Monday, March 28, 2011
Thursday, March 10, 2011
This year's Citywide Reads pick, Wench, a tale of four slave mistresses taken by their masters to a resort in free territory in pre-Civil War America, has inspired strong feelings in our readers, who have attended Citywide Reads book discussions this year in higher numbers than ever. There is still one more Wench discussion planned, for Saturday, March 12 at 1 p.m. in the Main Library's Multipurpose Room. Please join us!
Those interested in African American history won't want to miss "The Clayton Collections Alive," also happening on Saturday, March 12, at 3 p.m. in the Main Library's Martin Luther King, Jr. Auditorium. Join Larry Earl, Jr. from the Mayme A. Clayton Library and Museum in Culver City as he takes us back in time to meet African American poet Phillis Wheatley, and to learn about the struggle for civil rights from the collections housed within this amazing local resource.
About the Mayme A. Clayton Library and Museum: In the early 1960s, Librarian Mayme A. Clayton, Ph.D., began collecting documents, books, photographs, films and memorabilia chronicling the experience of Americans of African descent. Dr. Clayton collected everything from rare books, to movies, to handwritten slave records. In 2006, the MCLM found a permanent home in Culver City, where researchers may accessand study its rich resources. http://www.claytonmuseum.org/
Join us for these events on Saturday, and thank you for helping to make Citywide Reads a success!
Tuesday, March 8, 2011
On March 2, a group of adults and teens attended a special Citywide Reads discussion at the Main Library to talk about the novel, The Girl Who Fell from the Sky by Heidi Durrow.
The thought provoking discussion filled more than an hour of exchanges and engaging commentary, with the discussion often centered on the teenage protagonist and her emerging identity. Questions flew back and forth about various characters and the unfolding mystery that wove through the story. Broader issues surfaced like how do we come to know ourselves and how long does the journey take - all of which brought us back to Ms. Durrow's novel and the burning question: when will Rachel know herself? For that question, we later asked the author if there is a sequel forthcoming; she replied that she is currently working on other projects. The group viewed clips from three films that explored themes of identity: Persepolis, The Secret Life of Bees, and The Namesake.
Later in the evening Ms. Durrow gave a reading from her book that moved the audience to another level of understanding identity, as her voice lifted the prose from the page and we wrapped our hearts around the words.
Several people spoke highly of the Citywide Reads program and how much they loved the variety of books chosen over the years. They enjoyed the books on so many levels - reading the novels, discussing the issues, and hearing the authors' perspectives. Check out the Santa Monica Citywide Reads events and discussions through March 12, and join other readers who are talking about issues that rise off the pages of novels and engage us in conversations with one another.
Thursday, February 24, 2011
Wednesday, February 23, 2011
Entertainment journalist Janice Rhoshalle Littlejohn did a fantastic job interviewing the panel and moderating audience questions. Cast members discussed their experience with Roots, how they came to the project and how it impacted their lives and careers both in the immediate timeframe at which it aired and from the longview over 30+ years later.
If you missed it, we're sorry you did, and we hope you'll remind yourself not to miss any of our future Santa Monica Citywide Reads special events. Coming up this Saturday, February 26, 2011 at 2:00 p.m., Wench author Dolen Perkins-Valdez will be joining us to share and discuss the book we're all reading together this year. It promises to be a fantastic event, and it's sure to be a full house. The program is free and tickets for auditorium seating will be released at 1:00 p.m. the day of the event. Seating is first come, first served. We hope to see you there.
Tuesday, February 15, 2011
The panel will be moderated by entertainment journalist Janice Rhoshalle Littlejohn, and panelists will include actresses Lynne Moody and Beverly Todd. Other cast members may join us, but we won't know until the day of the program.
