Welcome to our second fall community read! Our first community reading event was launched last year with The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini. The libraries of San Mateo County produced over sixty cultural programs and book discussions in addition to hosting a personal appearance by the author. These activities were wildly successful. Mr. Hosseini’s appearance at the San Mateo Performing Arts Center filled all 1800 seats and the entire standing room area. We reluctantly had to turn people away due to overcapacity.
Encouraged by this enthusiasm, we’ve organized another memorable literary celebration that runs through November 7. For our second book, we chose Daughter of Fortune by Isabel Allende because the themes of the novel—immigration, cultural diversity and California history—are directly relevant to our community. The book has garnered numerous awards and is found on many high school summer reading lists. The highlight of the festivities will again be an author event. Isabelle Allende will appear in conversation with Michael Krasny, host of KQED’s “Forum,” on Thursday, October 11 at 7:30 pm at the San Mateo Performing Arts Center. A book signing will follow their presentation.
Other exciting events designed to extend the themes of Daughter of Fortune include a talk by Dr. Carlos Lopez, former president of Menlo College, on the Chilean immigrants of the California Gold Rush, some of whom went on to found the town of Atherton. Professor John Felstiner of Stanford University will share his memories, slides and recordings of Chilean poet Pablo Neruda, with whom he was personally acquainted. Celebrated film maker Warren Haack will present his short film on Joaquin Murieta, a character that figures prominently in Daughter of Fortune. Chilean musical groups Chaskinakuy, Araucaria, and singer Lichi Fuentes will perform the folk music and dances of Chile. Veramonte winery will host a tasting of Chilean wines, and Chef Guisell Osorio will teach you how to make empanadas. These are but a few of seventy riveting programs, free and open to all.
Pick up a copy of Daughter of Fortune at your local library. For more information on the times and locations of all seventy events, pick up a program in any public library in San Mateo County, or point your web browser to www.plsinfo.org/oboc.