Community Read includes a wealth of opportunities


This year’s Community Read, sponsored by the Friends of the Fallbrook Library, includes both familiar and new features. This is the 14th year that a book has been chosen for everyone in the community to read at the same time if they want to participate. Book discussions are held as well as other special events having to do with the book. A final event is held, usually a luncheon, with the opportunity to meet the author.

Ann Patchett
Ann Patchett

One of the differences this year is that the author of the chosen book, “Commonwealth”, is also the author of the Community Read selection in 2008, “Run”, the first time an author has made a repeat appearance.

The main difference between these two books by Ann Patchett is that the newest one is loosely based on her own family of six step-siblings and two sets of parents on opposite coasts and covering 50 years of their lives. (The eastern location is the Commonwealth of Virginia.)

“(A) rich and engrossing new novel…Patchett’s observations about people and life are insightful; and her underlying tone is one of compassion and amusement. Ann Patchett is a novelist who knows what she’s doing, and to read her is to feel that you’re in good hands.”
—New York Times Book Review

  •  The novel has received many awards, including: 
  • National Book Critics Circle Award Fiction Finalist
    New York Times Best Book of The Year
    USA Today Best Book of 2016
    Time Magazine Top 10 Selection
    Oprah Favorite Book of 2016
    Newsday Best Book of 2016 Selection
    Kirkus Reviews Best Fiction of 2016 Selection
    Washington Post Best Book of 2016
    New York Magazine Best Book of The Year Selection

Besides those honors, Patchett will be inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letter in May and “Commonwealth” was also one of five finalists for the 2016 National Book Critics award.

Unlike past years’ final events, the 2017 Community Read main event, “An Evening with Ann Patchett”, will be held at Fallbrook Library on Saturday, May 6 at 6:30 p.m. Starting with a social hour when guests will enjoy desserts and drinks (wine will be available for a donation), there will be the opportunity to meet the author and enjoy other Community Read related activities.

Following the social hour, the author will share insights into her latest book and then guests will have an opportunity to purchase copies of her current and past books, and have them autographed by the author. First edition and used books will be available, in addition to currently published books, to meet everyone’s interests and budget.

Example of furniture to be purchased.
Example of furniture to be purchased.

Patchett is the author of seven novels, the editor of Best American Short Stories, 2006, and author of three books of non-fiction. She is a partner/owner of the independent book store Parnassus Books in Nashville, Tenn. where she lives.

Information, reservations and tickets for the May 6 Community Read are available at or at the Bottom Shelf Bookstore. Questions may be addressed to Mary Jo Bacik, (760) 451-9394 or [email protected]. Seating is limited and tickets, for $35 each, will be available until sold out but no later than April 28.

The May 6 event will also include a drawing for a lap quilt made to look like the cover of the book and commemorative fence bookmarks (from the grand opening of the library). All the money raised will go toward updating and replacing the furniture in the library’s reading garden patio. The on-going mission and goals of the Friends of the Fallbrook Library are to raise money to offset budget cuts and keep the library an award winner according to Bacik.

The Friends will also be hosting two pre-events, to engage readers who are interested in learning more about Patchett and her writing prior to the Community Read. These events are free, and will be held at the Fallbrook  Library.  The pre-events are open to everyone with no reservations required, and participants do not have to have read either book. Refreshments will be provided.

Book Discussion – Commonwealth  

The first book discussion will be held on Friday, April 21 from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. and centered on Commonwealth. Bacik said, “Like all good book clubs, this free event offers an opportunity for readers to exchange ideas or express their opinions of the book and author.”

Get to Know the Author better through discussion of Non-Fiction – “What Now?”

On Sunday, April 30, from 2 to 3 p.m., the non-fiction Insight Book Club will host a discussion of the author and her work through a study of “What Now?” a short book based on her lauded commencement address at Sarah Lawrence College.

“This stirring essay by bestselling author Ann Patchett offers hope and inspiration for anyone at a crossroads, whether graduating, changing careers, or transitioning from one life stage to another. With wit and candor, Patchett tells her own story of attending college, graduating, and struggling with the inevitable question, What now?” – Goodreads

A limited number of both of these books are available at Fallbrook Library for checkout. They can be found near the Hot Right Now section, or ASK Desk. Study questions have been made available for book clubs or anyone interested in discussing Commonwealth further.

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