One Book, One Community returns for 2018

Community Librarian Suzanne Krueger unveils this year's book (Photo by Vanessa Ray)

One Book, One Community (OBOC) has enjoyed countywide support for the past 12 years.

The mystery behind the next book is part of the excitement. On Sept. 13, those wondering what the 2018 choice would be got their answer.

“Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet,” the debut novel by Jamie Ford, has been selected as the 2018 OBOC novel.

OBOC coordinator Cheryl Johnston, who showed retirement from MCCC last spring does not mean she’s slowing down, spoke of how the selection committee made its choice.

“Our philosophy is to choose a book we think will provoke lively discussion,” Johnston said. “We hope it will enhance our community awareness of particular issues so that we can grow as a community.”

Held on a balmy evening at the Monroe County Library Ellis Branch, the event featured a personal message from Ford – through a video he recorded just for Monroe’s OBOC.

Ford laughed about the consequences of his book being read by so many students.

“I’ve become homework,” Ford said.

He then joked about how students often contact him due to there being no Cliff's Notes on his story.

“I get these wonderful letters saying ‘Mr. Ford, I totally loved your book. The Hotel on the Corner of Sweet and Sour is my all-time favorite. You think you could answer these 12 questions for me?’” Ford said.

Ford’s humorous optimism presented a stark contrast to the heavy subject matter of his novel.

With part of the story taking place in WWII era Seattle, “Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet,” is a historical fiction that follows the star-crossed relationship between a Chinese-American boy named Henry Lee and a Japanese-American girl named Keiko Okabe.

A large part of why “Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet” was chosen is its examination of the internment of Japanese American’s during WWII.

Johnston thinks the racism and xenophobia in the U.S. during WWII should serve as a reminder of societies needs to examine the way immigrants are currently treated.

“The story addresses many of the same topics we are discussing as a nation,” Johnston said.

The committee members are currently planning the events that coincide with the book.

For more information or to get involved with OBOC, visit