For the last four years, residents of Danville and San Ramon have joined together for a big community read of the same novel, which is chosen by the librarians who read reviews and consider suggestions from the public.
This year's read is the mystery "Locked Rooms" by Laurie R. King, with characters that include Mary Russell, her husband Sherlock Holmes and sleuthing partner Dashiell Hammett.
"What we look for every year is a California connection," said Danville Senior Branch Librarian Seng Lovan. "We picked this year's book because it is set in San Francisco, about 1920 San Francisco, then it flashes back to the 1906 earthquake."
The first year, they chose "Cannery Row," then "The Maltese Falcon," and last year, "The Samurai's Garden." Now they are back to mysteries.
"We look for cross-over appeal to men as well as women, teens as well as adults," said Lovan.
Copies of "Locked Rooms" were distributed Monday morning to Cherubini's in Alamo; Peets and Starbucks, and Rakestraw books in Danville, as well as at the school district offices; Bay Books in San Ramon; and of course, it's at all three libraries. San Ramon now has a second library called Dougherty Station, which is a joint operation with the Diablo Valley College campus.
Books are free for the taking.
"We want to eliminate barriers to reading," said Lovan, including financial. "We ask residents to pick up a copy and read it together, then pass it along to friends, family or neighbors."
The read began Monday, Sept. 17, and continues until Tuesday, Oct. 29. Meanwhile the libraries and book groups will plan events around it. The program culminates with author Laurie R. King appearing at the Village Theatre in Danville, with a presentation plus taking questions from the audience. The free event begins at 7 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 8, and no reservations are necessary.
Throughout the Contra Costa Library System there are five different city reads, say Lovan, some just for one library. The Danville and San Ramon CityRead is sponsored by their library foundations.