Tuesday, December 14, 2010
Wednesday, December 8, 2010
Want more? A wealth of reading lists have been released in the past few weeks, including Amazon's Best Books of the Year, which includes Editors' Picks as well as Customer Favorites, Publishers Weekly's Best Books of 2010, and the New York Times' 100 Notable Books of 2010.
Happy Holidays and Happy Reading!
Wednesday, December 1, 2010
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
Tuesday, November 9, 2010
Tuesday, November 2, 2010
WENCH by Dolen Perkins-Valdez.
WENCH follows the stories of four slave mistresses – Lizzie, Reenie, Sweet and Mawu – over the course of three summers in pre-Civil War America. Taken by their masters on holiday to Tawawa House, a summer resort in Ohio, the women encounter free blacks and whispers of the abolitionist movement and are forced to consider their lives, their positions back home, and their hopes and dreams for the future. Dolen Perkins-Valdez was inspired to write the novel when she came across a footnote about Tawawa House, a real resort, while researching her own doctoral thesis on slave literature. Wench was borne out of the author’s musings on why, when presented with the possibility of escaping into free land, some slaves would run, while others would choose to stay with their masters.
We're certain that WENCH should be a provocative and discussion-worthy book, and we're looking forward to reading it with all of you.
Santa Monica Citywide Reads 2011 will take place from February 14 through March 12, 2011, and will feature free public book discussion groups led by volunteer facilitators and held in libraries, bookstores, coffeehouses, and other venues throughout the city. Related special events, including an author talk with Dolen Perkins-Valdez, are also being planned. Stay tuned here or visit our website at http://www.smpl.org/cwr to keep up with the schedule as it develops.
Wednesday, February 24, 2010
The program will be aired on Santa Monica's CityTV, channel 16. For the first time ever, the program will also be carried live on LA36, cable channel 36 in the City of Los Angeles. If you'd like to participate in the book discussion, please call in with your questions during the 7:00-8:00 p.m. hour at 310-458-4950.
Saturday, February 20, 2010
Just prior to Chris' appearance, we put on a brief, but very moving staged reading of excerpts from Little Bee, which we called "The Voices of Little Bee." Actress Petal d'Avril Walker gave voice to Little Bee and actress and veteran audiobook reader Rosalyn Landor gave voice to Sarah. The result was fifteen minutes of theater that we think left author Chris Cleave, as well as the audience, both mesmerized and moved. The photo below features Petal, Rosalyn, Library Board President Edward Edwards (who scripted and directed this performance), and Chris Cleave. And we really want to thank Petal, Rosalyn and Edward for all their hard work in putting this unique and very special reading together.
For anyone who missed Chris' appearance with us, we're very sorry you did. But we definitely welcome you to join in on any one of our five remaining book discussions, or watch us on CityTV (Channel 16 in Santa Monica, and Channel 36 in Los Angeles) this coming Wednesday, February 24 at 7pm as we conduct a live, call-in discussion of the book. We also have a couple more related special events yet to come, including The Art of Storytelling on Saturday, March 6 at 2pm, in which veteran storyteller and artist Michael D. McCarty celebrates Little Bee's claim that even a sad story can be proof "that this storyteller is alive!"
For dates, times and venues for everything we still have in store, check out our resource guide, posted here: http://www.smpl.org/cwr/LITTLE%20BEE.pdf.
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
We've made it through a couple book discussions now and one thing most readers seem most interested in discussing about Little Bee is the real-life issues it weaves into its fictional narrative. With Little Bee, the predominant issue would be immigration and asylum for refugees, and discussion participants definitely had a lot to say, both about the issues themselves, as well as how skillfully (or not) Chris Cleave handled those issues within his story. Discussion participants also cited other novels they've enjoyed that dealt with a specific issue well fictionally, books like our 2005 Citywide Reads selection The Kite Runner, as well as classics like The Grapes of Wrath. We'd definitely be interested in hearing what you think, so please take the time to join one of our other upcoming discussions.
You may also be wondering what that picture to the right is. On Wednesday afternoon, February 17th, several of our librarians swooped down on the Third Street Promenade for a "book mob" to promote Santa Monica Citywide Reads. Similar to "flash mobs," where a group of people converge, unannounced, on a given spot for a brief time to catch the public's attention, we dropped in on the Promenade during the Wednesday Farmer's Market rush and passed out coupons for Little Bee books, and conducted a few flash group readings of segments we love from the book. We definitely caught the interest of many passersby, and if any of those passersby was you, we hope to see you at an upcoming discussion or special event. In fact, we hope to see all of you.
Remember, this coming Saturday afternoon, we'll be hosting Chris Cleave himself for a special author presentation, as well as a special staged reading of excerpts from Little Bee by actresses Rosalyn Landor and Petal d'Avril Walker. The program starts at the Main Library at 1:30 p.m., Saturday, February 20th, and free tickets for Auditorium seating will be released at 12:30 p.m. We definitely advise an early arrival, as we think this one will be filled to capacity quickly.
See you then!
Thursday, February 11, 2010
It's the eve of Santa Monica Citywide Reads 2010. Our program officially begins tomorrow, Friday, February 12th, and our first book discussion takes place Saturday, February 13th at 11:00 a.m. at Cafe Bolivar, 1741 Ocean Park Blvd. We definitely encourage those of you who've read the book early to stop by and let us know what you think.
But, as we're just about to kick everything off, we thought it a great to time to introduce you to the author we're celebrating this year: Chris Cleave.
We're excited to be working with Chris, who has proven to be a charming and lovely fellow, and we very much look forward to his appearance at the Main Library on Saturday, February 20th. The program will kick off at 1:30 p.m. with a special staged reading of excerpts from Little Bee, performed by actresses Petal d'Avril Walker (as Little Bee) and Rosalyn Landor (as Sarah). Chris will follow at roughly 2:00 p.m. and he'll definitely be taking audience questions, followed by a book signing. Tickets for this program will be released at 12:30 p.m. the day of the event, and we expect them to go fast, so arrive early.
Back to that introduction of Chris. Born in London in 1973, Chris spent his childhood in Buckinghamshire and the West African nation of Cameroon. A graduate of Balliol College, Oxford, he studied psychology, then ran through a series of smaller jobs. He eventually took up professional writing, first as a writer for London's Daily Telegraph, then on to his current weekly column on parenting for The Guardian newspaper. You can check out his column via his own website, http://www.chriscleave.com/, or directly on The Guardian's site, www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/series/down-with-the-kids.
In 2005, his first novel, Incendiary, was released to controversy and acclaim. The novel, about a London mother coping with loss of her husband and son in a terrorist bombing, went on to win numerous awards, including the Somerset Maugham Award and the Book-of-the-Month Club First Fiction prize. He followed that up in 2008 with the novel The Other Hand, which was released in the U.S. in early 2009 as Little Bee.
We look forward to hearing what you have to say about this year's featured novel, and we hope you'll come out on the 20th to meet Chris and share your thoughts with him as well. Chris tells us that he looks forward to meeting all of you.
Thursday, January 21, 2010
The Voices of Little Bee
Saturday, February 20 at 1:30 pm — Main Library, MLK Jr. Auditorium
As a special prelude to author Chris Cleave’s appearance, we present this special reading of passages from Little Bee, in which the voices of Sarah and Little Bee are brought to life by gifted local actresses, Rosalyn Landor and Petal d’Avril Walker.
An Afternoon with Chris Cleave
Saturday, February 20 at 2:00 pm — Main Library, MLK Jr. Auditorium
The award-winning author of Little Bee presents a reading and discussion, followed by a book signing.
City TV Call-In Show
Wednesday, February 24 at 7:00 pm — Tune in to Channel 16
Can’t make it to one of our book discussions, or just looking for more perspective into Little Bee? Tune in to Channel 16 for a live, moderated discussion of this year’s featured novel, and feel free to call in with questions of your own.
Incendiary Book Discussion
Monday, March 1 at 7:00 pm — Main Library, Community Room
Published to controversy and acclaim in 2005, Chris Cleave’s first novel traces the tumultuous fallout for a London woman when her husband and young son are killed in a terrorist attack.
Movie Screening: The Visitor
Tuesday, March 2 at 7:00 pm — Main Library, MLK Jr. Auditorium
The story of Walter Vale (Oscar nominee Richard Jenkins), who returns home after a conference to find two illegal immigrants living in his apartment. These disparate characters come to know each other and affect each other’s lives in a story that is very similar to the themes of Little Bee.
The Art of Storytelling with Michael D. McCarty
Saturday, March 6 at 2:00 pm — Main Library, MLK Jr. Auditorium
Storytelling lies at the heart of Little Bee. As Little Bee states, even a sad story offers proof that “this storyteller is alive.” Michael D. McCarty has been entertaining audiences through the art of storytelling for a long time now. Drawing on international folk tales and other storytelling techniques, Michael taps into stories that inform, educate, inspire and amuse.
Saturday, February 13 at 11:00 am — Café Bolivar, 1741 Ocean Park Blvd. (no permit required for Saturday parking)
Wednesday, February 17 at 7:00 pm — Montana Branch Library, 1704 Montana Ave.
Monday, February 22 at 2:00 pm — Tudor House, 1403 Second St.
Saturday, February 27 at 11:00 am — Fairview Branch Library, 2101 Ocean Park Blvd.
Saturday, March 6 at 11:00 am — Ocean Park Branch Library, 2601 Main St.
Monday, March 8 at 7:00 pm — Main Library, 601 Santa Monica Blvd.
Thursday, March 11 at 1:30 pm — Senior Recreation Center, 1450 Ocean Ave.
We hope to see you there!