Top 5 contenders announced for Sarasota County Libraries’ One Book Program

Community members encouraged to read the nominees and discuss their preferences on social media

Image courtesy Sarasota County

The staff of the Sarasota County Libraries and Historical Resources Department has announced the top five selections for the 2025 One Book, One Community program, “which has united residents through a shared love of reading” for more than two decades, staff notes.

Each year, a committee narrows down a list of potential selections to one book, a news release explains. Then, staff invites the author for discussions in March.

Concurrently, each library in the Sarasota system offers related programming and book clubs, the release continues.

“Readers are invited to follow along as the committee narrows down the candidates and reveals the final selection,” the release says.

The top five contenders are as follows:

  • The Art Thief by Michael Finkel— a “thrilling true story of the world’s most prolific art thief, Stéphane Breitwieser.”
  • Bite by Bite by Aimee Nezhukumatathil— a “lyrical book of short essays about food.”
  • The Geography of Bliss by Eric Weiner— this is part “travel memoir, part humor and part self-help guide, with the author having traveled the globe “to find the happiest place on Earth.”
  • Remarkably Bright Creaturesby Shelby Van Pelt— a “bestselling novel examining how interaction with living things can resolve loneliness and other adverse emotions.”
  • The Swimmers by Julie Otsuka— a “heartbreaking novel about the importance of exercise and routine.”

“It’s always an exciting time when the One Book Committee announces its top five finalists because members of the community will often treat this as a reading list, eager to decide for themselves which book they feel deserves to be the one,” said Renée Di Pilato, director of Sarasota County Libraries and Historical Resources, in the release. “It’s a fun way to foster connections through reading,” she added.

Supported by the Library Foundation for Sarasota County, the program became a Sarasota County tradition 22 years ago, the release notes. “It has facilitated discussions with many best-selling authors, including David Grann,” author of Killers of the Flower Moon; Suzanne Collins, author of The Hunger Games; and Patrick D. Smith, author of A Land Remembered, the release points out.

This year, the release continues, on March 1, “nearly 800 people attended events at Shannon Staub Library in North Port and Selby Library in Sarasota to hear from Pulitzer-Prize-winning author Ed Yong,” who talked about his book, An Immense World: How Animal Senses Reveal the Hidden Realms Around Us, which is the 2024 One Book selection.

The staff of the Sarasota County Libraries is inviting members of the community to read the above finalists for the 2025 One Book program “and discuss their favorites via social media, using the hashtag #OneBook2025,” as the committee members deliberate, the release adds.