Monday, February 4, 2013

Silicon Valley Reads - A Pretty Cool Organization

My son, Josh, has been after me for a couple of years now, ever since I started my blog (January, 2011), to get involved with Silicon Valley Reads.  I didn't do it last year, and I was prepared to ignore it this year too.  But, wait.  The stars lined up so that I could attend the kick-off event.  On Wednesday night, our family celebrated my daughter Lauren's 29th birthday at Blue Line Pizza, which is at the end of Campbell Avenue (on the way to The Pruneyard).  Before dinner, Josh told me that he was going to walk over to the Heritage Theater, in the Campbell Community Center complex, after dinner to attend the kick-off event for Silicon Valley Reads 2013.  When I found out that Josh is on the Community Advisory Board, I said I would go.

That's a long build-up to the event, and the organization, itself.  So here's what it's about.  Each year, SVReads (is this a legal abbreviation?) picks a topic to explore.  Then it picks a book to be the focal point for a discussion on that topic.  This year, the theme is the "Invisible Wounds of War."  There are over 100 free public events all designed to have a non-political community dialogue about the "after effects of war on soldiers and their families."

This year, 2 books are featured:  The Long Walk:  A Story of War and the Life That Follows, by Brian Castner, and Minefields of the Heart:  A Mother's Stories of a Son at War, by Sue Diaz.  Both of the authors were at the Heritage Theater on Wednesday night and were interviewed by Mike Cassidy, a columnist for the Mercury News.  Each author will attend 17 local events from January 30-April 14.  And, in addition to all of the appearances by Brian and Sue, who will be going to libraries, bookstores, colleges, and, of course, community centers, there are also 4 books for children and teens that are singled out:

Night Catch - by Brenda Ehrmantraut
Nubs:  The True Story of a Mutt, a Marine and a Miracle - by Brian Dennis, Kirby Larson, and Mary Nethery
Back Home - by Julia Keller
Purple Heart - by Patricia Mccormick

Brian was in Iraq and chronicles his time there and his reintegration when he comes home.  Sue's son was in Iraq (for 2 tours), and Sue talks about what it's like from the perspective of the loved ones who stay behind - especially when the loved one is a mother.  Will I read these 2 books?  Absolutely.  In fact, I finished Sue's book.  And let me say this - it is excellent (I will be reviewing Minefields of the Heart in a separate blog).

I'm now hooked.  I will read and blog about both books and try to attend some of the events.  I will find out how I can support this organization (I have an inside source to give me tips!) now and in future years.  Even with that commitment of support, I'm still really glad that my 1st SVReads book is so darn good.

If you are interested in looking into this great program, here's the link:                                             http:/


  1. There are some great children's events too - for those of us with kids looking for stuff to do...

  2. Thanks for mentioning that, Josh. In fact, our cousin Lissa, who is a long-time radio personality on KBAY, will be reading to children at the Saratoga Library on March 5 at 7:30.