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Community gets On the Same Page with community read

The Friends of the Claremont Library has announced Susan Straight’s novel Take One Candle Light a Room as its 2013 selection for the citywide “On the Same Page” (OSTP) reading program.

The goal of this annual event is to engage community residents in a public discussion regarding a work of fiction, or non-fiction, that forms the foundation for a common experience and encourages the pleasure of reading.

Selections from previous years have included The Soloist by Steve Lopez, Into the Beautiful North by Lluis Alberto Urrea, and last year’s The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot.

Award-winning novelist Susan Straight has published 7 novels. Take One Candle Light a Room was the recipient of the Lannan Prize; Highwire Moon was a finalist for the National Book Award in 2001 and winner of the Gold Medal for fiction from the San Francisco-based Commonwealth Club; and A Million Nightingales was a finalist for the Los Angeles Book Prize in 2006. Additional awards—garnered for her short stories—include an O. Henry Award in 2007 and an Edgar Award in 2007.

Ms. Straight sets all her novels in the fictional town of Rio Seco, California, a loose parallel to her hometown of Riverside. Reflecting on her choice of setting she quotes fellow native California writer Joan Didion. “You have to pick the places you don’t walk away from.” In addition to a full-time job as a professor of creative writing at University of California, Riverside, Ms. Straight is also a regular contributor of essays to KCET.org.

Copies of Take One Candle Light a Room will be available for sale at the Friends of the Claremont Library Annual Book Sale, to be held April 18, 19 and 20. Beginning in the fall, a series of events that focus on the novel will be conducted, including a public discussion hosted by the author. Local reading groups and educators are encouraged to incorporate the book into their curriculum activities.

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