year is the 12th annual One Book, One Michiana community reading program. Beginning in summer 2021, seven One Book Committee members began discussing over forty books from three different categories: modern fiction, classics, and nonfiction.

The committee unanimously agreed to select a nonfiction book this year. The goal was to choose a well-written, timely, and deeply meaningful work that provides insight and understanding through the author’s experiences. Committee members diligently read and discussed the books together. In June, they narrowed the list down to twelve, and in July, they chose the five final titles. With the help of community partners, the Library recruited eight community readers to read all five books and select the top three.

In September, the community readers met with the One Book Committee members to discuss the books, and they chose the three final titles. Finally, over 550 community members voted on the final three titles and chose the 2022 book.

Previous titles
2021 – True Grit
2019 – The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
2018 – The Distance Between Us
2017 – Devil In a Blue Dress
2016 – A Midsummer Night’s Dream
2015 – The Night Circus
2014 – Frankenstein
2013 – Killer Angels
2012 – Adventures of Sherlock Holmes
2011 – Rocket Boys
2010 – To Kill a Mockingbird

72.9% – Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption by Bryan Stevenson

10.8% – Memorial Drive: A Daughter’s Memoir by Natasha Trethewey

10% – Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates

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