One Book, One County


What is One Book, One County?

One Book, One County logoAshtabula County District Library’s One Book, One County initiative is the adaptation of a concept originated by the Washington Center for the Book designed to bring people of a community through the reading and discussion of a common book. Since 1998, communities all over the United States have increasingly embraced the notion of civic unity through the reading of literature. There are now statewide, citywide, countywide, and even countrywide reading programs all over the world. Popular book picks have been Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird, Ernest Gaines’s A Lesson Before Dying, Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451, and Rudolfo Anaya’s Bless Me, Ultima.

Our One Book, One County program invites all people who work or live in Ashtabula County to join in a conversation about the opioid epidemic affecting our county. The goal of this project is to make a positive impact across the entire county by encouraging the exploration and discussion of topics such as how we got here, prevention efforts, availability of treatment, effective law enforcement, and reducing stigma associated with addiction. We hope to engage individuals from high school age to the most senior of seniors.

We would like to begin this conversation by reading a book together to help us understand the origins of this crisis and its effect on our region. We have chosen Dreamland: The True Tale of America’s Opiate Epidemic by Sam Quinones, who will be visiting our community for a speaking engagement on October 16, 2018 at 7pm in the Lakeside High School Auditorium.  Mr. Quinones’ visit will be the culminating event for our One Book, One County program. This One Book, One County initiative will include book talks, Signature Health’s video and panel discussion, We Do Recovery: There is Hope. Seven Survivors, Seven Stories, and the annual PART Conference (previously Ashtabula Opioid Summit) which will be offered free of charge this year, and other opportunities for learning and engagement.

The Book

Dreamland: The True Tale of America’s Opioid Epidemic by Sam Quinones, winner of the 2015 National Book Critics Circle Award.

Cover of Dreamland

In 1929, in the blue-collar city of Portsmouth, Ohio, a company built a swimming pool the size of a football field; named Dreamland, it became the vital center of the community. Now, addiction has devastated Portsmouth, as it has hundreds of small rural towns and suburbs across America–addiction like no other the country has ever faced. How that happened is the riveting story of Dreamland.

With a great reporter’s narrative skill and the storytelling ability of a novelist, acclaimed journalist Sam Quinones weaves together two classic tales of capitalism run amok whose unintentional collision has been catastrophic. The unfettered prescribing of pain medications during the 1990s reached its peak in Purdue Pharma’s campaign to market OxyContin, its new, expensive–extremely addictive–miracle painkiller. Meanwhile, a massive influx of black tar heroin–cheap, potent, and originating from one small county on Mexico’s west coast, independent of any drug cartel–assaulted small town and mid-sized cities across the country, driven by a brilliant, almost unbeatable marketing and distribution system. Together these phenomena continue to lay waste to communities from Tennessee to Oregon, Indiana to New Mexico.

Introducing a memorable cast of characters–pharma pioneers, young Mexican entrepreneurs, narcotics investigators, survivors, and parents–Quinones shows how these tales fit together. Dreamland is a revelatory account of the corrosive threat facing
America and its heartland. (From the publisher)


Copies of the book are available to borrow from any county library or to purchase from the Kent State Ashtabula campus bookstore.

The Author

Picture of Sam QuinonesSam Quinones is a journalist, former LA Times reporter, author and storyteller.

A reporter for almost 30 years, Quinones lived and worked as a freelance writer in Mexico from 1994 to 2004. He spent time with gang members and governors, taco vendors and Los Tigres del Norte. He wrote about soap operas, and he lived briefly in a drug-rehabilitation clinic in Zamora, while hanging out with a street gang. He did the same with a colony of transvestites in Mazatlan, with the merchants in the Mexico City neighborhood of Tepito, and with the relegated PRI congressmen known as the Bronx. He hung out with the promoters of Tijuana’s opera scene and with the makers of plaster statues of Mickey Mouse and Spiderman in that city’s Colonia Libertad.

His previous two acclaimed books of narrative nonfiction about Mexico and Mexican immigration made him, according to the SF Chronicle Book Review, “the most original writer on Mexico and the border.”

In 1998, he received a Alicia Patterson Fellowship, and Columbia University’s Maria Moors Cabot Prize in 2008, for a career of excellence in reporting about Latin America.

He returned to the United States in 2004 to take a job with the LA Times, where for 10 years he wrote stories about immigrants, street gangs, drug trafficking, and marijuana growers in Northern California. (From his website)

Our Partners

2018’s One Book, One County is presented by the Ashtabula County District Library in partner with several agencies across the county, including the Ashtabula Foundation, LEADERship Ashtabula, Community Counseling Center, Signature Health, Ashtabula County Mental Health and Recovery Board, Kent State University Ashtabula, and all public libraries–specifically Grand Valley Public Library and Rock Creek Public Library.


Dreamland Event flyerSpecial One Book, One County programming kicks off at 8am on Wednesday, September 5th with ACDL Director, Penny Neubauer, speaking at the Profiles Breakfast Speaker Series, and concludes on Tuesday, October 16th with a free, public presentation by author Sam Quinones at 7 p.m. at the Lakeside High School Auditorium. Upcoming events can be found listed below.

One Book, One County Events

Ashtabula Library/Administration
4335 Park Ave Ashtabula, Ohio 44004
phone: (440) 997-9341
fax: (440) 992-7714

  • Monday-Thursday: 9am-8:30pm
  • Friday: 9am-6pm
  • Saturday: 9am-5pm

Geneva Library / Bookmobile
860 Sherman St. Geneva, Ohio 44041
phone: (440) 466-4521
fax: (440) 466-0162

  • Monday-Thursday: 10am-8:30pm
  • Friday and Saturday: 10am-5pm

Back to Top