Community selects “The War Begins in Paris” by Theodore Wheeler for 2024 Omaha Reads

Each year, Omaha Public Library (OPL) encourages the community to vote for and read one book as a way to promote literacy and inspire discussion among Omaha and Douglas County residents. The selection is celebrated with book talks and other related programming. Join us in reading this year’s Omaha Reads selection, “The War Begins in Paris” by Theodore Wheeler.

“The War Begins in Paris” is a literary noir about two female war correspondents who cross paths in Paris on the precipice of World War II. The story, structured as a series of dispatches from Europe, explores themes of propaganda, power, and moral boundaries. As described on the book jacket, “When World War II makes landfall in the City of Lights, Mielle falls under Jane’s spell, growing ever more intoxicated by her glamour, self-possession, and reckless confidence. But as this recklessness devolves into militarism and an utter lack of humanity, Mielle is seized by a series of visions that show her an inescapable truth: Jane Anderson must die, and Mielle must be the one to kill her.”

Theodore Wheeler is a writer, bookseller, and college professor from Omaha. In addition to The War Begins in Paris, Wheeler authored the novels In Our Other Lives, and Kings of Broken Things, and the collection of short fiction Bad Faith. His writing has been featured in The Southern Review, The Kenyon Review, Boulevard, Narrative, LitHub, and many more journals. He has won fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, Nebraska Arts Council, and Akademie Schloss Solitude in Stuttgart, Germany. He has received residencies and support from institutions including the Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts, AWP Intro Journals Award, Nebraska Book Awards.

Get involved with Omaha Reads by checking out the book, participating in a program, and discussing the book with friends, family and neighbors. All programs are free to attend, but registration may be required. Learn more at

For the second year, OPL added a component to Omaha Reads, incorporating original artwork by a local artist. Oria Simonini is a painter, muralist, advocate, and community organizer who created an oil painting on wood paneling evoking the complicated interplay of the two main characters on different sides of the war, and in the striking eyes, Mielle’s visions and others’ perspectives.

Upcoming Omaha Reads Opportunities

Sunday, Oct. 27, 3 p.m.: Omaha Reads Author Visit with Theodore Wheeler. Join us for a conversation with the author of the 2024 Omaha Reads book, "The War Begins in Paris,” moderated by OPL Partnerships Manager Amy Mather, and followed by a Q & A session with the audience. Copies of "The War Begins in Paris" will be available for purchase and signing. Registration is required. The event will be held at the Downtown Branch of Omaha Public Library at 1401 Jones St.

Book Club Discussion Groups:

  • Tuesday, Aug. 6, 4 p.m.: Under the Dundee Sun Book Club at A.V. Sorensen Branch, 4808 Cass St.
  • Saturday, Aug. 17, 1 p.m.: Plain Pages Book Club at Willa Cather Branch, 1905 S. 44th St.
  • Wednesday, Aug. 21, 12:30 p.m.: Jolly Neighbors Book Club at Bess Johnson Elkhorn Branch, 2100 Reading Plz
  • Wednesday, Aug. 28, 1 p.m.: Go Readers Go Book Club at Milton R. Abrahams Branch, 5111 N. 90th St.
  • Thursday, Sept. 6, 10:30 a.m.: Between the Lines Book Club at Saddlebrook Branch, 14850 Laurel Ave.
  • Wednesday, Sept. 11, noon: Chat N Chew Book Club at Downtown Branch, 1401 Jones St.
  • Thursday, Sept. 12, 10:30 a.m.: Benson Pageturners Book Club at Benson Branch, 6015 Binney St.
  • Tuesday, Sept. 17, 6 p.m.: Novel Nights Book Club at Charles B. Washington Branch, 2868 Ames Ave.
  • Thursday, Sept. 19, 2 p.m.: Page Turners Book Club at Saddlebrook Branch, 14850 Laurel Ave.
  • Tuesday, Sept. 24, 6 p.m.: Willa Cather Book Club at Willa Cather Branch, 1905 S. 44th St.
  • Wednesday, Sept. 25, 6 p.m.: Double Booked Book Club at Millard Branch, 13214 Westwood Ln.
  • Thursday, Sept. 26, 6:30 p.m.: Friends & Strangers Book Club at Milton R. Abrahams Branch, 5111 N. 90th St.

Visit to reserve your copy of “The War Begins in Paris,” and for information about additional programs and resources offered at Omaha Public Library.