(Photos courtesy of Deschutes Public Library)
Springtime in Deschutes County means A Novel Idea celebrations are underway as thousands of readers discuss the same books and participate in free cultural programs, all leading up to the main author event. This year, the 20th anniversary of Oregon’s largest community read program, Deschutes Public Library welcomes four authors from years past to honor this special occasion.
“It wasn’t enough to pick just one book or one author to mark this tremendous milestone,” said Deschutes Public Library Programs Supervisor Liz Goodrich. “We are excited and honored to welcome back authors David James Duncan, María Amparo Escandón, Peter Heller, and Anne Griffin.”
When the A Novel Idea community read program first started 20 years ago it was with a simple question in mind: What would happen if everyone in Deschutes County read the same book? And the answer is: great things! The goal is to engage with the community through thought-provoking and relevant programming and wrap it all up with a free and accessible visit from the author.
Over the last two decades readers have been around the world together — they’ve even been to the moon — and have visited times that stretch into the past as well as into the future. The exponential growth of A Novel Idea, with more than 9,000 participants in 2023, is a testament to the readers and thinkers of Deschutes County.
“The community’s interest and enthusiasm continues to enrich A Novel Idea year after year,” said Goodrich. “We’re delighted to facilitate more than two dozen programs that focus on themes found in each of the four books, including a special exhibit hosted by The Deschutes Historical Museum highlighting artifacts and ephemera from the past 20 years.”
A Novel Idea culminates with a free presentation featuring all four authors followed by a moderated discussion hosted by The Source Weekly publisher Aaron Switzer on Saturday, April 29, at 6:00 p.m. at Bend High School. Tickets are free, but required for the main author events and are available at dplfoundation.org and at Deschutes Public Library locations starting April 10.
About the Programs
This year the library is hosting more than 24 programs in support of A Novel Idea. Visit the A Novel Idea website for dates, times, and locations. All programs are free and open to the public thanks to the support of the Deschutes Public Library Foundation. Programs with an asterisk (*) require registration.
Main Author Event: A Novel Idea 20 Year Celebration at Bend High*
Deschutes Public Library welcomes David James Duncan, María Amparo Escandón, Peter Heller, and Anne Griffin to Central Oregon for A Novel Idea.
*Tickets required; free tickets available beginning April 10 at deschuteslibrary.org/novelidea and at all Deschutes Public Library locations.
- Saturday, April 29, 2023 Bend High Auditorium, 230 NE Sixth Street, Bend
- One Book at a Time: A Novel Idea Turns 20 Exhibit
- Transformation: Waiting for Answers
- Disaster Preparedness: The More You Know
- Diamonds in the Desert: Bend’s Baseball History in a Few Innings
- Guided Tour of MacDougall & Sons Bat Company*
- What Is Left Unsaid: Communicating What Matters Most
- Death Café
- Appreciating the Little Creatures
- Five Pint Mary
- Different Wars, Different Choices
- Healing Poetry: The Art of Living Through Grief*
- Sustainable Self: Coping, Identity, and Action within Climate Change
- Religion 101: A Brothers K Discussion
- First-Time Fly-Fishing Demo
- Irish Banjo & Homegrown Songs
- Estate Planning 101
- Writing About Trauma in Traumatic Times*
- Mexican Spices Cooking Class at Arome*
- A Novel Idea Book Discussions
About the Book: The Brothers K
This touching, uplifting novel spans decades of loyalty, anger, regret, and love in the lives of the Chance family. A father whose dreams of glory on a baseball field are shattered by a mill accident. A mother who clings obsessively to religion as a ward against the darkest hour of her past. Four brothers who come of age during the seismic upheavals of the sixties and who each choose their own way to deal with what the world has become.
About the Author: David James Duncan
David James Duncan is an American novelist and essayist, best known for his bestselling novels The River Why, which was the inaugural Novel Idea selection, and The Brothers K. Both novels received the Pacific Northwest Booksellers award. The Brothers K was a New York Times Notable Book in 1992 and won a Best Books Award from the American Library Association. He has released several collections of essays including River Teeth, My Story as told by Water, and God Laughs & Plays. Duncan is widely renowned as an activist and expert fly fisher. He currently resides in western Montana.
About the Book: L.A. Weather
Oscar, the weather-obsessed patriarch of the Alvarado family, desperately wants a little rain. L.A. is parched, dry as a bone, and he’s harboring a costly secret that distracts him from everything else. His wife, Keila, desperate for a life with a little more intimacy and a little less Weather Channel, feels she has no choice but to end their marriage. Their daughters are left questioning everything they know. Each will have to take a critical look at her own relationships and make some tough decisions along the way.
About the Author: María Amparo Escandón
María Amparo Escandón is a New York Times bestselling bilingual author. She graduated from Universidad Nuevo Mundo in Mexico City and immigrated to the United States at age 23. She is the author of three novels: Esperanza’s Box of Saints, González & Daughter Trucking Co., and L.A. Weather. Her newest novel is a Reese’s Book Club pick and is featured in Oprah Quarterly Magazine. Amparo Escandón joined the A Novel Idea program in 2006. She was named as a Writer to Watch by Newsweek magazine and by the Los Angeles Times.
About the Book: The Guide
Kingfisher Lodge, nestled in a canyon on a mile and a half of the most pristine river water on the planet, boasts boutique fishing at its finest. Safe from viruses that have plagued America for years, Kingfisher offers a respite for wealthy clients, and now a second chance for Jack after a young life filled with loss. When he is assigned to guide a well-known singer, his only job is to rig her line, carry her gear, and steer her to the best trout he can find. But then a human scream pierces the night, and Jack soon realizes that this idyllic fishing lodge may be merely a cover for a far more sinister operation.
About the Author: Peter Heller
Peter Heller is a longtime contributor to NPR, and a former contributing editor at Outside Magazine, Men’s Journal, and National Geographic Adventure. He is an award-winning adventure writer and the author of five books, including his most recent, The Guide. Heller’s debut novel, The Dog Stars, was the 2014 Novel Idea selection. It was critically celebrated and a breakout bestseller, and has been published in 18 languages. Heller was born and raised in New York and he now lives in Denver.
About the Book: Listening Still
Jeanie Masterson has a gift: she can hear the recently dead and give voice to their final wishes and revelations. Inherited from her father, this gift has enabled the family undertakers to flourish in their small Irish town. Yet she has always been uneasy about censoring some of the dead’s last messages to the living. Unsure, too, about the choice she made when she left school seventeen years ago: to stay or leave for a new life in London with her charismatic teenage sweetheart. So when Jeanie’s parents unexpectedly announce their plan to retire, she is jolted out of her limbo.
About the Author: Anne Griffin
Anne Griffin was born in Dublin, Ireland. She began writing in 2013, and earned an MA in Creative Writing. She was shortlisted for the Hennessy New Irish Writing Award. When All Is Said, Anne’s debut novel published in 2019, was the 2020 Novel Idea selection, and received the Newcomer of the Year Award at the Irish Book Awards has been translated into twenty languages. Her second novel, Listening Still, was published in April 2021, and her third novel, The Island of Longing, will be published in 2023.
For more information about A Novel Idea, please contact Liz Goodrich at 541-312-1032 or email@example.com. Visit the A Novel Idea website at deschuteslibrary.org/novelidea for event listings as they are scheduled and for author information.