One City One Book 2012

For Immediate Release
Contact: Michelle Jeffers
(415) 557-4282; mjeffers@sfpl.org

Aug. 27, 2012

San Francisco Public Library’s One City One Book 2012:

A Paradise Built in Hell by Rebecca Solnit

Kick-off Event – Party Like It’s 1906 – Sept. 7, 2012

This fall, the San Francisco Public Library is exploring local author Rebecca Solnit’s A Paradise Built in Hell: The Extraordinary Communities that Arise in Disaster for our California Reads/One City One Book 2012 program.

Rebecca SolnitTo kick off the season, join the Library and The Green Arcade at the McRoskey Mattress Company (1687 Market St.) for a One City One Book launch party and celebration, Party Like It’s 1906, on Friday, Sept. 7 at 7 p.m. The event will feature music from the acclaimed Tammy Hall Trio, 1906-inspired bites (think oysters, sourdough bread and beer) and a talk by Rebecca Solnit, the author of 13 books about art, landscape, public and collective life, ecology, politics, hope, meandering, reverie, and memory.

Book coverIn 2012, as part of the 8th annual citywide book club program, the Library is participating in California Reads, a statewide reading and discussion program created by Cal Humanities in partnership with the California Center for the Book and supported by the California State Library. California Reads encourages Californians from all walks of life to participate in reading and discussion programs and related activities around the theme of democracy in 2012. San Francisco selected A Paradise Built in Hell because of its strong connection to the city and its exploration of the aftermath of the 1906 earthquake.

A Paradise Built in Hell explores our need for community and common purpose, which Solnit argues are fundamental to democratic forms of social and political life. Blending reportage and analysis, the book surveys natural and man-made disasters including the ’06 earthquake, the Halifax explosion of 1917, the 1985 Mexico City earthquake, the Sept. 11th attacks, and Hurricane Katrina.  Solnit takes a positive view of human behavior showing that disasters can actually create a sense of community and purposefulness. A community’s typical response to catastrophe is self-organization and mutual aid–truly democracy in action–with neighbors and strangers rescuing, feeding and housing each other.

From September through November, the Library will be offering a number of discussion groups, films, preparedness workshops and more events on the theme of the book, including an Oct.11 event at the Main Library, during which Solnit will be in conversation with San Francisco Fire Chief Joanne Hayes-White.

Visit sfpl.org/onecityonebook for more information about programs, book club discussion questions and more, and start reading the book now.

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