If you're interested in joining us for this panel, the program is free and open to the public. Tickets are required for the cast discussion and will be released at noon on Saturday, February 19th in the Main Library's north lobby. One ticket per guest, and guest must be present to receive a ticket. No prior reservations are available. The screening of episode 6 will begin at 1:00 p.m. in our Martin Luther King, Jr. Auditorium. Ticket holders may enjoy this episode's screening, or join us later for the panel. Following the conclusion of the episode 6 screening, at 3:00 p.m., the cast panel discussion will take place in the Martin Luther King, Jr. Auditorium as well. Remember: tickets are required for Auditorium seating for the cast panel, so be sure to stop by early and pick up a ticket before they're gone. Seating is first come, first served, until seating capacity has been reached.
The Main Santa Monica Public Library is at 601 Santa Monica Blvd., Santa Monica, CA 90401. If you need to reach us by phone, call (310) 458-8600, or you can find us on the web at http://www.smpl.org/.
Friday, February 11, 2011
For those of you who are looking for a small taste of what you're in for, we hope you'll enjoy this brief excerpt from Wench.
Drayle did something that astounded his wife. Tired of sleeping on the storeroom floor with his new lover, he moved her into the guest bedroom across from his own. That was when Fran began to pinch Lizzie.
The pinches were hard enough to bruise. Fran did it secretly--in the kitchen, on the stairs, in the hallway, in the yard. She searched for new places, beginning with Lizzie's cheek. Then an arm. Thigh. Side. Shoulder. She seemed to relish discovering each new point of hurt. Sometimes Lizzie even caught the woman examining her body, as if searching for a new place. Lizzie tried to stay out of her way. Tried to bypass her in the familiar layout of rooms.
At night, Drayle came to her, but Lizzie didn't tell him about Fran's game. Instead, she made excuses for the bruises. She told him that colored people bruise easier than whites. This explanation seemed to satisfy him and he took care not to touch her in those places.
After two weeks, Fran grew tired of her pinches and left Lizzie alone. Lizzie was grateful and went out of her way to make Fran pleased. She cleaned the woman's room without being asked, ironed her clothes, and put extra sausage on the breakfast trays delivered to Fran in the morning.
The house slaves had accepted Lizzie as Drayle's woman, and they now looked to her to convince him of favors. If someone was sick down in the quarters, they asked Lizzie to whisper the news to him so the person would be granted a reprieve. Another time, Lizzie convinced Drayle to let the slaves have extra rations of meat. Each time Lizzie was able to redeem a request, the field slaves accepted her position a bit more.
Wench is copyright © 2010 Dolen Perkins-Valdez. All rights reserved. It is published by Amistad, a division of HarperCollins Publishers.
Wednesday, February 9, 2011
Beginning February 14, the Main Library will screen the entire miniseries of Roots in a six-day marathon of screenings. Episodes 1 through 5 will screen in our Martin Luther King, Jr. Auditorium at 4:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, February 14 through 18. The finale, Episode 6, will screen at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday, February 19. Following the final episode screening, at 3:00 p.m., we'll also present a very special discussion on the cultural impact of Roots, moderated by entertainment journalist Janice Rhoshalle Littlejohn and original cast members from the miniseries. We're still putting the panel together, so we don't have guest names to announce just yet, but it's sure to be a truly special event, no matter what.
Note: tickets for the cast panel will be required, and are free to the public. Tickets will be released at noon, February 19th in the Main Library lobby. Only one ticket per guest, and guest must be present to receive a ticket. No reservations are available. Seating is first come, first served.
Sunday, February 6, 2011
Join us at any of the Citywide Reads book discussions of Wench, February 16 through March 12, to enter your name in the drawing to win a Nook Color ebook reader.
Read the flier for official rules and restrictions.
The Library invites you to participate in the following facilitator-led public book discussions:
·Wed, Feb 16 at 7:00 p.m., Montana Branch, 1704 Montana Avenue
·Sat, Feb 19 at 12:30 p.m., First AME Church, 1823 Michigan Avenue
·Tues, Feb 22 at 7:00 p.m., Fairview Branch Library, 2101 Ocean Park Blvd.
·Sat, Feb 26 at 11:00 a.m., Café Bolivar, 1741 Ocean Park Boulevard
·Mon, Feb 28 at 1:30 p.m., Senior Recreation Center, 1450 Ocean Avenue
·Sat, Mar 5 at 11:00 a.m., Ocean Park Branch Library, 2601 Main Street
·Mon, Mar 7 at 2:00 p.m., Tudor House, 1403 Second Street
·Sat, Mar 12 at 1:00 p.m., Main Library, 601 Santa Monica Boulevard
Thursday, February 3, 2011
Thursday, January 27, 2011
Books are available at the Main and branch libraries, as well as bookstores everywhere. In case you've not been paying attention, this year's selection is Wench by Dolen Perkins-Valdez.
In the build-up to the paperback release, The Washington Post just published a very interesting article on Dolen and her book. Those interested can read it here:
The beautiful photo posted above comes courtesy of the Washington Post's Mark Gail.
And, remember, you can always find out more about our Citywide Reads program at the Library's website: http://www.smpl.org/cwr
Sunday, January 23, 2011
And the news gets even better. Heidi Durrow's The Girl Who Fell from the Sky was also nominated for Best First Novel. Five months ago, when our selection committee met to make our 2011 selection, both Wench and The Girl Who Fell from the Sky were among our five finalists. Selection committee members were so impressed by both books, as well as a third nominee (Kathryn Stockett's The Help), that they asked us to spotlight those books in some way as well. In addition to reading Wench with all of you, we'll also be hosting two special bonus book discussions of The Help and The Girl Who Fell from the Sky during the latter half of Citywide Reads 2011. We weren't able to entice Kathryn Stockett to make a visit to Santa Monica for an author talk to coincide with our discussion of her book, but Heidi Durrow will definitely be visiting with us, immediately following our discussion of The Girl Who Fell from the Sky on Wednesday, March 2nd. And that's just two days before the NAACP Image Awards ceremony, so we'll get to cheer her on personally as well.
We're thrilled that both Wench and The Girl Who Fell from the Sky received nominations, and we hope you'll join us in reading and discussing both, and coming out to meet Dolen and Heidi. For a full listing of dates and times for our Citywide Reads discussions and special events, click through to our PDF resource guide: http://www.smpl.org/cwr/WENCH.pdf.
And be sure to check out the NAACP Image Awards website to see all of their nominees: http://www.naacpimageawards.net/42/nominees-and-honorees/
Tuesday, January 18, 2011
Check this out! Citywide Reads blog followers are among the first to see our gorgeous new resource guide for the Santa Monica Citywide Reads 2011 featured novel, Wench by Dolen Perkins-Valdez. You can check out a PDF of the whole thing at www.smpl.org/cwr/WENCH.pdf. You'll get more info on the book, the author, a historical timeline of slavery, a few other reads we recommend, resources for more information, a few book discussion starter questions, and loads of info on our book discussions and special events. We'll talk more about those later, but be sure to check them out. Some of them are going to be really special.
We hope you'll join us. Books should start arriving at the Main Library and all branches during the week of January 24th. So be sure to stop by.
Saturday, January 15, 2011
Check it out here:
And be sure to start checking in with us next week as we start to roll out the schedule, details and more info on Santa Monica Citywide Reads 2011. We're officially less than a month away from the program's start and we're really excited. See you again soon!
Tuesday, January 4, 2011
On Wednesday, January 12th at 7:00 p.m., Chris will visit Vroman's Bookstore in Pasadena to sign copies of his first novel, Incendiary. Details on his Vroman's appearance can be found here: http://www.vromansbookstore.com/chris-cleave
The following night, Thursday, January 13th at 7:00 p.m., Chris will visit our good friends Book Soup in West Hollywood, also to sign Incendiary. But we're sure he'll be happy to sign copies of Little Bee as well. More details on that signing can be found here: http://www.booksoup.com/Details.asp?ProductID=2119
If you have a chance to stop by and meet Chris at either of these events, tell him your friends at the Santa Monica Public Library sent you.