One Book Thomas County returns, opening community conversations

Sep. 12—THOMASVILLE- Exiting from an unexpectedly long interlude following its 2019 event featuring author Delia Owens, One Book Thomas County has returned, and this time it is prepared to get the public talking. Or rather: listening.

Similar to numerous other cities and communities across the country, One Book invites the residents of Thomas County and the surrounding cities to celebrate the connective power of literature through the collective reading of one book. One Book then brings the book's author to Thomasville for an interactive discussion about their book and how it came to be.

This year's selected read is You're Not Listening: What You're Missing and Why It Matters, by New York Times and The Economist contributing journalist Kate Murphy, who will be visiting Thomasville on Thursday, September 28th.

This year not only marks One Book's restoration as an annual Thomas County event, but commemorates its tenth year gathering the community together through the outlet of literature. One Book is honored to be receiving a Thomasville city proclamation toward its work in uniting Thomas County communities of all ages and sparking dialogues to deepen those connections. At a time when society at large is becoming even more disconnected despite the ever-growing platforms to connect everyone, this year's One Book could not be a more apt title in which to carry on the program's tradition of learning to understand and grow with neighbors and former strangers through literature.

Heralded as "an intriguing and constructive take on the problem [of not listening]..and a manual for better communication" by the London Times, Kate Murphy deep dives into explaining why we're not listening, what it's doing to us, and how we can reverse the trend. She makes accessible the psychology, neuroscience, and sociology of listening while also introducing the reader to some of the best listeners out there (including a CIA agent, focus group moderator, bartender, radio producer, and top furniture salesman). Handpicked by Malcolm Gladwell, Adam Grant, Susan Cain and Daniel Pink for the Next Big Idea Club, The Washington Post named it one of its "Notable Works of Fiction" in 2020.

It pays to note that where One Book Thomas County differs from its sister programs throughout the country is its active reach to the upcoming generation. Since its launch in 2013, One Book has purchased and gifted the three participating Thomas County high schools with copies of each year's selected book, whose teachers incorporate it into that fall's curriculum, and brings the author to each school for an intimate discussion.

This year, One Book has turned its attention to community engagement and lessened its typical array of celebratory activities. With organizations such the Thomasville Chamber of Commerce Leadership group and City of Thomasville Council members reading and engaging with the book, this year's selected read is truly speaking to the community mindset.

"We are finding that the community is all in agreement that the speed of change is disorientating us and creating a disconnect," says current One Book Chair and Thomas County Public Library Marketing Coordinator, Samantha Hanchett. "We are all seeking a way back to one another and this year's book is a good addition in achieving that end. One Book is ecstatic to be able to provide this tangible opportunity to connect our communities through the transformational power of literature."

Preceding the author's discussion on Thursday, September 28th, Thomasville's local independent bookshop owner, Annie Jones, will be leading a delightful Lunch and Learn book discussion at her downtown bookstore, The Bookshelf, on Wednesday, September 27th at noon. Attendees are invited to bring a bag lunch and partake in a book club-style talk about this year's selection in anticipation of the author's visit the following evening. There is no cost to attend this event.

Tickets for the panel discussion with author Kate Murphy on Thursday, September 28th, 7:00 p.m, in the Thomas County Board of Education auditorium, are available for $10 online at One Book's website ( or in-person at the Thomas County Public Library's main branch in Thomasville or at the independent bookshop, The Bookshelf. For further information, speak with Samantha Hanchett at the Thomas County Public at 229-225-5252 or