Santa Monica Public Library invites the community to celebrate 20 years of community reading, June 4 – August 6,2022, with Joan Didion’s Where I Was From.

Since 2002 we have been coming together as a community to share a book, discuss it, and hear from experts, often including the author.

This year’s choice is Where I Was From, by the great California writer Joan Didion, who passed in December 2021. Published in 2003, Where I Was From uses Didion’s family history to bring together material from essays exploring the history and meaning of California. Topics range from the Donner Party and the role of the railroads in the development of the state, to the post-WWII aerospace boom and its role in the growth of suburbia.

Free copies of the book and the Resource Guide are available starting June 4, while supplies last. Copies of the book, ebook and audiobook-on-CD are also available to borrow.

Join the community discussion of the 2022 Santa Monica Reads book! Discussions will be in person and online. The discussions kick off on June 30 at 6 p.m. in the Main Library Courtyard. Additional discussions take place July 7 at 6 p.m. at the Pico Branch Library Annex, July 16 at 11 a.m. (Virtual – To register, email library@santamonica.gov) and July 21 at 6 p.m. at the Montana Branch Library Patio.

There will be two author events in the Main Library Courtyard. Cultural critic David Ulin, the author of Sidewalking: Coming to Terms with Los Angeles and the editor of the Library of America editions of Didion’s work, will appear on July 6 at 6 p.m., in conversation with novelist Laila Lalami. Several contributors to the anthology Slouching Towards Los Angeles: Living and Writing by Joan Didion’s Light, will appear with editor Steffie Nelson on August 6 at 3 p.m.

Santa Monica Reads is sponsored by the Santa Monica Public Library and the Friends of the Santa Monica Library.

For a full list of free Library programs, resources, locations, and hours, please visit our website at smpl.org. We look forward to seeing you at the Library this summer.

Questions? Call us at (310) 458-8600 or email library@santamonica.gov. Friendly Library staff are available during Library open hours. We look forward to connecting with you.

Submitted by Karen Reitz