Bestselling novel named 2023 One Book-One Lincoln winner

Local readers chose a bestselling novel from a first-time novelist as the city’s 2023 One Book-One Lincoln winner.

Voters chose “Remarkably Bright Creatures” by Shelby Van Pelt as the community’s pick in the 21st installment of the Lincoln City Libraries’ annual summer program designed to encourage adults in Lincoln and Lancaster County to read.

The voting public chose Van Pelt’s debut novel from a group of three finalists, which also included Barbara Kingsolver’s “Demon Copperhead,” which received the 2023 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, and Jenny Tinghut Zhang’s “Four Treasurers of the Sky,” another debut novel.

“Remarkably Bright Creatures” is a tale of a widow who works at an aquarium, where she becomes acquainted with a curmudgeonly giant Pacific octopus, who knows more than anyone could imagine and aids her in finding her missing teenage son.

In a news release announcing the voters’ pick, the city called the “book charming, compulsively readable, and full of wit.”

“Van Pelt’s debut novel is a beautiful exploration of friendship, reckoning, and hope — a reminder that sometimes taking a hard look at the past can help uncover a future that once felt impossible,” the city said in the release.

Mayor Leirion Gaylor Baird described Van Pelt’s novel — which is a New York Times Bestseller, Amazon’s No. 1 book of 2022, and was named “Best Book of Summer” by the Chicago Tribune — as “a poignant tale that touches your heart and engages your imagination.”
“As Lincoln embarks on this literary journey together, we explore the intricate threads of our connections, the beauty that surrounds us, and the boundless potential within,” Gaylor Baird said. “‘Remarkably Bright Creatures’ is more than a book — it’s a catalyst for conversations that matter.”
The book is available at Lincoln City Libraries in print and large type, as well as downloadable audio and ebook formats.

Lincoln City Libraries are planning One Book-One Lincoln events, including a virtual author visit, for September and October.

The monthslong process that ultimately led Lincoln to its One Book selection this year began in February when a 17-member selection committee of community readers narrowed 125 nominations down to the top three.

The city’s library system has sponsored the annual program since 2002.

Visit Shelby Van Pelt’s Speaker Profile: