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Novel Idea Kickoff

Posted By:  Liz Goodrich
Date Posted:  3/24/2015

A Novel Idea Kickoff As the largest community-wide reading project in the state, Deschutes Public Library’s “A Novel Idea” engaged over 6,000 Deschutes County residents in 2014. Through “A Novel Idea,” readers have explored the highways of Mexico, the mountain streams of Oregon’s coastal range and the city streets of Kabul, Afghanistan. From civil rights struggles in Mississippi to the brutality of a post-apocalyptic America, “A Novel Idea” encourages Deschutes County residents to consider issues that matter through the lens of a single book. This year we’ll travel to British Columbia and Japan as we read and discuss A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki. It its 12th year, “A Novel Idea” 2015 kicks off three weeks of cultural programs, book discussions and workshops on Sunday, March 29, 2015, at 2:00 p.m. at the Downtown Bend Library. The program is free and open to the public and will include remarks by event organizers and sponsors and a karate demonstration by Bend Karate Club.

Set in both the Pacific Northwest and in Japan, A Tale for the Time Being explores the lives of frustrated author Ruth, and Japanese teenager Nao (pronounced now). This unlikely reader and writer duo is brought together when Ruth discovers Nao’s journal, safely tucked inside a Hello Kitty lunch box, washed up on the shore of her island home. Stacey Donohue, humanities chair at COCC and “Novel Idea” selection committee member, says that the novel will appeal to, and challenge, a wide range of readers. “The range of this novel is vast,” she says, “and covers many seemingly disparate themes and subjects including environmentalism, Buddhism, WWII kamikaze pilots, bullying and even Schrödinger’s Cat.”

Donohue says her favorite character in the novel is Nao, the Japanese teen who authors the journal that Ruth finds washed ashore. “Despite the obvious emotional pain she is in, Nao is smart, curious and ultimately the heroine of the novel,” says Donohue. “She recovers and shares the true story of her great Uncle’s death, her great grandmother’s rich life and, ultimately, through the stories she shares, she saves Ruth, her reader, on the other side of the world,” she says. During the kickoff Donohue will give a brief overview of the novel and offer suggestions on how Deschutes County readers might approach Ozeki’s novel.

For more information about this or other library programs, please visit the library website at People with disabilities needing accommodations (alternative formats, seating or auxiliary aides) should contact Liz at (541) 312-1032.

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