Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Thank You!

Thank you so much for all of your terrific book suggestions for Citywide Reads 2010. We will announce the featured title in September.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Reminder: Suggestions for CWR 2010 Due by June 30

What will the featured book for Citywide Reads 2010 be? You are part of the selection process! Suggest a novel that is available in paperback and that you think would be of interest to the Santa Monica community and make for a great discussion. Email citywidereads@smgov.net, fill out an online survey at http://www.smpl.org/, or stop by any Santa Monica Public Library. The deadline for suggestions is June 30.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Take the Citywide Reads Survey

Tell us what you thought about this year's Citywide Reads.
Take the survey.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Thank You!

A big thank you to all who helped make this Citywide Reads such a success! We had approximately 135 people attend a book discussion and over 3200 participate in a special event.

We will post a survey soon to get your feedback on this year's program, as well as ask you for suggestions for next year.

To check out what else is going on at the Library, visit www.smpl.org.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Last Events!

We have one more special event and two more book groups left in Citywide Reads 2009. It's not to late to get in on the fun!

A special event on Thursday, April 2 at 7:00 pm in the Main Library's Community Room:
Evidence of Things Unseen Book Discussion - Published in 2003, this novel by Marianne Wiggins was a finalist for the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize. Set between the World Wars, it follows a family as their lives are affected by science and the atomic age.

Two more Book Discussions:
Saturday, April 4 at 11 a.m. in the Main Library's Multipurpose Room
Saturday, April 4 at 11 a.m. in the Ocean Park Branch Library's Community Room

We hope to see you there.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Looking Back at Edward S. Curtis

The Library was a great place to be last week, as we took the time to look back at Edward S. Curtis, the real life man who inspired Marianne Wiggins' The Shadow Catcher. On Tuesday evening, April 24th, an appreciative crowd joined us for a screening of In the Land of the War Canoes, a film about the Kwakiutl tribe of Vancouver Island, shot and released by Edward S. Curtis himself in 1914. Originally titled In the Land of the Head Hunters, the film was a combination of documentary and dramatic film, tying the narrative story of a young Kwakiutl tribesman who must battle an old medicine man to win back his bride to authentic documentary footage of Kwakiutl tribal customs and ceremonies. The film has since been added to the United States' National Film Registry, and is considered a first of its kind. If you were not able to join us for the screening, you can always check out the DVD at the library.

On Saturday, April 28th, we invited Curtis expert and scholar, Bruce Kapson, to the Library for an informative lecture that provided a wealth of background information on the legendary photographer. Audience members, many of whom had read the book, asked lots of questions about the real life man who inspired Marianne Wiggins' fictional characterization. Mr. Kapson brought along a stunning collection of vintage photographs, prints and original copper plate negatives for audience members to look at following his lecture. If you are interested in finding out more about Edward S. Curtis, Mr. Kapson assures us he would welcome visitors to his website, http://www.brucekapson.com/, where you can learn more.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Marianne Wiggins visits the Library

On Saturday, Marianne Wiggins visited the Main Library for a reading, discussion, and book signing. Her warmth and sense of humor charmed the crowd.

Some highlights from her talk:

If she had "hung the manuscript out to dry" for a year after she wrote it, she probably wouldn't have done the Curtis Edwards - Edward Curtis device. She said it was just her being a smarty-pants.

Wiggins couldn't get permission for some photos - such as Curtis as an old man and Clara. That's why she had to use the "found" photos.

She designed the book as well as wrote it. She worked hard on the layout and the photos.

Since she has been living in LA, she's been told that her writing has gotten a shot of adrenaline. She currently is working on a novel about the California Water Wars.

LA Writers Discuss Los Angeles Literature

On Sunday, Los Angeles Times book editor David Ulin hosted a discussion about Los Angeles Literature. The audience enjoyed listening to the authors discuss living in and writing about LA. Panelists Cecil Castellucci, Gary Phillips, and Nina Revoyr each had their unique take on the city. All expressed their appreciation for Marianne Wiggins' distinctive novel.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Call-In Discussion

Can't make any of our Citywide Reads discussions? No problem! Just tune into CityTV cable channel 16 on Wednesday, March 25 at 7:00 p.m. for a live, moderated discussion. Viewers can call in with questions or comments about Marianne Wiggins' The Shadow Catcher. The number to call is 310-458-4950.

In addition, you can email questions ahead to citywidereads@smgov.net or post a comment below.

Share your insights on this unconventional and compelling novel with host Beverly Gray, and special guests Max Diamond and Director of The California Center for the Book, Mary Menzel.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

'Los Angeles as Literature' Panel Discussion

Join us in the Main Library's MLK Jr. Auditorium on Sunday, March 22 at 2:00 p.m. for the program
Los Angeles as Literature.

Los Angeles Times book editor David Ulin moderates this panel discussion about Los Angeles’ various incarnations in literature. Learn of Citywide Reads author Marianne Wiggins’ place in the canon of fiction about Los Angeles. Panelists include young adult writer and author of Beige Cecil Castellucci; author of the Ivan Monk mystery series Gary Phillips; and Nina Revoyr, novelist and author of The Age of Dreaming.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

An Afternoon with Marianne Wiggins

This Saturday, March 21, 2009 at 2:00 p.m., the Santa Monica Public Library is pleased to present a very special author talk with this year's Santa Monica Citywide Reads featured author, Marianne Wiggins. The talk, followed by a book sale and signing, will be held in the Main Library's Martin Luther King, Jr. Auditorium, at 601 Santa Monica Blvd. Tickets for Auditorium seating will be released one hour prior to program.

In addition to "The Shadow Catcher," Marianne Wiggins is the author eight other novels and short story collections including the award-winning "John Dollar" and the Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award finalist, "Evidence of Things Unseen."

This year's event is sure to be a great one. We hope to see you there.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

City Employee Discussion

We had our first Citywide Reads discussion for City Employees last Wednesday during lunch. Twenty-six people, across numerous departments, met for a terrific discussion of The Shadow Catcher. We enjoyed it so much that we're thinking about starting a regular City Employee book group!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Want to See the Real Curtis?

The following was contributed by a volunteer book discussion leader. As previously mentioned, our group of volunteers this year is fantastic! Check them out for yourself at one of our upcoming discussions:
Monday, March 9 at 2:00 pm, Emeritus College, 1227 2nd Street, Room 407
Saturday, March 14 at 10:30 am, Cafe Bolivar, 1741 Ocean Park Blvd (free street parking on Saturdays)

From Kristin:

After reading The Shadow Catcher, and the supplementary book about Edward S. Curtis (Shadow Catcher, The Life and Work of Edward S. Curtis by Laurie Lawlor) which was provided to me as a discussion volunteer, I was more intrigued about the photographer than the author. In my opinion, Wiggins told us plenty about the "fictional" Wiggins in the pages between the Clara and Edward story line. While Wiggins includes a few images of Curtis's work in the book, and a quick Google of Curtis will bring plenty more images of his photos right to your browser, I wanted more after reading all about him and being taken in not only by his photography, but also the controversy behind his work and his person. I wanted to see the actual images. Like Ansel Adams whose work, even in reproduction, never ceases to stop me in my tracks, details of photos taken when photography was in its pioneer days fascinates me much more than today's digital photography. Fortunately, I found out a few of Curtis's works and other events focused on him are just a hop, skip and a jump away from us.

The Getty Center has three Curtis' images in its collection. Unfortunately, these treasures are viewable by appointment only -- but it is easy to do! You can make an appointment (no fee!) to view the pieces by calling Paul Martineau at 310-440-7046.

You can see, by appointment, the complete collection of Curtis' 20-volume set at the Braun Research Library at the Southwest Museum in Los Angeles.

The Los Angeles Library system also has a copy of the volumes in its reference collection, and a presentation of resources on Edward S. Curtis and his work will be given on Thursday, March 12, from 12:15 - 1:00 pm by Eileen King, another Citywide Reads volunteer book discussion.

As part of the UCLA Film & Television Archive's 14th Festival of Preservation Curtis's film In the Land of the Head Hunters will be showing at the Billy Wilder Theater of the Hammer Museum on Saturday, April 26 at 7:00 pm.

Visit to experience the real Curtis', or at least the real pieces of his work ... getting to know and understand the man behind the work is another story -- one that we might have a glimpse into thanks to Wiggins.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

We Mobbed!

Yesterday, library staff members took to the streets to celebrate our upcoming Citywide Reads program. Armed with signs, drums, free copies of The Shadow Catcher, and resource guides, we headed to the Third Street Promenade. We gave away 40 copies of the novel within 20 minutes and then gathered for a group read-aloud at noon. Shortly after, in the tradition of a flash mob, we disappeared, hopefully leaving behind some community members who are excited about Citywide Reads. Many thanks to the Friends of the Santa Monica Public Library for providing the copies of the novel and for the printing of the resource guide.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Book Mob!

We are having a book mob to celebrate Citywide Reads!

We'll meet at the Third Street Promenade, just south of the Farmers Market, at 12 noon on Wednesday, February 25. Free copies of The Shadow Catcher will be given away and we'll have a simultaneous group read-aloud.

The book mob is based on the concept of a flash mob - a group of people who gather together suddenly and perform an unusual action.

Don't miss the fun!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Book Discussion Dates

We had our training for our volunteer book discussion leaders for The Shadow Catcher and we are excited to have such an enthusiastic group! We hope you can attend at least one of the following book discussions, all led by volunteers from your community. No registration required.

