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Posts Tagged ‘Seattle’

Deb Caletti on Her Love for the Library

Tuesday, May 7th, 2013

Caletti_He's Gone Deb Caletti, National Book Award Finalist and author of numerous young adult novels, is the author of HE’S GONE, a trade paperback original on sale next Tuesday, May 14th. Below, Deb shares her life-long love for one of her favorite places: the library.

One of the most constant and sustaining truths of my life has been this: I love the library. It’s a love that’s been steadfast and unwavering since I was about six years old. I understood right from the start that every set of library doors were the sort of magic portals that lead to other lands. My God, right within reach there were dinosaurs and planets and presidents and girl detectives! It was a blissful mismatch of promises, the very sort I required: adventure and escape all in a setting of order and safety.

From then on, I was the library-goer who needed the library. I was (am) a bit of an addict. The thrill of bringing home a stack of books so heavy you could barely carry them (I can take all these? For free? Really?) began then and has never left me. But even more, all the answers were in that place. I ate lunch in there sometimes when I was a teen and needed a reprieve from being a teen. As a young mother, I trolled the aisles dripping babies and book bags as I tried to learn how to be a writer. And later, I hid in Self Help as I tried to understand – and leave – my abusive marriage. That’s another thing: librarians keep your secrets. Between those walls and those covers there is all of life, the whole record of us poor old souls doing what we can to get through it, and librarians know this.

Every few weeks, I still make my pilgrimage, hauling around my too-full bag. And every time, I still can’t quite believe no one’s chasing me out as I make off with the goods. So, dear librarians, thank you for this greedy joy. Thank you, too, for the life-changing power of information. Your libraries have been my sanctuary and my sigh of relief, and I am ever grateful.

HE’S GONE by Deb Caletti goes on sale May 14, 2013
Join the conversation on Twitter, Facebook, or visit Deb’s website for more information.

Have you read HOTEL ON THE CORNER OF BITTER AND SWEET?

Friday, October 15th, 2010

Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and SweetAfter a year in paperback, Jamie Ford’s bestselling debut novel enters the top 10 on the New York Times paperback fiction bestseller list. To celebrate (and to continue celebrating National Reading Group Month) we wanted to share the reading guide, video with readers who haven’t yet discovered this gem of a novel. And for those who have, check out Jamie’s never-ending book tour!

“Explores the age-old conflicts between father and son, the beauty and sadness of what happened to Japanese Americans in the Seattle area during World War II, and the depths and longing of deep-heart love. An impressive, bitter, and sweet debut.”
-–Lisa See, bestselling author of Snow Flower and the Secret Fan

1. Father- son relationships are a crucial theme in the novel. Talk about some of these relationships and how they are shaped by culture and time. For example, how is the relationship between Henry and his father different from that between Henry and Marty? What accounts for the differences?

2. If you were Henry, would you be able to forgive your father? Does Henry’s father deserve forgiveness?

3. From the beginning of the novel, Henry wears the “I am Chinese” button given to him by his father. What is the significance of this button and its message, and how does Henry’s understanding of that message change by the end of the novel?

4. The United States has been called a nation of immigrants. In what ways do the families of Keiko and Henry illustrate different aspects of the American immigrant experience?

5. If a novel could have a soundtrack, this one would be jazz. What is it about this indigenous form of American music that makes it an especially appropriate choice?

6. Henry’s mother comes from a culture in which wives are subservient to their husbands. Given this background, do you think she could have done more to help Henry in his struggles against his father? Is her loyalty to her husband a betrayal of her son?

7. Compare Marty’s relationship with Samantha to Henry’s relationship with Keiko. What other examples can you find in the novel of love that is forbidden or that crosses boundaries of one kind or another?

8. What struggles did your own ancestors have as immigrants to America, and to what extent did they incorporate aspects of their cultural heritage into their new identities as Americans?

9. What sacrifices do the characters make in pursuit of their dreams for themselves and for others? Do you think any characters sacrifice too much, or for the wrong reasons? Consider the sacrifices Mr. Okabe makes, for example, and those of Mr. Lee. Both fathers are acting for the sake of their children, yet the results are quite different. Why?

10. Was the U.S. government right or wrong to “relocate” Japanese Americans and other citizens and residents who had emigrated from countries the U.S. was fighting in WWII? Was some kind of action necessary following Pearl Harbor? Could the government have done more to safeguard civil rights while protecting national security?

View the complete reading guide here.

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