May 2014 Newsletter
Issue: 6
Books In Common
Photo Brett Hall Jones
 Page to Stage: When Writers Speak

A talented writer does not a speaker make.  Go to enough literary events, and you're bound to experience this first hand.  You love the work, have read the recommended the titles to everyone you know.  But when you see them in person?  Just. Not. The Same. It's unfortunate, but occasionally it happens.  Authors, after all, frequently live an existence of isolation, in communion with the page alone.  But as all literary event coordinators know, the best way to ensure success of any community or all campus reads programs is to include the author for a community event.  But what if the author is a terrible speaker?



Read the Whole Article... 

A Look At One Book Yuma


Books in Common had the opportunity to ask Sarah Wisdom, of One Book Yuma, some questions on setting up their Community Reads programs and the response in her community.



Would you tell us a bit about your program?  

One Book Yuma was a spin off of One Book Arizona, our statewide Community Reads program. The public library and local newspaper started with a pilot program in 2003, and simply encouraged people to read the same book and attend a program. Our community colleges became collaborators in 2006, which also 2006 marked the first year we brought the author of the selected title to lead our community events. With one exception, we've brought the author to Yuma every year since!


BIC helped you secure your author last year, what did you learn from 2014 program that is helping you with your 2015 event?  

We tweaked the number of events and the times they were held to better accommodate our community. We have a large retiree and "winter visitor" population, as well as our local working crowd that we were trying to reach, so we offered a daytime and evening event. We also made a conscious effort to reach out to our local bookstores as soon as we selected the title in hopes that they would keep the book in stock.



Read the Whole Article...

Author Interview Karen Joy Fowler
Photo Brett Hall Jones
Photo by:
Brett Hall Jones


Karen Joy Fowler, the author of We are All Completely Beside Ourselves, recently answered questions from Books in Common about her book and speaking experiences at Community Reads and All Campus Reads programs.


What are some of the "teachable" moments in your latest book, We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves, which help it work well for a Community/Campus Reads Program?

The book deals with a number of issues, all quite fascinating to me.  Among them are memory and how we now think it works; theory of mind and who has it and who doesn't; recent developments in animal cognition; and what separates humans from the other animals.  I did my best to be quite current in my research, although the 

book was finished a few years ago now and animal studies are a fast moving field.


What do you think of the Community Reads structure as a literary event format?

I love events with people who have already read the book and will have questions and issues of their own as a res
ult.  I love being with people who have already shown that they care about books and reading and stories as much as I do.

 Author Interview Margot Mifflin


Margot Mifflin is the author of, Blue Tattoo and Bodies of Subversion: A Secret History of Women and Tattoo. Books in Common recently asked her a few questions on her Community/Campus Reads speaking engagements, and how her books work as subjects for these programs.


What are some of the "teachable" moments in your books that make them work well for a Community/Campus Reads program?

The Blue Tattoo gives people a sense of the impact of westward migration on Southwest Indians by showing the rich life of the Mohave before whites came through their territory, how they interacted with them in the first encounters, and the devastating effect-continuing today-this had on their culture.  


Bodies of Subversion offers a way of discussing women's body issues from the perspectives of art history, sociology, anthropology, and feminist studies.  I'm always interested to see how the questions express the same curiosity about women's motivations for getting tattooed, which opens the door to discussions about tolerance and understanding, since their reason range from reclaiming the body after sexual abuse, to celebrating the body in this era of women's empowerment, to marking life transitions and achievements.


Books In Common Supported Events! 


Photo by:
Karin Diana.

Christina Baker Kline at Moses Lake, WA

An excited crowd came out to meet #1 New York Times bestseller Christina Baker Kline in Moses Lake,WA this February, including a 12-year-old girl who checked out Orphan Train just before Christina's arrival and decided to stay for the Orphan Train presentation. Said librarian P

aula Walters: "She forsure will be a lifelong reader!! Also, I have been getting emails from members of our book clubs thanking me. Moses Lake was just thrilled."



Reyna Grande at Grande Valley State, Monroe CC and LaPrensa; OH

In a whirlwind three city trip, author Reyna

Author, Reyna Grande speaking at Monroe Community College, OH

Grande, author of The Distance Between Us, visited Grand Valley State University, Monroe Community College, and Toledo, OH for Books in Common arranged events.  "Reyna's visit was wonderful!" said Brian Jbara, the Director of Integrative Learning and Advising at Grand Valley State University. "Books in Common was great!  Your service was really wonderful." Cheryl Johnston of Monroe County Community College said, "In short, we had great author event for our 2014 One Book, One Community. Thank you Christie. Making arrangements with the author and facilitating the contract and travel arrangements was a huge help. We will be looking for more suggestions for next year. The last two years with guest authors, Chitra Divakaruni and Reyna Grande, have been wonderful."


Author, Sonia Nazario

Sonia Nazario at Benjamin School; North Palm Beach, FL 

Pulitzer Prize winning author of Enrique's Journey, Sonia Nazario, visited the Benjamin School in North Palm Beach, FL in March. In presentations to the middle and upper schools, as well as a public community event, Sonia wowed audiences with her passionate and inspiring presentations. 
Books Reviews


Wool, by Hugh Howey


Should the need for survival outweigh human rights 

and freedom? Hugh Howey's novel, Wool, explores a world blasted by nuclear war and environmental poisoning, where the last remnant of humanity lives within the closed, restrictive confines of a large underground silo. An unexpected revelation unsettles the established order and leaves several people desperately trying to re-establish peace - but only on their own terms.


An edgy, exciting read, Wool appeals to both older and younger readers while provoking deep questions about fear of ideas and individual differences, balancing society's needs with human rights, the use of nuclear weapons, and the hard choices made in service to a cause. Cold War-era nuclear doomsday mixes with friendships, love, and the petty rivalries of a society struggling to survive despite impossible situations. A great way to bring generations together to enjoy a book with something for everyone.


Gaining Ground, by Forrest Pritchard


Do you love your local farmer's market with its selection of fresh, organic produce? Remember how your grandparents grew their ownvegetables - each tastier than the supermarket's offerings? Or maybe you're one of the growing numbers of people tackling backyard gardens, reviving a small family-owned farm, or simply becoming more aware of where their food comes from.


In Gaining Ground, Forrest Pritchard shares in a lively fashion how he re-invented his family's farm for the 21st century. In an era of big agriculture, feedlots, and mass-produced, over-processed food, Forrest Pritchard turned a failing Virginia spread into a farm providing sustainable meat and eggs to urban dwellers in the surrounding Washington, D.C. and Arlington area.


Gaining Ground is perfect for community reads, all campus reads, and library programs that seek a fast-paced read dealing with the very popular subject of considering the choices we make about our food and local communities. Opportunities for tie-in programs with your local farmers' market, backyard gardeners, chefs, historians, children, adults, and senior citizens abound, and with discussion starters in every chapter, practical suggestions on how to support and seek out your local farmers, and reminders that following your own passions brings the greatest rewards. It'll bring your community together around a topic that matters to everyone.


The Distance Between Us, by Reyna Grande

Dreams and disaster came hand in hand for Reyna Grande's family, as Reyna chronicles their struggle to immigrate to America.  For many, America is the land of opportunity, but for Reyna and her siblings, it became the land that stole parents away.  The Distance Between Us, a gripping memoir of one child's journey, from a poverty-stricken Mexican village to undocumented immigrant and American citizen, challenges readers to see themselves, Hispanic immigration, and the dream of America from new perspectives. 


Giving voice to unfamiliar stories and finding the strength to tell one's own are common themes Reyna and her stories impart to readers and audiences. Middle-grade students, teens, college freshman, and mature readers have all found themselves changed by Reyna's memoir.  In a nation built by immigrants, The Distance Between Us reminds us of the high cost paid every day by those dreaming of a better life - and why they believe life in the United States is worth every bit of it.




Karen Joy Fowler, author of six novels and three short story collections including, The Jane Austen Book Club and We are All Completely Beside Ourselves.
In This Issue
From the Page to the Stage
A Look at: One Book Yuma
Author Interview: Karen Joy Fowler
Author Interview: Margot Mifflin
BIC Supported Events
Books Reviews
NW Book Lovers

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


May 1st 2014:

Ivan Doig, author of Sweet Thunder and The Bartender's Tale, will visit Whitman College in Walla Walla, WA.


May 1st 2014:  

Christina Baker Kline, author of Orphan Train, will visit the Tappan Free Library in Tappan, NY.


May 17th 2014:

Karen Joy Fowler, author of We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves, will visit the Eagle Valley Library in Avon, CO.


June 17, 2014

Christina Baker Kline will visit Colgate University Writers Conference in Hamilton, NY.


June 21, 2014

Mardi Jo Link, author of Bootstrapper: From Broke to Badass on a Northern Michigan Farm, will visit the Ann Arbor Book Festival in Ann Arbor, MI.

 Check out even more events schedule here


Books In Common