Morton Grove's One Book, One Village debuts with The Great Believers

Rebecca Hayes

August 11, 2021

By Rebecca Hayes

Categories: Collections, Library News, Spotlight

Morton Grove Public Library is excited to debut our first One Book, One Village program!  

One Book, One Village programs are a way to encourage the community to come together by reading the same book at the same time and share experiences via related programs and discussions. With this program, we hope to deepen an appreciation of reading, promote the sharing of ideas, and build a stronger sense of community.

One Book One Village

Join us in reading the multi-award-winning 2018 novel The Great Believers by Rebecca Makkai, then come together for discussions and events centered on the book—culminating in an in-person visit from author Rebecca Makkai on Sunday, October 24!

Find further reading lists, author information, and more on our One Book, One Village page at


About the book

Makkai banner

The Great Believers is a striking, emotional journey through the 1980s AIDS crisis and its long-term effects on the lives of survivors. When the novel opens, it’s 1985 and Yale Tishman has just lost his friend Nico to AIDS. He’s not the first friend he’s lost, and not nearly the last he’ll lose to the terrifying, still-mysterious disease.

Soon after, Nico’s younger sister Fiona connects Yale to her nonagenarian great-aunt, who studied art in Paris in the 1910s and now wants to donate her personal collection of never-before-seen work by now-famous artists to the Northwestern University art gallery, where Yale works in development. This potentially career-making discovery arrives along with a crushing revelation in Yale’s personal life.

Another thread throughout the novel takes reader to Paris in 2015 as Fiona searches for her long-estranged adult daughter. Fiona, who became the go-to medical and emergency contact for Yale and his friends as they all became incapacitated by AIDS, has her own past secrets to wrestle with. As the two narratives intertwine, Makkai creates a powerful, unforgettable meditation, not on death, but rather on the power and gift of life. This novel will undoubtedly touch the hearts and minds of readers. (Courtesy of NoveList Plus)


Beyond the Book

Explore the world of The Great Believers through these events and resources.

The Great Believers’ Chicago Storymap

Visit for a detailed “storymap” created by Library staff that plots out notable locations in and around Chicago mentioned in The Great Believers.


Tap the event titles to register.

DIY Tote Bag Screen Printing
Learn more about the One Book, One Village program and this year’s book selection at our kick-off event, where you can win a free copy of the book and screen-print your own “One Book, One Village” tote bag to take home!

Stories from HIV/AIDS Care Unit 371 with MK Czerwiec
Tuesday, Oct. 5, 7-8 pm
MK Czerwiec discusses her graphic novel Taking Turns: Stories from HIV/AIDS Care Unit 371 and shares her experiences working as a nurse on Illinois Masonic Medical Center’s HIV/AIDS unit in the 1990s.

Book Talk
Wednesday, Oct. 6, 1-2 pm
Join us to hear more about The Great Believers, Morton Grove’s first One Book, One Village pick, and get a list of similar titles to enhance your reading experience.

LGBT Communities in Chicago with Rick Karlin
Thursday, Oct. 14, 7-8 pm
Learn about the history of Boystown and LGBT communities in Chicago from author, former editor of a Chicago gay publication, and Chicago LGBT Hall of Fame inductee Rick Karlin.

Between the Lines Book Discussion: The Great Believers
Tuesday, Oct. 19, 7-8 pm
Between the Lines meets for phone discussions via Zoom. Call 312-626-6799 five minutes before the start of the program and enter the meeting ID and password. Registered patrons will receive a call the day before the program with the meeting ID and password for joining the event.

Meet the Author: Rebecca Makkai
Sunday, October 24, 2-3 pm
Join the Library as we welcome Rebecca Makkai, Pulitzer Prize-nominated author of The Great Believers, for the culminating event of our first One Book, One Village program. After a presentation from the author there will be a short Q&A session. Attendees are welcome to submit written questions via Zoom during the event. 

Rebecca Hayes is the Reader Services Librarian at Morton Grove Public Library.