Friday, February 5, 2016


Last week I got this email at work:

Hi Jackie! (sic) Here is the invitation I was telling you about yesterday. Please feel free to share with any other teachers you may know. It’s a free dinner and a chance to mingle with librarians, teachers, bookstore owners, publishers, and reading/literacy patrons from San Diego – and you get a free book! Oh, and I’ll be there! ;)

The invitation  - who could resist?

And why would one resist?

This one did not.

The event was held at the pbs studio on campus of my alma mater, aka Monty's house. Being a total geek, I got all excited about production rooms and operations centers and fancy looking tv stuff.

Audio Sweetening, waaaaaat?

I wasn't exactly sure what to expect of the event itself, other than free dinner and a free book and seeing the person who had invited me, plus the persons I had invited.

image credit: @OneBookSD twitter

See that table waaay up front on the right by the important people?

That was our table. 

One Book, One San Diego is a community reading program co-sponsored by KPBS, the city and county libraries, and lots of generous bookish rich peeps. According to the library's webpage: "The purpose of the program is to bring our community together and encourage residents to join in a shared experience of reading and discussing the same book. The program also encourages participation in related events, discussions of the ideas raised in the featured book, and examination of how these ideas connect with our daily lives and local communities."

2016 is the 10th anniversary year, so I was thrilled to be invited to this kick off event to learn more about how it all works and contribute in any way that I could. I'm a pretty big deal, ya know.

First we filled our plates with yum mexcian food, then headed to our tables for the presentation. A KPBS dude from our table kicked things off with an overview of the community reading program, and an explanation of how this year's book would be selected by committee from a pool of nominations (aka dream job). Anyone can nominate any book, as long as it meets the OBOSD criteria:

It's so INTERESTING! right?! I was grinning like an uber dork the whole time. I love this shit!

Throughout the presentations that followed, I took note of comments that the publishers and agents made about what should nudge their suggested book into the A list:

Themes that would make for a good 1B1SD pick:
female author
border issues
mental health issues
of interest to high schoolers
author is alive
"talking about things that need to be talked about"
body image

Then the first publishing guy came up, and I'm so sorry. I don't know which publisher he represented! And his handout was orange and did not say. UPDATE: Simon & Shuster. Here are that guy's recommendations:

ignore the sideways notes, I'll explain those in a minute

Can you read that? I'll come back later and type a list. I'm currently burning dinner and thawing wings for a dry rub and it's Thursday night. Remind me if you are reading this Friday and I forgot. 

Update: Simon & Shuster recommendations (even though no one reminded me):

Badluck Way: A Year on the Ragged Edge of the West by Bryce Andrews
The Soul of an Octopus: A Surprising Exploration into the Wonder of Consciousness by Sy Montgomery
Did You Ever Have a Family by Bill Clegg
We are Called to Rise: A Novel by Laura McBride
Life by the Cup: Ingredients for  Purpose-Filled Lifeof Bottomless Happiness and Limitless Success by Zhena Muzyka
The Oregon Trail: A New American Journey by Rinker Buck

Okay then the Penguin/Random House people came along. I automatically liked them because they always had the best shipping and organized paperwork back at NBS. Their nominations were:



Random House


Random House

It was super cool to hear these spiels, you guys. These are book people. They love these books! They threw in books that were neither published (yet) nor eligible for selection, but they couldn't help it. These are my people, people.

The handout from the last presenter was a big fat thing, but I seem to have neglected the photo and it turns out that it didn't highlight the books she was suggesting, anyway. Those were the sideways notes on the orange page above, which I've transcribed below. She had a chinese theme going:

Dijkstra's recommendations for 1B1SD
Saving Fish From Drowning - Amy Tan
Shanghai Girls - Lisa See
Arranged Marriage - Chita Civakaruni
Red Azalea - Anchee Min *
Hard Love Province - Marilyn Chin (poems)
My Mother's Wars - Lillian Faderman

I had only read one of the books (Everything We Never Told You) that were described to me that night, although I am #126 on the library reserve list for another. After a review of the nomination form, we were called by table to select our book. We each had been given a ticket that could be redeemed for one of the books we'd just met, and we were advised to have 2-3 books in mind in case our first choices were swooped up before our lucky number was called.

Our lucky number, however,  brought me from #126 straight up to #1

Now if you'll excuse me, I've got some reading to do.


mom said...

That's a great book - lucky you. Ellie just pointed out to me that the book in the picture above Fates and Furies is Dead Wake(about the sinking of the Lusitania) - our book club's next selection!
Sounds like a great evening, wine included!
love, mom

Beth said...

damn me for not making this happen! you so generously invited me and I said no to drive my tribe around instead! Looks freakin' fantastic. (will you invite me again next year?)

So interesting! thanks for sharing all the details, and yay for free books. (full disclosure, i still haven't read Two Years Eight Nights and Twenty Eight Nights that was handed to us at USD when we saw Salman Rushdie....).

Looking forward to seeing you this weekend. And three of your other book people family. ;)


Me, You, or Ellie said...

Oh, how I deeply love this. So many thoughts and feelings!

The author has to be alive? How interesting.

Love the NBS reference.

Orange is a dumb color for a handout, but that Bill Clegg book has been on our book club list for ages -- just waiting for it to be old enough that the library can get copies for us.

"The Circle" was meh -- an I'm an Eggers fan. "My Sunshine Away" was pretty good; good not great.

BUT none of that is important right now because Fates and Furies! That was a good read. Hope you like it!

You're #1!!

Love this, Jacquie. Oh, how I love the books. And book people!