Thursday, January 27, 2011

Get Your Copy of Wench Today!

Santa Monica Citywide Reads is now in full swing.
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.
Wench is the story of four slave mistresses in the pre-Civil War era. The paperback edition of Wench was officially released this past Tuesday (January 25th) and we're hoping Dolen will get a strong response from readers.

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:

Sunday, January 23, 2011

And the nominees are...

Just as we're officially kicking off Santa Monica Citywide Reads 2011, we've gotten great news from the NAACP Image Awards. Our selection for 2011, Wench by Dolen Perkins-Valdez, was just nominated for two awards in the NAACP's literature categories: Best Novel and Best First Novel. Needless to say, we're very proud of Dolen and rooting hard for her to take home an award or two.

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:

And be sure to check out the NAACP Image Awards website to see all of their nominees:

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Check Out Our Resource Guide

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 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

Chris Cleave passes the baton to Dolen Perkins-Valdez

As we mentioned in our last post, Chris Cleave returned to the Los Angeles-area this past week, and just like the charmer he usually is, he took the time out to film a brief "passing of the baton" video to this year's Santa Monica Citywide Reads author and book, Wench by Dolen Perkins-Valdez.

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

Another chance to meet Chris Cleave, 2010 Santa Monica Citywide Reads featured author

As we get ready to turn towards the 2011 Santa Monica Citywide Reads selection, we're taking one quick look back at our 2010 featured author, Chris Cleave. It's timely that we're doing so, as well, because Chris will be back in the Los Angeles area next week for two book tour appearances. We heard from many who missed their chance to see Chris when he visited with us at the Santa Monica Public Library in February 2010, so this might be a great chance to catch up with this absolutely delightful author.

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:

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:

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.