One Day

One Day

The Extraordinary Story of An Ordinary 24 Hours in America

Book - 2019
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On New Year's Day 2013, two-time Pulitzer Prize-winner Gene Weingarten asked three strangers to, literally, pluck a day, month, and year from a hat. That day--chosen completely at random--turned out to be Sunday, December 28, 1986, by any conventional measure a most ordinary day. Weingarten spent the next six years proving that there is no such thing.

That Sunday between Christmas and New Year's turned out to be filled with comedy, tragedy, implausible irony, cosmic comeuppances, kindness, cruelty, heroism, cowardice, genius, idiocy, prejudice, selflessness, coincidence, and startling moments of human connection, along with evocative foreshadowing of momentous events yet to come. Lives were lost. Lives were saved. Lives were altered in overwhelming ways. Many of these events never made it into the news; they were private dramas in the lives of private people. They were utterly compelling.

One Day asks and answers the question of whether there is even such a thing as "ordinary" when we are talking about how we all lurch and stumble our way through the daily, daunting challenge of being human.
Publisher: New York : Blue Rider Press, [2019]
ISBN: 9780399166662
Characteristics: 373 pages ; 24 cm

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jquick99
Jan 19, 2020

I couldn’t get into this. The first story was the best, then most of the rest were bummer stories. I also didn’t care for the writing style...wondering where the author is going.

PimaLib_NormS Dec 24, 2019

Occasionally, someone else’s wonderful idea will come to my attention, causing me to smack my forehead in frustration and exclaim, “Dang, I wish I had thought of that!” “One Day: The Extraordinary Story of an Ordinary 24 Hours in America” by Gene Weingarten is the cause of my latest outburst of cranial violence (Full disclosure: I used a different word than “dang”, however). Maybe it has been done before and I’m simply unaware of it, but when casting about for a book idea, this one must have seemed like a big bowl of “oh, yeah!” Pick a day, totally at random, research the heck out of it, then write it all down, and there’s your book. That is a good . . . no . . . that is a great idea. Through a series of blind draws, December 28, 1986 became the chosen day. Weingarten was a bit disappointed with this date because it happened to be the Sunday between Christmas and New Year’s, a notoriously slow day for news. But, as it turned out, it was perfect for such an endeavor. No cataclysmic historical events happened on that day to overwhelm the intriguing, sometimes compelling, formerly anonymous stories that make up the chapters in this book. This was just another day in America. Not to the people featured in pages of “One Day”, however. Gene Weingarten’s obvious point here is that momentous, life-altering events happen in anonymity to people every day of the year.

Tigard_ErikC Oct 31, 2019

This is a remarkable result from an unusual premise. As a history, it is an incredibly detailed look at the currents of world history through the lens of events in a dozen or so non-historical (if not always ordinary) lives. As a look at the human condition it is by turns joyous and terrible, mundane and mysterious. By the end you will know all of the people who walked through parts of their life story on that day in late December 1986 as well as anyone can, perhaps. This book stands alongside the best of Kuralt, Keillor, and maybe Ann Rule.

JCLBetM Aug 18, 2019

I was hooked by the premise--find out what happened on a random day to try and answer whether there is such a thing as a normal day--and I was not disappointed. An intriguing depiction of how an "ordinary" day holds moments that affect lives for years to come. While some stories were sad, and even devastating, I was left feeling more hopeful about the possibilities of life and with a greater sense of appreciation about what may appear to be the mundane days of my life. Good for book club discussions.

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