September 2013 Newsletter
Issue: 3
Books In Common
Jamie Ford
We've Got Something in Common

Greetings from Christie Hinrichs -- New BIC Account Manager

Before joining Books in Common as an Account Manager a few months ago, I had spent almost ten years as an event planner for a University Lecture series, a visiting writer's program, and an annual writing conference that drew dozens of world class authors every year.  I know what you're going through!!

Without the industry connections that Books In Common enjoys, I was constantly beating my head against the brick walls of author representation, speaker's agencies, and the normal headaches of running a 500-seat venue.  As a result, the transition from my former job to my new role at Books In Common has been illuminating! Oh, how I wish I'd had access to BIC - which I know would have saved me a ton of time and money. 

That's exactly how many of our clients feel.  We've all tried to do it on our own...we get into this business because we love books, and connecting writers with their readers is a common goal. But once you give BIC a chance, you'll find that the ease and support of literary event consultation not only makes your events better managed and less costly, but we make some friends along the way as well.  Looking forward to working with many of you in 2014!

Christie Hinrichs

Biographies vs. Beach Books: Trends in All Campus Reads Selections


In the last decade, common reading programs have become a mainstay for library programming, literary organizations, and college campuses. The rise in First Year Experience, Freshman Reads, and All Campus Reads programs seems to correspond to the decline of core curricula in higher education -- as colleges distance themselves from core curricula they find that students still need to have something in common academically.  Books in common type programs on campuses have been a convenient answer to that need.


Selecting a title that students from diverse backgrounds and varying interests can all relate to can be a big challenge.  Do you go with a book that has a political or ideological slant, but will ignite intellectual curiosity?  Or do you assign a book that the students will actually read and enjoy?  In a recent study by the National Association of Scholars, researchers examined books assigned by 245 colleges and universities for the academic year 2011-12.   


 Read the Whole Article...
Wish You Were There - Promotional Postcards and Common Reads Programs                              

One Book, One Community of Monroe will take a trip south next year, when the community of Monroe, MI reads The Distance Between Us. Program highlights include a visit from author Reyna Grande, one of the premier Latina voices in the nation. But how to remind community members about next spring's programs, still eight months away? Books In Common supplied the answer. Hundreds of eye-catching postcards, decorated with Reyna's picture and photos of her three published books, were made available to the local community college, for staff, students, and community members to share. Whether they're mailed, pinned to bulletin boards, used to jot down notes, or as bookmarks for textbooks or a copy of The Distance Between Us, the postcards help spread interest and knowledge about one of the community's signature events.


One Book, One Community of Monroe used similar postcards, also designed and supplied by Books In Common, to promote last year's common read and visit with New York Times bestselling author Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni. Said Cheryl Johnston, a co-chair for the One Book's organizing committee: "You folks are fantastic. It is just great working with your entire team. "


Songs of Willow Frost by Jamie Ford Released to Advance Praise                              


Jamie Ford's much-anticipated second novel, Songs of Willow Frost, was released this month to advance praise. Set against the backdrop of Depression-era Seattle, this historical novel is a powerful tale of a Chinese-American boy with dreams for his future, and a young woman trying to escape her haunted past and the cultural confines of her race. With many "teachable moments" embedded throughout this story of hope, forgiveness, and reaching for your dreams, Songs of Willow Frost is a wonderful book for students, and will appeal to a wide community audience.


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Featured Venue: A Conversation with West Kentucky Reads!                                      
Gail Robinson Butler, the coordinator for the One Book, One Campus, One Community program at West Kentucky Community and Technical College was gracious enough to offer these thoughts on her experience as an All Campus Reads organizer. Thanks Gail!

BIC: Any idea about how many campus literary events you've done over the years?

GRB: Over the years, WKCTC has conducted many campus literary events spanning various departments and divisions, including the library and the English Department. Those events are numerous and exciting. Many Kentucky and regional authors, such as Silas House and Bobbie Ann Mason, were brought to campus.  Seven years ago, we decided to add to our literary offerings and produce a One Book, One Campus, One Community Read every other year.  WKCTC has involved numerous community partners in both the planning and production of the event, including the Paducah-McCracken County Library, Paducah Public Schools, McCracken County Public Schools, McNet Library Network and more. On alternate years we produce a Campus Read, targeting English 101 students. New York Times best-selling authors David Baldacci, Jeannette Walls, Homer Hickam and Garth Stein have visited Paducah as a result of the reads.


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Highlighting BIC supported Events!


Cheryl Strayed Speaks to Packed Portland Audience: Cheryl Strayed, bestselling author of Wild, spoke in her home state to an audience of more than 500 enthusiastic readers. Wild, a memorable account of her solo adventure along the Pacific Crest Trail, was chosen by Oprah's Book Club 2.0 and optioned for a film by Reese Witherspoon's production company.  Strayed is also the author of Tiny Beautiful Things, a NYT bestseller, and the novel, Torch. Attendees were thrilled with Cheryl's visit, and event organizers were impressed with how she connected so genuinely with everyone she came into contact with.


Andrew McCarthy Sends Pekin Public Library into a Swoon! Andrew McCarthy, NYT best-selling author of The Longest Way Home, thrilled audiences in Pekin, Illinois last week.  As he walked through the room of nearly 150 people - most of them women - they burst into applause.  "I haven't done anything yet!" cried Andrew.  Though by the end of the night, Pekin library patrons thought he'd done plenty.  Andrew McCarthy talked about the "parallel life" he's had for the past 10 years working as what he called an "accidental travel writer" and said his book The Longest Way Home came about as he was leaving for another trip shortly after he and his then-fiancee decided to get serious about making their union permanent.  One of the most memorable moments in the evening, according to audience members, was when Andrew spoke about traveling with his children. "My goal as a parent it to make them mini-citizens of the world," he said.

Feathers Author Thor Hanson Tickled by Audience


 We recently sat down with Thor Hanson, author of Feathers: The Evolution of a Natural Miracle, and asked him about his experience at literary events.



BIC: What are some of the "teachable" moments in your latest book, Feathers, that make it work well for a literary events program, especially those for college students?

TH: Feathers works well for literary events because it draws on so many different interests.  A discussion of feather colors can start with Aztec tapestries, move on to the fashion industry, touch on the physics of pigments and iridescence, and end up at a Las Vegas show, where the dancers' costumes attract the eye in the same way as a bird's plumage. Similarly, the aerodynamics of feathers take you from the evolution of flying dinosaurs straight through the Wright Brothers and on to bio-mimicry, the hottest new trend in engineering.  One of the most rewarding aspects of teaching about feathers is seeing people's surprise at the many ways they touch our lives.


 Read the Whole Article... 

We Recommend - Community Reads Book Selection: Orange is the New Black by Piper Kerman                                    


Looking for a Common Reads or All Campus selection that will appeal to a wide audience, will encourage multiple opportunities for tie-in programming and has a TV series that is wildly popular?  Look no further than Orange is the New Black, by Piper Kerman.  Following a plea deal for a 10-year-old crime, Piper Kerman spent a year in the infamous women's correctional facility in Danbury, Connecticut, which she found to be no "Club Fed."


In Orange is the New Black, Piper Kerman takes readers into B-Dorm, a community of colorful, eccentric, vividly drawn women. Her memoir, which has been adapted into an original television series for Netflix, is compelling, moving, and often hilarious.  With many teachable moments that emphasize the justice system, codes of behavior, hard words of wisdom, and simple acts of acceptance, Orange is the New Black is an ideal selection for All Campus and Community Reads.  And Piper Kerman is an engaging and lively presenter!


Tween Version of Sonia Nazario's Enrique's Journey Now Available!                                     


With an estimated one million children living illegally in the United States, and nearly one in four of the nation's elementary school students of immigrant status, Pulitzer Prize winner Sonia Nazario's moving tale of one boy's journey has met widespread acclaim and become a national bestseller.  In Enrique's Journey: The True Story of a Boy Determined to Reunite With His Mother, Sonia Nazario's compelling story has been adapted for a younger audience. 


The YA version contains a new epilogue, updating readers on where Enrique is today, and on his life since his story become national news.  With immigration raging as a hot-button political issue, Enrique's Journey brings to light the daily struggles of immigrants, legal and otherwise, and the complicated choices they face to survive.  With adult, YA, and Spanish versions available, it's no wonder that Enrique's Journey has become a top selection for All Campus and Community Reads programs. 


Favorite Author and Speaker, Jamie Ford, Releases New Novel
In This Issue
Biographies vs. Beach Books: Trends in All Campus Reads Selections
With You Were There: Promotional Postcards
Songs of Willow Frost Released to Advance Praise
A Conversation with West Kentucky Reads
BIC Supported Events
Feathers Author Tickled by Audience
Orange is the New Black - Recommended Community Reads Selection
Tween Version of Enrique's Journey Now Available
NW Book Lovers

Graywolf Press
Check out these Upcoming Events Arranged by Books in Common  

September 10th: Richardson Reads host Markus Zukas, author of international bestseller The Book Thief.
 September 12th: 
Reyna Grande, author of The Distance Between Us will deliver the keynote presentation at the University of Wisconsin Platteville Midwest Culturally Inclusive Conference.
 October 12th: 
Maria Semple, author of Where'd You Go, Bernadette will headline the Books by the Banks festival.
November 1st: 
Jamie Ford will visit Woodstock Academy and the Bancroft School, where his books have been selected as All Campus Reads.
 November 7th: 
Chitra Banjeree Divakaruni will give the Mary Jane Malone lecture to students at Caddo Parish Magnet School.
 Check out even more events schedule here


Books In Common