One Book, One Community

The 2013 selection for Lancaster County’s One Book, One Community initiative is The Cellist of Sarajevo by Canadian author Steven Galloway, a novel that explores themes of survival and self-sacrifice during the Yugoslav conflict. Inspired by a true event, Galloway tells the story of a cellist who decides to honor the memory of twenty-two friends and neighbors killed in war-torn Sarajevo by playing his cello for twenty-two days on the spot where they died.

Borrow The Cellist of Sarajevo, or one of these novels with similar themes, from the Lititz Public Library.

Through Black Spruce by Joseph Boyden
Maintaining a bedside vigil, a woman remembers a painful search for her missing sister as her comatose uncle ruminates on a tragic betrayal that cost him his family.

Sweetness in the Belly by Camilla Gibb
Orphaned at the age of eight, a British-born Ethiopian woman devotes her life to the teachings of the Qur’an but is forced to flee London when she is persecuted for her foreign heritage.

Good to a FaultGood to a Fault by Marina Endicott
After a car crash, a woman feels responsible for a young family and must accept the consequences of doing the right thing when she invites them into her home.

The Jade Peony by Wayson Choy
A historical glimpse at the struggles of immigrant life in Vancouver’s Chinatown during the 1930s and 1940s is shared through the eyes of three siblings.

A Golden AgeA Golden Age by Tahmima Anam
Life goes on for a Bangladeshis widow and her children even as they maneuver the changing political climate and mounting conflicts that lead to the war for independence from Pakistan.

A Constellation of Vital Phenomena by Anthony Marra
In a rural village in 2004 Chechnya, a failed doctor provides a home for the traumatized eight-year-old daughter of a father abducted by Russian forces and reflects upon their shared past.

Deafening by Frances Itani
Finding love with a man who uses sign language to describe the beauty of sounds, a young deaf woman struggles with unforgiving surroundings when her husband is sent to the trenches of World War I.

Late Nights on Air by Elizabeth Hay
Set in the Canadian North, an eccentric group of transplants take a canoe trip into the Artic wilderness where the balance of their relationships shifts.

The Gift of RainThe Gift of Rain by Tan Twan Eng
On a Malaysian island prior to WWII, a half-British, half-Chinese young man find his loyalty torn between his aristocratic family and an older, Chinese diplomat who teaches him the art of aikido.

Pretty BirdsPretty Birds by Scott Simon
In Sarajevo, a Muslim teenager and her parents are driven from their home by the Bosnian Serbs, surviving appalling conditions through any means they can.

Disturbance of the Inner Ear by Joyce Hackett
A young woman, once a child musical prodigy, takes a teaching job in the home of a millionaire who possesses a priceless cello.

A Lily of the Field by John Lawton
This story follows the parallel lives of an Austrian cellist whose orchestra becomes part of the Hitler Youth and a Hungarian physicist who is recruited by the Americans to help build the atomic bomb.

The Small Boat of Great SorrowsThe Small Boat of Great Sorrows by Dan Fesperman
A former Bosnian policeman living in present-day Germany is recruited by the International War Crimes Tribunal to return home and help catch a WWII-era war criminal.

Find out what’s new at the library. Sign up for Wowbrary, a free weekly email listing books, movies and audiobooks that arrived at the library this week. Go to and click on Wowbrary.

Originally published on August 16, 2013 in the Lititz Record Express.