· Saturday, March 7 at 2:00 pm Main Library Multipurpose Room, 601 Santa Monica Blvd.
· Monday, March 9 at 2:00 pm Emeritus College, Room 407, 1227 2nd Street
· Saturday, March 14 at 10:30 am CafĂ© Bolivar, 1741 Ocean Park Boulevard (no permit required for Saturday parking)
· Tuesday, March 17 at 7:00 pm Barnes & Noble, 1201 3rd Street Promenade
· Wednesday, March 18 at 7:00 pm Montana Avenue Branch Library, 1704 Montana Avenue
· Saturday, March 21 at 11:00 am Fairview Branch Library, 2101 Ocean Park Blvd.
· Thursday, March 26 at 2:00 pm Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, 829 Wilshire Blvd.
· Saturday, March 28 at 1:00 pm California Heritage Museum Lawn, 2612 Main Street
· Saturday, April 4 at 11:00 am Main Library Multipurpose Room, 601 Santa Monica Blvd.
See you there!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Los Angeles as Literature Panelists Chosen

Writer and Los Angeles Times Editor David Ulin will moderate a panel discussion with three local authors on Sunday, March 22 at 2:00 p.m. in the Main Library's MLK Jr. Auditorium.

Panelists will discuss Los Angeles' various incarnations in literature, in both a contemporary and historical context. Learn of Citywide Reads author Marianne Wiggins’ place in the canon of fiction about Los Angeles.

Panelists include young adult writer and author of Beige Cecil Castellucci, author of the Ivan Monk mystery series Gary Phillips, and Nina Revoyr, novelist and author of The Age of Dreaming.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Complimentary Copies Are Coming February 17!

On Tuesday, February 17, all Santa Monica Public Libraries will have free copies of Marianne Wiggins' The Shadow Catcher for individuals who want to participate in Citywide Reads. At the Main Library, the books will be available at the first floor Information Desk. There is a limit of one book per person.

In the meantime, there are dozens of copies in the collection and the resource guide is now available at all branches and online at www.smpl.org.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Who is Edward Curtis?

"All I want you to understand, before you read the book I've written, before you even spend another day entertainin gthe idea that Edward Curtis was a saint, or a poet, or hero, is that his life was long. His life was...complicated." -Marianne Wiggins

Photographer Edward S. Curtis, known as “The Shadow Catcher,” created a defining moment in American publishing history with The North American Indian, a collection of more than 40,000 images and rare ethnographic information on over eighty American Indian tribal groups. He spent thirty years photographing American Indian tribes west of the Mississippi, ranging from the Mexican border to the Arctic.

Born near Whitewater, Wisconsin in 1868, Curtis exhibited an interest in photography from an early age, constructing a camera and processing prints by the time his formal education ended with the sixth grade. He married and had four children after his family moved to Seattle. Following a chance meeting in 1898, on Mt. Rainer with a group of mountaineers, including experts in the areas of conservation, forestry, Indian ethnography and publishing, Curtis launched his North American Indian project.

Despite continued financial hardships during the thirty years it took to publish the twenty-volume The North American Indian, Curtis was able to employ technicians, scholars, and researchers to assist with collecting intricate details of past and present Native American cultures. His dedication to recording as much detail of traditional life as possible is evident; his work includes descriptions of dwellings, food, clothing, burial customs, games, and mythology. The final volume was published in 1930. Edward S. Curtis died in Los Angeles in 1952 at the age of 84.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

About The Shadow Catcher

In The Shadow Catcher, Marianne Wiggins combines fact with fiction, past with present, and words with images in the unconventional telling of two compelling stories, set nearly a century apart, yet seamlessly intertwined. In one narrative, a novelist named Marianne Wiggins has written a novel, also titled The Shadow Catcher, about the photographer Edward S. Curtis, who came to fame through his attempts to photograph Native American people before they vanished from the American landscape. Wiggins’ story takes a turn when she is called to the death bed of her father, a man she knows died when she was a child. In the other historic narrative, we follow the story of Clara Phillips as she journeys across America and into the life of Curtis, the enigmatic photographer she would marry.

For years, Marianne Wiggins toyed with the idea of writing a novel about Edward S. Curtis. She wrote and rewrote large chunks of her novel, but struggled to find the interior tension that would sustain the work. Finally, two revelations pointed out the direction she was seeking: the truth, and not the illusion, of his life and work, and its correlation with her own complicated history.In researching the legendary photographer, Marianne Wiggins discovered that the reality of Edward S. Curtis was often not what it seemed. While his mission was to capture an image of truth before it vanished into history, Curtis saw nothing wrong with dressing a Navajo as a Sioux or removing a modern artifact that might betray whatever historic “truth” he was trying to convey.

Curtis was an absent husband and father, and Wiggins came to realize how closely this absence paralleled the emptiness left behind when her own father committed suicide. Threading elements of her own life into the novel, Wiggins was able to weave its two disparate storylines into a single haunting portrait of family history and personal loss.