Los Gatos resident Diane McNutt has been organizing Silicon Valley Reads for the last 10 years. The annual event aims at getting everyone, adults and children alike, reading the same books on the same themes in order to spark conversation and build community.
In 2012, the series held 100 events and had more than 9,000 people participate.
McNutt says that those numbers are impressive but what sticks in her mind as example of what this reading series is all about is a conversation she had with a Campbell friend.
“Months after the series was over, a friend of mine from Campbell told me that she had started a group at her church, about eight Christian and eight Muslim women, using the Silicon Valley Reads books to start a conversation,” McNutt says. “Those are the kinds of stories where we really are having an impact in engaging the community and starting important conversations and there’s nothing better than that.”
The 2013 Silicon Valley Reads series kicks off Jan. 30, 7:30 p.m. at the Campbell Heritage Theatre with Mercury News columnist Mike Cassidy interviewing the two authors, Brian Castner, author of The Long Walk, and Sue Diaz, author of Minefields of the Heartpanel and music performed by students of Prospect High School.
Along with the two books for adults to read and the four children's books that allow the younger readers a way to participate, McNutt says that this year's series has a variety of events that wil appeal to all age-groups.
"The program has evolved over the years, like last year, and we have a huge variety of events of all types that are focused not just on the books but the theme 'invisible wounds of war,'" she says. "We do have something for every age group and interest to draw them in and encourage them to read, think and talk. We have children’s authors, authors, films, panel discussion, experiential activities like writing letters to veterans that will be collected by local libraries.
“In Mountain View, I discovered that the Moffett Field History Museum existed,” she says. “It’s fun and the exhibits there talk about how Moffett Field has been involved in America’s military since the 1930s. There will be coffee and donuts like USO, a chance for the community to visit the museum for free. Meet the authors and casual conversation, enjoy a donut and make a memory."
"There really is no excuse for everyone not to be involved in some way and to learn more."
The theme for the 2013 Silicon Valley Reads series is the "Invisible Wounds of War."
"As we looked at this theme, we found that everyone is only a couple of people away of knowing someone or has a family member serving," she says. "It’s the universal experience."
Silicon Valley Reads events scheduled for Palo Alto and nearby are:
Fri, Feb 1 - Brian Castner & Sue Diaz
Both Silicon Valley Reads authors will read from their books and take questions before a book signing. Moderator is L.A. Chung, the Los Altos Patch editor. 7:00 p.m.
- Books Inc, 855 El Camino Real, Palo Alto
Feb. 2 - Moffett Field History Museum Community Open House
Step back in time at the Moffett Field Historical Society Museum and learn about the significant role Moffett Field and our region has played in American military history since the 1930s. Explore exhibits and enjoy USO style coffee and donuts and casual conversation with Silicon Valley Reads authors Brian Castner and Sue Diaz. Limited to 200 and reservations required. Email name, number attending and contact information to SVReads@aol.com. Photo ID will be required at the Moffett Field entrance gate. Co-sponsored by Moffett Field Historical Society, the Office of Congressman Mike Honda, the Office of San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed, and the Office of Santa Clara County Supervisor Mike Wasserman.
- 10 a.m. – 1 p.m.
- Moffett Field Enter at Main Gate Bldg. 126, Severyns Ave., Mountain View
Feb. 13 - Book Group
Both The Long Walk and Minefields of the Heart will be discussed. Public is welcome.
- 7-8:30 p.m.
- Mountain View Public Library 585 Franklin St., Mountain View
Feb. 27 - "Why World Peace Is Possible and How We Can Achieve It"
Iraq War veteran, West Point graduate and peace activist Paul K. Chappell discusses how he learned at West Point and in the army that world peace is possible. He explains how military history shows that human beings are not naturally violent. He also debunks the "Gandhi myth" and describes how waging peace is strategically superior to violence in solving our national and global problems.
While on active duty, Chappell wrote two books, Will War Ever End?: A Soldier's Vision of Peace for the 21st Century and The End of War: How Waging Peace Can Save Humanity, Our Planet, and Our Future. He is also the author of Peaceful Revolution: How We Can Create the Future Needed for Humanity's Survival.
After leaving active duty in November 2009, he began serving as the Peace Leadership Director for the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation in Santa Barbara, CA. He speaks throughout the country to colleges, high schools, veterans groups, churches, and activist organizations. Presented by Los Altos Voices for Peace and sponsored by the Friends of the Library of Los Altos.
*Information provided by Silicon Valley Reads 2013
Silicon Valley Reads is presented by the Santa Clara County Office of Education, Santa Clara County Library District and the San Jose Public Library Foundation, with funding from foundations, nonprofit organizations, corporations and private donors.
There will be 123 public events during the Silicon Valley Reads series (with about a dozen school events, closed to the public) that run from Jan. 30 to April 13 throughout Silicon Valley. For a complete list of events, visit www.SiliconValleyReads.org or email SVReads@aol.com.
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