The Life We Bury by Allen Eskens is One Book Choice  | Compendium

Cover of the Life We BuryThe Life We Bury by Allen Eskens is One Book Choice 

December 1, 2021 — Representatives from libraries announced the selection of “The Life We Bury” by Allen Eskens as the 2022 One Book, One Community: Our Region Reads! selection.

The public was asked to help choose a book from a narrowed-down list that they would like to read and discuss with the community. The public vote took place during the month of October 2021. There were four finalists chosen by the book selection committee on this year’s voting ballot: “The Life We Bury” by Allen Eskens, “Miracle Creek” by Angie Kim, “The Other Madisons: The Lost History of a President’s Black Family” by Bettye Kearse, and “They called Us Enemy” by George Takei.

The winning title, “The Life We Bury”, tells the story of Joe Talbert who had avoided doing his college English class assignment until it was almost too late. Interviewing an old person about his life didn’t sound all that interesting. Who cared? He had enough trouble dealing with his own life and family issues. Like his alcoholic, bi-polar mother and his autistic brother Jeremy. But when Joe decides to interview a Vietnam vet convicted of a murder 30 years ago who was living at a nearby nursing home, he thinks maybe it won’t be so boring after all.

Allen Eskens is the bestselling author of  ”The Life We Bury”, ”The Guise of Another”, ”The Heavens May Fall”, ”The Deep Dark Descending”, ”The Shadows We Hide”,Nothing More Dangerous”, and ”The Stolen Hours”. He is the recipient of the Barry Award, Minnesota Book Award, Rosebud Award (Left Coast Crime), and Silver Falchion Award, and has been a finalist for the Edgar® Award, Thriller Award, and Anthony Award. His books have been translated into 26 languages.

Eskens has a journalism degree from the University of Minnesota and a law degree from Hamline University. After law school, he studied creative writing in the M.F.A. program at Minnesota State University-Mankato, as well as the Loft Literary Center and the Iowa Summer Writer’s Festival. Eskens grew up in the hills of central Missouri. He now lives with his wife, Joely, in greater Minnesota where he recently retired after practicing criminal law for 25 years.

This year’s OBOC regional campaign represents collaboration between 40 libraries in four counties: Cumberland, Dauphin, Perry and York and their community partners. Many individual libraries participate in surrounding Central PA counties. Everyone is welcome to read and discuss the book. A reading group guide and related materials will be listed online in January 2022. Reading campaign organizers encourage residents to read the book during January in preparation to attend free programs and discussions that will be held at public libraries beginning in February.

Participating libraries will stock copies of the book that can be borrowed free of charge beginning in January 2022. Books will also be available for purchase at local booksellers. Program schedules for book discussion groups, an author talk, and other innovative activities will be available at all participating public libraries and throughout the community. This information may be accessed online and nearly all the programming is free of charge. Details will be announced on the One Book website: 

How the Books on the Public Vote Ballot were selected

The books on the public vote ballot were selected by the program’s book selection committee that reviews many books before making their final decisions. The four choices for the public vote were based upon the following broad criteria:

  • A good, discussable book. Books that make successful subjects for discussion have well-developed characters who are challenged by issues in their lives with which readers can identify
  • A book that is available in quantity at reasonable cost, in various media formats (paperback, large print, audio, CD, DVD, or video)
  • A book that is written at a high school reading level; and
  • A book that varies in type from others previously selected
  • An author, or recognized experts on the author, who would be willing to engage in discussion with readers at several events

For more information and updates about the campaign, go to: