Piggyback Your Way to Unforgettable Author Events
Christie Hinrichs, Director 
One of the many ways Books In Common helps you save money and put together outstanding author events is through piggyback opportunities. No, we aren't offering to carry you around on our shoulders (though, that might be fun too!); instead  we line up a string of venues when we know an author's heading to a particular area, and piggyback them together. This saves all participating event hosts lots of money on speaking fees, travel expenses, and logistical headaches. 

The venue is thrilled to get a top-tier author for a fraction of their standard fee; the author is thrilled to maximize their time and energy while traveling; the community members are thrilled to have access to New York Times bestsellers and Pulitzer-Prize winners that would otherwise not be able to make it to their area: it's a win-win-win!
Books In Common is in a unique position to offer these opportunities to our venues because our cutting-edge database gives us instant information on where an author will be, and matches them with venues in the nearby area (with an hour or more distance between venues). Our networked knowledge, gathered from thousands of libraries, colleges and organizations across the country, gives our venues dozens if not hundreds of authors to select from each year, meeting their specific selection criteria, with a significant discount.  

A Look At: Brandeis National Committee, Phoenix Chapter

Books In Common recently asked Merrill Kalman a few questions about her recent event coordinated with BIC, and the secret to the program's longevity:
How did the collaboration with Books In Common
help make this year's
event successful?

Since this past year was our 25th anniversary we wanted to make it extra special, and a request was made for Garth Stein to participate in our event as one of our featured speakers. Books In Common was very helpful in that regard and worked out a plan to make it affordable for us.

As one of the nation's largest "Friends" organizations, what's been your secret for keeping the public and Brandeis supporters interested in what you do?

Our biggest "secret" to our success has been our speakers. We're known for always having the tops in bestselling authors and celebrities, mixed occasionally with amazing up-and-coming authors.
A Look At: 
University of MN
First Year Experience Program 

Kris Cory from the University of Minnesota discussed how her relationship with Books In Common started and how the students come together for one common book:

Your choices for common reads span a number of diverse topics and authors. How much does diversity factor into the decision to read a certain book?

Diversity is a crucial consideration for us when we select common books. We serve a diverse student body and are committed to preparing students to function effectively in their lives and professions in a multicultural world. The undergraduate learning and development outcomes that we focus on in our First Year Experience program are the ability to communicate effectively and the ability to appreciate differences. Both of these outcomes can be supported with a variety of tools and experiences. We want our common book and the experience of reading, discussing, meeting the author and engaging with the questions and issues that these experiences raise to be part of the development of intercultural competence.  
The College of Education and Human Development (CEHD) Reads' motto is "Can one person make a difference?" How have you seen one person make a difference in your years of hosting common-reads programs?

Our CEHD Reads common question provides a framework for thinking about the individual choices and actions that are represented in the books we select and read; and also brings a spotlight to the ways that people who do the work of telling stories and writing can make a difference. We encourage our students, who are in a Writing Intensive course while they read the common book, to see themselves and the work they do in the course --- as writers, as collaborators with their peers and community members in and outside the classroom, and as volunteers and service learners --- as individuals who are making a difference.  
Author Interview:
Anthony Doerr

Anthony Doerr 
Books In Common recently coordinated an interview between Margaret Simon, public-relations coordinator for the Shaker Heights Public Library, and Anthony Doerr in anticipation of his upcoming Books In Common-arranged visit in October 2015. Anthony Doerr is the author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel All the Light We Cannot See. Here is an excerpt of that interview:
MS:  In your book, All the Light We Cannot See, what drew you to the World War II setting?   
Anthony Doerr: I wanted to set a novel in a time and place when radio was a preeminent, all-important technology. Once I discovered the seaside Breton town of Saint-Malo in France and started reading about its destruction in August of 1944, I decided to try to set my radio story there. 
MS: Both character and plot are critical to a book's success. What comes first in your writing: character or the plot?
Anthony Doerr: Oh, gosh, everything --- action, character, image, metaphor, the sound of the language, the length of the paragraphs --- comes together only over a long period of time. I have to compose, revise, and re-revise sentences just to understand what should happen in them. So my process involves a lot of trial and error. At
first a story is just like a big gray glob of clay, and it's only with each pass over it that I'm able to start carving out features, understanding what it's about, etc. In early drafts I might describe, say, a bedroom, but I don't know what's on the walls yet; or I describe a person, but don't quite know what's in her heart yet...  it's only through revision, and time, that those things start to become clear.

Author Interview: Ellen Urbani

Books In Common asked Ellen Urbani, author of
Landfall, a few questions about her just-published book and her experience at literary events. Landfall was released August 11, 2015, and follows the path of two young girls as they deal with the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, La.

What inspired you to write this story?
When I lived in Guatemala at the end of that country's civil war, in the early 1990s, the husband of one of my dearest friends disappeared. Like thousands of others, he was one of the Los Desaparecidos (The Disappeared Ones): villagers abducted by government forces in retribution for their allegiance to the resistance. A short time later, military troops returned for his sons, to forcibly enlist them in the state-sponsored army. I hid the boys in a small storeroom in my home as soldiers ransacked the town, and my house, in search of them, at one point passing within inches of the children's hiding place. 
The story of that experience is detailed in my memoir
When I Was Elena. Many years later, after I'd returned to life stateside and Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast, reports of vast numbers of missing citizens quickly wafted out of the South. I couldn't help thinking about my Guatemalan friend and her family, and was overcome with empathy for the families of Katrina's 'desaparecidos,' 705 of whom are still classified as missing these 10 years later. From that place of empathy, Landfall grew.  
Highlights from:   
BIC-Supported Events
Christina Baker Kline at a library in New Jersey
"I am still running into people who were at the event that are singing her praises. She both entertained and educated the audience." 
----  Barbara, co-chair of library event

Dylan Tomine at a library in Washington
"Dylan is fantastic. He is one of us. We felt at home with him everywhere, and shared experiences around our region."
--- Tim, library coordinator


Guadalupe Garcia McCall at a high school in Texas 

"The event went very well. The teachers and staff were very supportive and enthusiastic. The students were attentive and respectful and they seemed genuinely moved by the presentation." 

----  Guadalupe Garcia McCall


Marja Mills at a library in Mississippi

There was a "lively question- and-answer period, good vibe." 

----  Marja Mills


Regina Calcaterra at a fundraiser in Florida

 "Although there were many interesting speakers at this conference, there was constant reference to Regina's presen- tation, which was woven into other speakers' presentations about children in foster care and a reference to Regina's term of 'good touches' being so important to such children."

---  Jeanne, event organizer


Click Here for more BIC Events 

Book Reviews

Liar Temptress Soldier Spy by Karen Abbott
Scarlett O'Hara would be hard-pressed to keep up with the real-life heroines of Liar Temptress Soldier Spy. When the Civil War disrupted their homes and communities, hundreds of women seized their opportunity to spy, fight in battle, smuggle contraband, and rescue soldiers. Although largely ignored by history books, these women's actions often made the difference between victory or defeat on the battlefield. In what she dubs "sizzle history," New York Times-bestselling author Karen Abbott introduces us to four of these women and their adventures.

Community Reads Programs will find this narrative work of nonfiction reads like a novel, with plenty of adventure and high intrigue, appealing to both men and women. Liar Temptress Soldier Spy looks at women who defied 19th-Century gender roles and made crucial contributions to the Civil War's outcome. It's a great fit for Campus Reads Programs as well, with ample tie-ins to American and Civil War history, Southern culture, and women's studies. Coming from a variety of backgrounds and social classes, these strong female role models of American stubbornness, grit, and independence remind us that social limitations are often no match for human spirit and determination.

Where Am I Eating? by Kelsey Timmerman

Where Am I Eating? introduces readers to the global food community we participate in, and asks them to consider how the food we buy from supermarkets, restaurants and cafeterias impacts people from every corner of our world. Kelsey Timmerman traces the origins of many popular foods that Americans take for granted in everyday life: coffee, chocolate, apple juice, bananas, and more.

A conversation-provoking selection for both community reads and all-campus reads programs, Where Am I Eating? explores such themes as nutrition, organics, world commerce, globalization, social justice, conscious consumerism, environmentalism, and capitalism. Students gain a greater awareness of the global economy they will soon participate in as producers and consumers. Communities find tie-in opportunities to learn about foreign cultures while reaching out to every ethnic group within their community. No matter how distant or different each group of people might be, the food in our fields, in our grocery stores, and on our tables ties us all together.

The Books In Common Newsletter
October 2015
Anthony Doerr,
author of All the Light We Cannot See
In This Issue
Stay Connected

Check out these Upcoming Events Arranged by  
Books In Common


October 5th, 2015
Congressman John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and Nate Powell, authors of March, will present
at two First Year Experience Programs in New York

October 6th, 2015
Regina Calcaterra, 

author of Etched in Sand 
will speak at a college in Kansas

October 7th, 2015
Ayelet Waldman, author of Love and Treasure,
will visit a university and a library in Tennessee

October 8th, 2015
Sister Helen Prejean, 
author of Dead Man Walking, will present at a Common Reads program in Michigan

October 8th, 2015
Christina Baker Kline, author of Orphan Train,

will speak at a literary luncheon in Connecticut

October 12th, 2015
Anthony Doerr, author of All the Light We Cannot See,
will present at two libraries in Ohio


October 23rd, 2015

Laura McBride, author of We Are Called to Rise, will visit a Common Reads program in Colorado 


October 26th, 2015

Garth Stein, author of The Art of Racing in the Rain, will visit two venues in Southeastern Canada


October 26th, 2015

David Treuer, author of Prudence, will visit a First Year Experience program in Minnesota


October 28th, 2015

Jeff Hobbs, author of The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace, will speak at a university in Michigan


October 29th, 2015

Ruta Sepetys, author of Between Shades of Gray, will visit a Common Reads program in Texas


November 2nd, 2015

Marja Mills, author of The Mockingbird Next Door, will visit a library in Oregon 


November 6th, 2015

Dave Eggers, author of The Circle, will deliver a keynote address in Missouri 


November 13th, 2015

Michael Hingson, author of Thunderdog, will visit a school in Massachusetts


November 19th, 2015

Craig Johnson, author of the Longmire series, will visit a library in Texas