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A literary festival featuring events and workshops at El Dorado County libraries through June 2024

Book Talks • Cross-Generational Story Swap
Self-portrait Workshops • Graphic Anthology • StorySlam
Artist Talk • “A Picture’s Worth” Gallery Exhibition

The Big Read, a partnership between the NEA and Arts Midwest, broadens our understanding of our world, our neighbors, and ourselves through the power of a shared reading experience. Showcasing a diverse range of themes, voices, and perspectives, The Big Read aims to inspire meaningful conversations, artistic responses, and new discoveries and connections in each community. El Dorado County will be participating in The Big Read by sharing in the experience of reading Can't We Talk About Something More Pleasant?, by Roz Chast.

As part of The Big Read Arts and Culture El Dorado is partnering with the El Dorado County Library and will host programming events at each branch library in the county. Programming will include book talks, self-portrait workshops, a conversation exchange, oral history collecting, and film screenings. We will be producing an illustrated anthology of collected stories and will install an accompanying exhibition in Switchboard Gallery.

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We Want to Hear Your Story!

Sign up to sit in our STORY RECORDING BOOTH

Hosted at 4 branch libraries. Recorded stories will be compiled into an oral history anthology featuring an original soundtrack

Schedule of Events

Saturday, March 9 2024
  • Book Talk - South Lake Tahoe Library

    Saturday, March 9 2024  1:00 pm - 3:00 pm
    South Lake Tahoe Branch | El Dorado County Library, 1000 Rufus Allen Blvd, South Lake Tahoe, CA 96150, USA

    Discussion around Chast's narrative approach to experiences she inherited from her parents and her conflicted emotions about becoming their caregiver.

    See more details

Tuesday, March 12 2024
  • Book Talk - Cameron Park Library

    Tuesday, March 12 2024  5:00 pm - 7:00 pm
    El Dorado County Library | Cameron Park Branch, 2500 Country Club Dr, Cameron Park, CA 95682, USA

    Discussion around Chast's narrative approach to experiences she inherited from her parents and her conflicted emotions about becoming their caregiver.

    See more details

Thursday, March 14 2024
  • Story Swap - El Dorado Hills Library

    Thursday, March 14 2024  4:00 pm - 6:00 pm
    El Dorado County Library | El Dorado Hills Branch, 7455 Silva Valley Pkwy, El Dorado Hills, CA 95762, USA

    Older adults will sign up to share stories with teen volunteers. A bell will ring and teens will switch older partners. Designed to foster intergenerational connection. Registration required. Register here.

    See more details

Wednesday, March 20 2024
  • Book Talk - El Dorado Hills Library

    Wednesday, March 20 2024  3:00 pm - 5:00 pm
    El Dorado County Library | El Dorado Hills Branch, 7455 Silva Valley Pkwy, El Dorado Hills, CA 95762, USA

    Discussion around Chast's narrative approach to experiences she inherited from her parents and her conflicted emotions about becoming their caregiver.

    See more details

Tuesday, March 26 2024
  • Story Swap - Cameron Park

    Tuesday, March 26 2024  1:00 pm - 3:00 pm
    El Dorado County Library | Cameron Park Branch, 2500 Country Club Dr, Cameron Park, CA 95682, USA

    Older adults will sign up to share stories with teen volunteers. A bell will ring and teens will switch older partners. Designed to foster intergenerational connection. Registration required. Register here.

    See more details

Wednesday, March 27 2024
  • Story Swap - Placerville Library

    Wednesday, March 27 2024  1:00 pm - 3:00 pm
    El Dorado County Library | Placerville Branch, 345 Fair Ln, Placerville, CA 95667, USA

    Older adults will sign up to share stories with teen volunteers. A bell will ring and teens will switch older partners. Designed to foster intergenerational connection. Registration required. Register here.

    See more details

Thursday, March 28 2024
  • Book Talk - Georgetown Library

    Thursday, March 28 2024  1:00 pm - 3:00 pm
    El Dorado County Library | Georgetown Branch, 6680 Orleans St, Georgetown, CA 95634, USA

    Discussion around Chast's narrative approach to experiences she inherited from her parents and her conflicted emotions about becoming their caregiver.

