Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Get Involved!

2009 is the year to get involved in Santa Monica’s Citywide Reads! Become a volunteer book discussion group facilitator.

Prospective discussion facilitators read the book selected for the program, and attend a two-hour training session February 5th or 7th. This year’s selected title is The Shadow Catcher by Marianne Wiggins. Trained volunteers commit to leading at least one hour-and-a-half book discussion group, scheduled at various venues in Santa Monica from March 7th through April 4th. For Information call the Library (310) 458-8646 or visit the Santa Monica Citywide Reads website

Did You Know?

…About Book Clubs

- Benjamin Franklin led a book group in Philadelphia in the 1770s and book clubs flourished in nineteenth-century America.

- Nancy Pearl, executive director of the WA Center for the Book from 1993 to 2004, initiated the “One Book” movement in 1998. She’s also the model for the first Librarian Action Figure!*

- Only 6% of Americans say they participate in book discussion groups where difficult ideas are exchanged (Gallup Poll, Sept. 1999)


Monday, December 8, 2008

Mark Your Calendars : March 7 - April 4

The dates for Citywide Reads 2009 are set! Free book discussions and special events are being scheduled for March 7 to April 4.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

The Shadow Catcher is our 2009 Title

The Shadow Catcher, by Marianne Wiggins is the 2009 Santa Monica Citywide Reads featured title.

In The Shadow Catcher, Marianne Wiggins intricately weaves two stories of family history, personal loss, and landscape. One narrative follows a fictional Marianne Wiggins who has written a book on Edward Curtis and is called to the death bed of her father, a man she knows died when she was a child. The other narrative follows Edward Curtis and his family, who traveled across North America to photograph Native peoples through his imagination and lens at the turn of the twentieth century. Photographs from the Curtis archives and the Wiggins family album add to this reflection of myths and truths.

When the Citywide Reads Advisory Committee met, we unanimously selected this novel. We loved it that it combined a historical fiction narrative with contemporary social commentary on Los Angeles. We look forward to some wonderful book discussions and we are already planning programs exploring Edward Curtis, Native American culture, and photography as well as hosting local author Marianne Wiggins.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

There's Still Time to Suggest a Book for 2009!

We are still accepting suggestions.

Did you love our selection and want more like it? Did you wish we had chosen something else? Now is your chance to let us know what you want to read with your community.

Book suggestions must be works of fiction that appeal to a variety of people. Appropriate titles should challenge yet be accessible and inspire discussion. Only novels available in a variety of formats such as paperback and audiobook will be considered. The deadline for suggestions is July 31, 2008.

Please email citywidereads@smgov.net, post a comment here, or stop by your local library to make suggestions.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Take our survey!

Santa Monica Citywide Reads Survey
Tell us how you participated in Citywide Reads 2008; give us suggestions for next year's Citywide Reads.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Jim Lynch Visits Santa Monica

On a very warm afternoon last Saturday, Jim Lynch spoke to an enthusiastic audience of The Highest Tide readers. He read from his book, talked about his inspiration and experience of writing the novel, and answer audience questions.

Many thanks to Santa Monica College and Santa Monica College Associates and the California Center for the Book for making this event happen.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

The Cover Me! Teen Book Cover Art Contest Winner Revealed

The winner is Hannah, age 13. She created the cover shown below and stated, "The paparazzi made the comment 'the beach talks to Miles,' and Miles says in one instance, 'the beach is trying to tell us something.' My cover has a shellphone. It is supposed to be symbolic of the beach 'speaking' to Miles, and his special knowledge of the bay."

Congratulations, Hannah! She will meet Jim Lynch for lunch this Saturday before the author appears at 3:00 at Santa Monica College.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Author! Author!

