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Schenectady County book finalists an eclectic mix

It is the final three weeks before the voting will end for the third annual One County One Book event sponsored by the Schenectady County Public Library.

After last year's widely successful response to Jodi Picoult's My Sister's Keeper, the county library is eager for the book to be chosen.

Readers voted through the summer, and the library announced the top picks last month. The five finalists are part of an eclectic group of books ranging from a classic tale to nonfiction, a first for the library's final five. Coordinator of the event Karen Bradley said the library feels good about the diversity in the choices.

"This year's top five are books that really have range. We are excited to see what the public's response is," said Bradley.

The top five choices are "Before You Know Kindness," a family saga about the aftermath of a gun fire accident by Chris Bohjalian; "Hiroshima," John Hershey's collection of first person accounts after the atomic bomb was dropped; "The Kite Runner," Khaled Hosseini's epic tale of fathers and sons in Afghanistan that takes the reader from the final days of the monarchy to the atrocities of the present; "Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting by in America" by Barbara Ehrenreich, who reports the underside of capitalism and gives a first-hand account of surviving at the poverty level; and "Water for Elephants" by Sara Gruen, a compelling and gritty story set amid life in a traveling circus during the Great Depression.

Library branches throughout the county have plenty of copies available to the public and will loan them on a two-week basis, allowing more people to read the books before making their choice. Librarian Nancy Gifford said the idea is to get people reading, and the more books they read from the top five choices, the better.

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