    See more details

Saturday, April 6 2024
  • Self-Portrait Workshop - Pollock Pines Library

    Saturday, April 6 2024  12:00 pm - 2:00 pm
    El Dorado County Library | Pollock Pines Branch, 6210 Pony Express Trail, Pollock Pines, CA 95726, USA

    Participants will create self-portraits in a variety of mediums, looking to themselves as the main character of their own memoir. Registration required. Register here.

    See more details

Saturday, April 13 2024
  • Self-Portrait Workshop - Georgetown Library

    Saturday, April 13 2024  1:00 pm - 3:00 pm
    El Dorado County Library | Georgetown Branch, 6680 Orleans St, Georgetown, CA 95634, USA

    Participants will create self-portraits in a variety of mediums, looking to themselves as the main character of their own memoir. Registration required. Register here.

    See more details

Tuesday, April 16 2024
  • Self-Portrait Workshop - Cameron Park Library

    Tuesday, April 16 2024  2:00 pm - 4:00 pm
    El Dorado County Library | Cameron Park Branch, 2500 Country Club Dr, Cameron Park, CA 95682, USA

    Participants will create self-portraits in a variety of mediums, looking to themselves as the main character of their own memoir. Registration required. Register here.

    See more details

Saturday, April 20 2024
  • Self-Portrait Workshop - South Lake Tahoe Library

    Saturday, April 20 2024  1:00 pm - 3:00 pm
    South Lake Tahoe Branch | El Dorado County Library, 1000 Rufus Allen Blvd, South Lake Tahoe, CA 96150, USA

    Participants will create self-portraits in a variety of mediums, looking to themselves as the main character of their own memoir. Registration required. Register here.

    See more details

Wednesday, April 24 2024
  • Self-Portrait Workshop - Placerville Library

    Wednesday, April 24 2024  5:00 pm - 7:00 pm
    El Dorado County Library | Placerville Branch, 345 Fair Ln, Placerville, CA 95667, USA

    Participants will create self-portraits in a variety of mediums, looking to themselves as the main character of their own memoir. Registration required. Register here.

    See more details

Thursday, May 23 2024
  • Opening Reception for Big Read Exhibition

    Thursday, May 23 2024  6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
    Arts and Culture El Dorado and Switchboard Gallery, 525 Main St, Placerville, CA 95667, USA

    See more details

Thursday, June 6 2024
  • Story Slam

    Thursday, June 6 2024  6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
    Arts and Culture El Dorado and Switchboard Gallery, 525 Main St, Placerville, CA 95667, USA

    Storytellers will have 5 minutes each to tell a story based on the theme of inherited stories.

    See more details

Thursday, June 20 2024
  • Artist Talk

    Thursday, June 20 2024  6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
    Arts and Culture El Dorado and Switchboard Gallery, 525 Main St, Placerville, CA 95667, USA

    A conversation between artist Gavin Sellers-Norman, oral historian Mariah Padilla, and exhibition curator Marya Osucha.

    See more details

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Featured Book

Can't We Talk About Something More Pleasant?

by Roz Chast

Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant?, written by Roz Chast, a longtime cartoonist for the New Yorker, is a “tour de force” (Elle), “remarkable” (San Francisco Chronicle), “revelatory” (Kirkus), “deeply poignant and laugh-out-loud funny” (New York Times), and “one of the great autobiographical memoirs of our time" (Buffalo News). A finalist for the National Book Award and winner of the Kirkus Prize, the National Book Critics Circle Award, and the Books for a Better Life Award, the memoir tells the story of Chast’s parents’ final years through cartoons, family photos, found documents, and narrative prose. “So many have faced (or will face) the situation that the author details, but no one could render it like she does” (Kirkus). “Anyone who has had Chast’s experience will devour this book and cling to it for truth, humor, understanding, and the futile wish that it could all be different" (St. Louis Post-Dispatch). “I want to recommend it to everyone I know who has elderly parents, or might have them someday" (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel).

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NEA Big Read is a program of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest.