One Book One Sioux County

One Book One Sioux County a collaborative program among the 8 public and 3 academic libraries in Sioux County in an attempt at community building through community conversation.

In this annual endeavor people and libraries-both public and academic-across Sioux County read and discuss the same book. The libraries host book talks in their own towns throughout the year. In the fall a collaborative event is held at a central location. In the past this has been the author visiting and a panel discussion of people involved in the story.


Join author Allen Eskens on Thursday, November 7, 2019. More details will follow as the date approaches.


This year’s selection is The Life We Bury by Allen Eskens.

“College student Joe Talbert has the modest goal of completing a writing assignment for an English class. His task is to interview a stranger and write a brief biography of the person. With deadlines looming, Joe heads to a nearby nursing home to find a willing subject. There he meets Carl Iverson, and soon nothing in Joe’s life is ever the same.

Carl is a dying Vietnam veteran–and a convicted murderer. With only a few months to live, he has been medically paroled to a nursing home, after spending thirty years in prison for the crimes of rape and murder.

As Joe writes about Carl’s life, especially Carl’s valor in Vietnam, he cannot reconcile the heroism of the soldier with the despicable acts of the convict. Joe, along with his skeptical female neighbor, throws himself into uncovering the truth, but he is hamstrung in his efforts by having to deal with his dangerously dysfunctional mother, the guilt of leaving his autistic brother vulnerable, and a haunting childhood memory. 

Thread by thread, Joe unravels the tapestry of Carl’s conviction. But as he and Lila dig deeper into the circumstances of the crime, the stakes grow higher. Will Joe discover the truth before it’s too late to escape the fallout?”

Carl’s story is not the only one causing drama in Joe’s life. He’s also helping care for his autistic younger brother, handling his dysfunctional mother, and facing his own dark memories.


About The Author- Allen Eskens

A long-time criminal defense attorney, Allen Eskens turned his hand toward fiction a few years ago. His debut novel, The Life We Bury, received a number of awards and was a finalist for the prestigious Edgar Award for mystery novels. Eskens lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota.



Book Clubs will discuss the book at the following times & places.

  • January 28 at 6:30 pm – Alton Public Library


Special events at local libraries:

  • TBA

One Book One Sioux County Selections by Year:

  • 2018 – The Witness of Combines by Kent Meyer
  • 2017 – The Boys in the Bunkhouse: Servitude and Salvation in the Heartland by Dan Barryclick here to view the video recording of the Panel Discussion featuring Clark Kauffman, Jane Hudson, Sue Gant, & Ronald Vos
  • 2016 – Ordinary Grace by William Kent Krueger