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Gulf Coast Reads: On The Same Page “One Book, One City”… Reading Initiative Kick Off [8/27/2011]


BY Alex Wang [ August 16, 2011 at 08:10:31 ]

Gulf Coast Reads: On The Same Page
“One Book, One City”… Reading Initiative Kick Off
- Saturday, August 27, 2011 -

Libraries and literacy organizations in the Greater Houston area have joined together to present this year’s exciting “One Book, One City” program -- Gulf Coast Reads: On the Same Page. This program was created to bring the community together to celebrate the joy of reading as well as to promote the power of literacy. This regional program will kick off on Saturday, August, 27 at 12PM with a festive day full of colorful entertainment and activities for the entire family. The event will take place at the Houston Public Library’s Central Library, 500 McKinney, 77002, 832-393-1313. This program is free and open to the Public.

The book selection for Gulf Coast Reads: On the Same Page is “One Amazing Thing” by internationally-renowned author Chitra Divakaruni. This book was selected because it shows that culturally diverse people can come together during their collective struggle to overcome adversity. In a moment when the psychological and emotional stress seems nearly too much for them to bear, the characters in the book each tell a personal tale, "one amazing thing" from their lives, which they have never told anyone before. The novel proves the transcendent power of stories and the meaningfulness of human expression itself.

Opening Celebration

Saturday, August 27 | 11AM – 4PM
Houston Public Library | Central Library - 500 McKinney St, 77002
Ph. 832-393-1313

Join us for a special day of activities to officially launch the Houston area’s new reading and programming series, Gulf Coast Reads. We will begin with a book discussion of “One Amazing Thing,” followed by the official opening featuring special guests and an interactive presentation from “One Amazing Thing” author Chitra Divakaruni. The afternoon will be filled with ongoing crafts, presentations and cultural entertainment, all related to the themes of the book.

11 AM: Book Discussion, featuring special guest, Connie Lewis from Houston Great Books Council
NOON: Official Opening and Author Presentation
2 PM: Ongoing Activities

About Gulf Coast Reads

This educational and fun citywide reading initiative is being presented in partnership by the Houston Public Library, Fort Bend County Libraries, Harris County Public Library, and Montgomery County Memorial Library. The goal of Gulf Coast Reads: On the Same Page is to cultivate a culture of reading in Houston by encouraging people to come together in libraries, bookstores, community centers, homes, churches, schools and parks to discuss the book. This program will take place Saturday, August 27 through Friday, September 30, 2011.

Additional program partners include: Bellaire Public Library, Blue Willow Bookshop, Brazoria Public Library System, Brazos Bookstore, Houston Community College, and Houston Great Books Council.

Gulf Coast Reads: On the Same Page program will have a resource guide available to help the community find events and information. The guide will provide an overview of the program, information about the author, the first chapter of the book, a listing of related events being hosted by the various city Library partners, discussion questions, information related to family literacy, and other useful resources associated with the selected title. Information will also be available at www.gulfcoastreads.org and on Facebook.
Author appearances

Everyone in Houston will have an opportunity to hear and meet author Chitra Divakaruni at the following locations:

Saturday, August 27 | 11 AM
Kick Off Celebration
Houston Public Library
Central Library | 832-393-1313
500 McKinney St, 77002
** Media event is at Noon

Thursday, September 8 | 4 PM
Harris County Public Library
Barbara Bush Library | 281-376-4610
6817 Cypresswood Dr, 77379

Saturday, September 10 | 2 PM
Montgomery County Memorial Library System
South Regional Library | 936-442-7727
2101 Lake Robbins Dr, The Woodlands, 77380

Wednesday, September 14 | 10 AM
Harris County Public Library
Cy-Fair College Library | 281-290-3210
9191 Barker Cypress Rd, 77433

Thursday, September 22 | 7 PM
Fort Bend County Libraries
First Colony Branch Library | 281-238-2800
2121 Austin Pkwy, Sugar Land, 77479

Thursday, September 29 | 7 PM
Sterling Municipal Library | 281-427-7331
Mary Elizabeth Wilbanks Ave, Baytown, 77520
Visits via Skype

Monday, September 12 | 6:30PM
Pearland Library | 281-485-4876
3522 Liberty Dr, Pearland 77581

Tuesday, September 20 | 6:30PM
Alvin Library | 281-388-4300
105 South Gordon, Alvin 77511

About the Book…“One Amazing Thing”

Late afternoon sun sneaks through the windows of a passport and visa office in an unnamed American city. Most customers and even most office workers have come and gone, but nine people remain. A punky teenager with an unexpected gift. An upper-class Caucasian couple whose relationship is disintegrating. A young Muslim-American man struggling with the fallout of 9/11. A graduate student haunted by a question about love. An African-American ex-soldier searching for redemption. A Chinese grandmother with a secret past. And two visa office workers on the verge of an adulterous affair. When an earthquake rips through the afternoon lull, trapping these nine characters together, their focus first jolts to their collective struggle to survive. There's little food. The office begins to flood. Then, at a moment when the psychological and emotional stress seems nearly too much for them to bear, the young graduate student suggests that each tell a personal tale, "one amazing thing" from their lives, which they have never told anyone before. And as their surprising stories of romance, marriage, family, political upheaval, and self-discovery unfold against the urgency of their life-or-death circumstances, the novel proves the transcendent power of stories and the meaningfulness of human expression itself. – Publishers Description.

About the Author

Chitra Divakaruni was born in India and lived there until 1976. She came to the United States to continue her education and received a Masters from Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio, and a Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley. Currently, she teaches in the nationally ranked Creative Writing program at the University of Houston. Divakaruni has written several books, both for adults and children, including “The Palace of Illusions,” which is currently one of the selected titles for the Museum of Fine Arts Houston. Her works have been published in over 50 magazines, including the “Atlantic Monthly” and “The New Yorker.” Several of her works have also been translated into 20 languages, including Dutch, Hebrew and Japanese. Two of her books, “The Mistress of Spices” and “Sister of My Heart,” were made into movies by filmmakers Gurinder Chadha and Paul Berges (an English film) and Suhasini Mani Ratnam (a Tamil TV serial) respectively. Divakaruni lives in Sugarland, Texas with her husband Murthy, her two sons Anand and Abhay (whose names she has used in her children’s novels) and Juno, the family dog.


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