Santa Monica Citywide Reads is in its closing week, and we've saved the best for last. The Highest Tide's author, Jim Lynch, will be making an appearance at the Santa Monica College's Pavilion (Gym) on Saturday, May 17, at 3:00 p.m. Admission is completely free and all ages are welcome. Jim will introduce and give some background on the book that's bringing us all together and audience members will have the opportunity to ask him questions. A book sale and signing will follow.

Parking at Santa Monica College on Saturday is free. The college's address is 1900 Pico Boulevard. We recommend parking in Parking Structure A (see map below), which is accessed off Pico Boulevard, near 17th Street. The author talk will take place in the Pavilion (Gym), which is located south of Parking Structure A, and can be found near the bottom center of the map detail posted below.

We hope you will join us!

Monday, May 12, 2008

Three More Discussions Left

It's not too late! There are three more opportunities to participate in a Citywide Reads discussion:

  • Monday, May 12 at 7:00 p.m. in the Main Library's Multipurpose Room, 601 Santa Monica Blvd.
  • Tuesday, May 13 at 7:30 p.m. at Barnes & Noble, 1201 3rd Street Promenade
  • Friday, May 16 at 2:00 p.m. at It's A Grind, 602 Santa Monica Blvd.

Monday, May 5, 2008

A Unique Spot to Discuss the Book

One of the things we're most excited about with this year's Citywide Reads series is the several new venues where book discussions will be held. Tying in beautifully with the marine-based themes of The Highest Tide, one the new locations is Heal The Bay's Santa Monica Pier Aquarium. The discussion will take place Thursday, May 8, at 6:30 p.m., and discussion participants will get a unique after-hours tour of the Aquarium after the discussion. The Aquarium is located on the Santa Monica Pier, in the blue and white building beneath the carousel (the orange building).

For more information on the Aquarium, visit their website by clicking here.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Discussion Question: Could The Highest Tide Be Set in Santa Monica

At all of the book discussions so far, participants have remarked on the sea and Puget Sound being a character in the book. Do you think this novel could have been set in Santa Monica?
Would the story be very different?

We invite your comments! Click on the comments link and type in what you think. You don't need to register with blogger, just make sure to type in the word verification.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Upcoming Family Friendly Events

Want to get the whole family involved with Citywide Reads?
  • The documentary Deep Blue will be screened on Tuesday, April 29 (with closed captions) at 7:00 p.m. and on Saturday, May 3 at 3:30 in the Main Library's Marting Luther King Jr. Auditorium. This breathtaking BBC film features underwater and seaside life and is appropriate for all ages.
  • Entertainer Paul Tracey is coming! He will be in the Main Library's Children Activity Room on Thursday, May 1 at 7:00 p.m. with his eight-foot globe. Paul Tracey encourages children to care for our planet by using music.
  • Don't forget that entries for the Teen Book Cover Art contest are due on April 30. Teens, aged 13 to 18 or in grades 8 to 12, can design a cover for The Highest Tide. Entry forms are available at the Youth Reference Desk at the Main Library.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Learn about the Santa Monica Bay

On Thursday, April 24, Heal the Bay teams up with the Library for another Citywide Reads program. The unique ecology of Santa Monica Bay will be discussed, with a focus on the causes and consequences of ocean pollution. Learn what you can do to decrease your impact on Santa Monica Bay. The program begins at 7:00 pm in the Main Library's Multipurpose Room.

We Got to Know Rachel Carson – the Quiet Rebel

A very interested group attended our special Citywide Reads program on Rachel Carson on Tuesday night. Tara Treiber, the Education Manager for Heal the Bay, Santa Monica Pier Aquarium, led us through the life and times of this pioneering scientist and environmentalist, and revealed background information on her leadership of the anti-pesticide movement. Growing up during the depression and going into “real” science during a time when women just didn’t do that, Rachel Carson became a hero to many, including Miles O’Malley, the protagonist in this year's Citywide Reads selection, The Highest Tide.

We got a real sense of Ms. Carson’s appeal when an audience member, Robert van de Hoek, informed us that he’d come all the way from Palos Verdes for tonight’s talk. Mr. van de Hoek, co-director of the Ballona Institute, shared a common concern for many of us in this area, the health of our bay. Fortunately, our next Citywide Reads special event will cover just that topic. Heal the Bay will discuss the Santa Monica Bay on Thursday night, at 7:00 pm in the Main Library’s Multipurpose Room. Join us to take part in this exciting event.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Call-In Discussion

Can't make it to one of our discussions? No problem. Just tune into Channel 16 for a live, moderated discussion of The Highest Tide on Wednesday, April 23 at 6:30. Local author Beverly Gray, California Center for the Book Director Mary Menzel, and Citywide Reads Advisory Committee member Max Diamond will host the discussion.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

A Beautiful Day for Seafood

It was a lovely day today, and a perfect time for our much-anticipated cooking demonstration from the Too Hot Tamales, Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger, owners and head chefs of our neighbor, Border Grill. Audience members started showing up well over an hour before the demo, and those who made it in time to taste some of the samples these sassy chefs had to offer were very happy they did.

Inspired by The Highest Tide's marine-based themes, Mary Sue and Susan put together a seafood based presentation, spiced with a healthy helping of fun and laughs. The recipes they demonstrated were a yummy shrimp ceviche; a delicious seared calamari entree with white beans, roasted red peppers and Spanish chorizo; and a creamy geoduck clam chowder. Audience members were treated to sample tastings of a refreshing minty lime cooler drink and the shrimp ceviche. Mary Sue and Susan also gave tips on how to run a sustainable kitchen, such as buying only domestic (vs. imported) shrimp. Some of the tips they offered can be found on the Monterey Bay Aquarium's Seafood Watch Program, at http://www.seafoodwatch.org.

Susan Feniger explains how she likes things spicy. And she always insists on fresh ground black pepper. White pepper is a definite no-no in her kitchen.

Mary Sue Milliken eagerly watched the clam chowder, which was taking its time coming to a necessary boil.

Mary Sue holds up what has become the unofficial mascot of this year's Citywide Reads program, a geoduck (pronounced "gooey-duck") clam. To learn more about this enormous and very interesting sea creature, be sure to check out "Three Feet Under: Digging Deep for the Geoduck Clam," a documentary we're showing at the Library on Wednesday, May 7th. For more information on that program, scroll down to our April 15th blog entry. We hope to see you there and at many more of our still upcoming Citywide Reads events and discussions.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

The Highest Tide's Quiet Hero: Rachel Carson

One of the things we're hearing most about The Highest Tide from readers is how believable and real Miles O'Malley's fictional world feels. One element that sticks out for many is Miles' reverence for real-life environmental hero, Rachel Carson.

From Chapter 5, in a scene where Miles and his teenage buddy Phelps are clamming together and Phelps is questioning Miles about Carson, there is this touching exchange:

"You know everything about her, don't you?" [Phelps asked.]

I didn't say anything for a couple beats. "I know she was brave and brilliant."

Brave and brilliant is definitely an assessment that many who know Rachel Carson would wholeheartedly agree with. At a time when women were often roundly ignored and disregarded, Rachel Carson made a significant mark on the scientific community and the world at large. A scientist, a biologist (both marine and land), and a writer, Carson is often credited with spearheading the modern environmentalist movement. Her books include The Sea Around Us, The Edge of the Sea, The Sense of Wonder, and the seminal environmental classic Silent Spring, which warned of the dangers of pesticides.

Yet there are many who don't know who Rachel Carson is, or know little about her. On Tuesday, April 22, we hope to change that with another of our Citywide Reads special events, "Getting to Know Rachel Carson." Tara Treiber, the Santa Monica Pier Aquarium's Education Manager, has graciously agreed to join us to lead this introduction, and we hope you can join us. The lecture gets started at 6:30 p.m. in the Main Library's second floor Multipurpose Room. For more information, click here for a PDF of the flyer posted below.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

3 Feet Under: Digging Deep for the Geoduck Clam

A last minute addition to our Citywide Reads lineup of special events is a screening of the documentary 3 Feet Under: Digging Deep for the Geoduck Clam. Learn more about one of the sea creatures featured in The Highest Tide with the movie Entertainment Weekly calls, "A film for those who are fascinated by obscure cultural phenomena." Following the screening, producer and director Justin Bookey will discuss the film, whose subject is the world's largest burrowing clam. The Geoduck (pronounced gooey duck) Clam sports a neck three feet long, has a life span of 160-plus years, and is jokingly referred to as the Washington State Bird.

The film will screen at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, May 7 in the Main Library's MLK Jr. Auditorium and will be followed by a discussion with Justin.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Santa Monica Explores Our Environment with Cousteau

Citywide Reads had a fantastic kick-off event with a memorable afternoon with Jean-Michel Cousteau. One hundred and fifty people learned about our oceans and ways to help when he gave a presentation and answered audience questions.

After the presentation, attendees and numerous other library patrons learned even more at hands-on booths provided by the Ocean Futures Society, Catalina Environmental Leadership Program, and Ambassadors of the Environment. Cookies baked in a solar oven were a crowd pleaser!

Jean-Michel graciously stayed for over an hour answering questions and posing for photographs, here with librarians Julie and Erica.

Jean-Michel thanks his amazing, hardworking team.

Thanks also to the Environmental Programs Divison for sponsorship.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Citywide Reads Gets Spicy with the Too Hot Tamales

The Santa Monica Citywide Reads 2008 program is literally cram-packed with special events, and this year we’re adding a zesty new flavor to our menu of fun programs: a seafood cooking demonstration from Food Network TV hosts and local favorites, The Too Hot Tamales.

Inspired by the marine-based themes and the beach community setting of Jim Lynch’s The Highest Tide, Border Grill and Ciudad chefs and proprietors Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger have put together a seafood cooking demo full of their signature authentic Latin flavors. They’ll show you how to create a simple but delicious shrimp ceviche appetizer, a spicy seared calamari entrĂ©e, and a rich and robust geoduck clam chowder. Don't know what a geoduck (that's pronounced "gooey-duck") is? Just stay tuned, and we'll have lots more on that in a future blog entry.

The Too Hot Tamales event takes place on Sunday, April 20, 2008 at 2:00 p.m. in the Main Library’s outdoor North Entry Courtyard. The Main Library is located at 601 Santa Monica Bouleavard, and the North Entry Courtyard is off 6th Street, directly across from the YMCA. This event is free to all ages, and seating is first come, first served.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Jean-Michel Cousteau Is Coming!

Jean-Michel Cousteau is coming to the library next Sunday, April 13 at 2:00 p.m. in the MLK Auditorium. He is continuing his father's legacy by addressing the issues of environmental education, ocean conservation, and sustainable education. Hands-on demonstrations and booths will be available after Mr. Cousteau speaks. All ages are welcome!

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

What's Your Favorite Citywide Reads Book?

The Highest Tide copies are flying out of the library. We hope the entire community is gearing up for our best Citywide Reads yet. But before we begin this year's program, we are curious what you thought of previous programs. What was your favorite Citywide Reads book?

Were you riveted by a glimpse into Mao's China in Dai Sijie's Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress for our first Citywide Reads effort?

Did you feel the pride of Santa Monica when we read local author Christopher Isherwood's Berlin Stories, the fictionalized account of his experiences as a young man in Berlin during the period that led up to World War II?

In 2005, did you find Khaled Hosseini's The Kite Runner, the story of the relationship between two boys of different social statuses, to be compelling?

Did you enjoy following the adventures of nine-year-old Oskar Schell as he attempted to learn more about a key found in his deceased father’s closet in Jonathan Safran Foer's Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close?

Were you swept up into the world of beautiful artist Clare and dashing time-traveling librarian Henry De Tamble in last year's The Time Traveler's Wife, by Audrey Niffenegger?

Or did you love them all?

Monday, March 31, 2008

Behind the Scenes: Book Discussion Leaders

Each year a team of trained volunteers lead our Citywide Reads book discussions. This trusty team of literary devotees work tirelessly to provide the most interesting book discussions around. Volunteers Tiffany, Jessica, Sarina, and Ivy are ready. Are you?

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Citywide Reads at the Farmers' Market

Did you miss us at Wednesday's farmers' market? Don't worry, you have another chance. We'll be at Sunday's market on Main Street. Stop by to chat about the Citywide Reads program and The Highest Tide!

Monday, March 24, 2008

Complimentary Books Are Here!

Stop by any Santa Monica Public Library and pick up a complimentary copy of The Highest Tide. All branches and the Main Library's first floor Information Desk will have the books ready to give out beginning Monday, March 24 while supplies last. Many thanks to the Friends of the Santa Monica Public Library for sponsorship!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

How Will You Participate This Year?

The 2008 Citywide Reads schedule is out!

Monday, April 14 at 12 p.m.Main Library, Multipurpose Room, 601 Santa Monica Blvd.
Wednesday, April 16 at 7 p.m.Montana Avenue Branch, 1704 Montana Ave.
Friday, April 25 at 3 p.m.Cafe Bolivar, 1741 Ocean Park Blvd.
Saturday, May 3 at 11 a.m. Ocean Park Branch, 2601 Main Street
Sunday, May 4 at 2 p.m. Joslyn Park Craft Room, 633 Kensington Rd.
Thursday, May 8 at 6:30 p.m. Santa Monica Aquarium, 1600 Ocean Front Walk Below the Pier’s Carousel. The Aquarium will be open after its regular hours to host the discussion.
Saturday, May 10 at 1 p.m. Fairview Branch Library, 2101 Ocean Park Blvd.
Monday, May 12 at 7 p.m. Main Library, Multipurpose Room, 601 Santa Monica Blvd.
Tuesday, May 13 at 7:30 Barnes & Noble, 1201 3rd Street Promenade
Friday, May 16 at 2 p.m. It’s A Grind, 602 Santa Monica Blvd.

Special Events
Exploring Our Environment with Jean-Michel Cousteau
Sunday, April 13 at 2 p.m. Main Library, MLK Jr. Auditorium
Ocean explorer and educator Jean-Michel Cousteau addresses the issues of environmental education, ocean conservation, and sustainable living. Hands-on demonstrations and informational booths, sponsored by the Ocean Futures Society, Catalina Environmental Leadership Program, and Ambassadors of the Environment, will be available after the presentation.
Flavors of the Sea with the Too Hot Tamales
Sunday, April 20 at 2 p.m. Main Library, North Entry Courtyard
Border Grill and Ciudad proprietors, Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger, better known as the Too Hot Tamales, present a Highest Tide-themed, seafood cooking demonstration.
Getting to Know Rachel Carson
Tuesday, April 22 at 6:30 p.m. Main Library, Multipurpose Room, 601 Santa Monica Blvd.
The Santa Monica Pier Aquarium’s Tara Treiber presents an introduction to pioneering writer, scientist and ecologist, Rachel Carson, the heroine of The Highest Tide’s Miles O’Malley.
City-TV Call-In Show
Wednesday, April 23 at 6:30 p.m.
Tune in to Channel 16 for a live, moderated discussion of The Highest Tide.
The Santa Monica Bay
Thursday, April 24 at 7 p.m. Main Library, Multipurpose Room, 601 Santa Monica Blvd.
Learn about the unique ecology of the Santa Monica Bay. This Heal the Bay presentation focuses on the causes and consequences of ocean pollution. The audience will discover what they can do to decrease their impact on the Santa Monica Bay.
Documentary Screening: Deep Blue
Tuesday, April 29 at 7 p.m. and Saturday, May 3 at 3:30 p.m., Main Library, MLK Jr. Auditorium, 601 Santa Monica Blvd.
You have two chances to check out this breathtaking BBC documentary on underwater and seaside life. The April 29 screening will feature closed captions for the hearing impaired.
Paul Tracey’s Little Blue Planet
Thursday, May 1 at 7 p.m. Main Library, Children’s Activity Room, 601 Santa Monica Blvd.
Accompanied by an eight-foot globe, entertainer Paul Tracey encourages children to care for our planet by using music to draw attention to saving forests, inter-cultural understanding and endangered species.
An Afternoon with Jim Lynch
Saturday, May 17 at 3 p.m. Santa Monica College, Pavilion, 1900 Pico Blvd.
The award-winning author of The Highest Tide presents a reading and discussion, followed by a book signing. Co-sponsored by the Santa Monica College Associates.

Santa Monica, this is your Citywide Reads program. How will you participate?

Thursday, March 13, 2008

COVER ME! Teen Book Cover Art Contest

MARCH 15 to APRIL 30

Attention Teens!

Ever wished you could design your own book cover? Here's your chance! Show us your creative talents and design YOUR OWN cover for The Highest Tide by Wednesday, April 30.

Winners will be notified on or before Saturday, May 10 and will be invited to a private "meet and greet" with the author, Jim Lynch, on May 17. Participants MUST be teenagers, ages 13 to 18 or in grades 8 to 12.

Here's how to enter:

1. Pick up an entry form at any Santa Monica Public Library (Main and 3 branches) between
March 15 and April 30.

2. Fill out, sign, and date the entry form on or before the submission deadline: WEDNESDAY, April 30.

3. Drop off your completed entry form and artwork (which must be on an 8.5 x 11 sheet of paper) to the Youth Reference Desk at the Main Library or mail to:

Cover Me! Teen Book Cover Art Contest
Santa Monica Public Library c/o Erica Cuyugan
601 Santa Monica Blvd.
Santa Monica, CA 90401

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Bookcrossing.com Books Are Being Released

Citywide Reads is partnering with www.bookcrossing.com to distribute The Highest Tide around the City. During the next week, we will register the books with bookcrossing and distribute them around Santa Monica. The books can be found by logging onto www.bookcrossing.com or people can find them serendipitously. The promotion is sponsored by the Friends of the Library.

Bookcrossing is a free site that registers books and then tracks them as they make their way around Santa Monica and perhaps the globe. The Highest Tide is available now at all of the branches and additional promotional copies will be given out beginning March 24.

Look around your local coffeehouse, laundromat, or even the DMV. You just might find a good book!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

A Message from the Featured Author

Dear Santa Monica Readers,

I am honored and delighted that The Highest Tide will be featured in your Citywide Reads program this year. The novel I wrote was inspired by the same ocean you marvel at. I hope you find The Highest Tide to be a fun and thoughtful read that perhaps reminds you of the time in your life when the world first came into focus. The variety and volume of the reaction to the book continues to amaze me. It will be performed on stage in Seattle this spring. The movie rights have sold as well, and a screenplay is in the works. I'm really looking forward to visiting Santa Monica on May 17 to talk with as many of you as possible about the novel. Meanwhile, thanks for reading it if you get the chance.

Best wishes,
Jim Lynch

Monday, February 25, 2008

Introducing the 2008 Title

Jim Lynch's The Highest Tide is the 2008 Santa Monica Citywide Reads selection.

In The Highest Tide, thirteen-year-old Miles O’Malley spends one transformative summer navigating the mysteries of his beloved Puget Sound surroundings and his relationships with family and friends. We hope the marine setting, green emphasis, and universal coming-of-age theme, and high quality of writing will appeal to the Santa Monica community.