Route One Reads

For the third consecutive year, the Virginia Center for the Book will participate in the Route One Reads initiative, a program under the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress. In 2017, the theme of the initiative will be memoirs and biographies, and the selected book to represent the Commonwealth is Sing for Your Life: A Story of Race, Music, and Family by Daniel Bergner.

About the Book: Sing for Your Life tells the story of Ryan Speedo Green, who grew up in Yorktown, Virginia, with an absent father and volatile, abusive mother. At age twelve, Ryan was uncontrollable and was sent to Virginia’s juvenile facility of last resort. In 2011, at age twenty-four, Ryan won a nationwide competition hosted by New York’s Metropolitan Opera, beating out 1,200 other talented singers. Today, he is a rising star performing major roles at the Met and Europe’s most prestigious opera houses.

New York Times bestseller and a New York Times and Washington Post Notable Book of the Year, the book chronicles Ryan’s suspenseful, racially charged and artistically intricate journey from solitary confinement to stardom. Writer Daniel Bergner takes readers on Ryan’s path toward redemption, introducing a cast of memorable characters—including the two teachers who redirect his rage into music and his long-lost father who finally reappears to hear Ryan sing.

To read the New York Times review of the book, CLICK HERE.

About the Author: Daniel Bergner is a contributing writer for the New York Times Magazine and the author of five books of nonfiction as well as a novel. His writing has also appeared in the Atlantic, Granta, Harper’s, Mother Jones, Talk, the New York Times Book Review, and is included in The Norton Reader: An Anthology of Nonfiction.






About Route One Reads

Connecting the 2,369 miles of U.S. Route 1 from Ft. Kent, Maine, to Key West, Florida, the Route One Reads initiative is a partnership between 16 affiliate Centers for the Book to promote books that illuminate important aspects of their states or commonwealths for readers traveling the major and meandering highway. The initiative was launched at the 2015 National Book Festival in Washington, D.C.

The diverse reading list created by Route One Reads highlights each individual State Center for the Book while celebrating the East Coast as a whole. By participating in Route One Reads, readers can travel across 15 states and the District of Columbia without taking a single footstep, or load selected books into the car for a literary road trip. The full list of featured books for the 2017 Route One Reads initiative is available along with a map of participating states at

Route One Reads is a partnership between the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress, and its affiliate Centers for the Book in the following states: Connecticut; Delaware; Florida; Georgia; Maine; Maryland; Massachusetts; New Hampshire; New Jersey; New York; North Carolina; Pennsylvania; Rhode Island; South Carolina; Virginia; and, Washington, D.C.

About the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress

Established by Congress in 1977 to “stimulate public interest in books and reading,” the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress is a national force for reading and literacy promotion. It sponsors educational programs that reach readers of all ages through its affiliated state centers and collaborations with nonprofit reading-promotion partners and through the Young Readers Center and Poetry and Literature Center at the Library of Congress. The Center for the Book is part of the Library’s National and International Outreach service unit.