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Four books chosen, four authors return for Deschutes Public Library’s ‘A Novel Idea’ in 2023

Deschutes Public Library

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- A Novel Idea has taken readers around the world and throughout time. We’ve read amazing books, joined in on powerful programming, and had thought-provoking discussions over the last 19 years. Four authors from years past return to honor this special occasion: David James Duncan (2004), María Amparo Escandón (2006), Peter Heller (2014), and Anne Griffin (2020).

“These authors left an indelible mark on the reading community. We are inviting them back with the idea of revisiting their books originally celebrated in A Novel Idea with an emphasis on each author’s new work of fiction,” said Deschutes Public Library Programs Supervisor Liz Goodrich. “It’s a choose-your-own-reading-adventure as readers have options to explore and discuss just one or all eight books.”

Novel Idea 2023 selections:

  • The Brothers K by David James Duncan
  • L.A. Weather by María Amparo Escandón
  • The Guide by Peter Heller
  • Listening Still by Anne Griffin

A Novel Idea is the largest community read program in the state of Oregon, with more than 10,000 people participating in 2022. The goal is to inspire Deschutes County residents to read, discuss, and attend free cultural and author events to build community one book at a time.

“This year is bigger than anything we’ve done before,” said Goodrich. “It’s an incredible feeling to come full circle, bearing witness to the journey of these authors and making it possible to invite them back to hear how their writing careers have developed. It will be a chance to hear what they have done since and how we’ve grown together by reading their books.”

Central Oregon has a heart for all four of these authors. David James Duncan’s The River Why launched A Novel Idea’s inaugural year, with 400 participants. María Amparo Escandón was a vivacious and hilarious presenter with the big rig parked in front of the Tower Theater to celebrate her book, Gonzales & Daughter Trucking Co. Peter Heller’s The Dog Stars sparked conversation that left us with a lasting impression. And Anne Griffin’s When All Is Said hit during the start of the pandemic, challenging Deschutes Public Library to explore new technologies and pivot to a virtual event that resulted in record-breaking participation.

Programming starts April 1, when readers can explore and expound upon ideas found in all four titles. A Novel Idea culminates with a visit from the authors on Saturday, April 29, 2023. All programs, including the authors’ presentations, are free of charge thanks to the support of the Deschutes Public Library Foundation.

Deschutes County residents can pick up a Reading Passport to check off each authors’ books (David James Duncan: The River Why and The Brothers K; María Amparo Escandón: González & Daughter Trucking Co., and L.A. Weather; Peter Heller: The Dog Stars and The Guide; Anne Griffin: When All Is Said and Listening Still) for the chance to receive a commemorative book bag.

Readers can reserve physical books from the library or purchase from local bookstores in Deschutes County. The Brothers K, When All Is Said, and L.A. Weather are offered in audiobook format, with instant downloads available through hoopla, a free e-book service available from the library. A translated title, El clima de Los Ángeles (L.A. Weather) is available in Spanish through the library.

About the Book: The Brothers K

This touching, uplifting novel spans decades of loyalty, anger, regret, and love in the lives of the Chance family. A father whose dreams of glory on a baseball field are shattered by a mill accident. A mother who clings obsessively to religion as a ward against the darkest hour of her past. Four brothers who come of age during the seismic upheavals of the sixties and who each choose their own way to deal with what the world has become.

About the Author: David James Duncan

David James Duncan is an American novelist and essayist, best known for his bestselling novels The River Why, which was the inaugural Novel Idea selection, and The Brothers K. Both novels received the Pacific Northwest Booksellers award. The Brothers K was a New York Times Notable Book in 1992 and won a Best Books Award from the American Library Association. He has released several collections of essays including River Teeth, My Story as told by Water, and God Laughs & Plays. Duncan is widely renowned as an activist and expert fly fisher. He currently resides in western Montana.

About the Book: L.A. Weather
Oscar, the weather-obsessed patriarch of the Alvarado family, desperately wants a little rain. L.A. is parched, dry as a bone, and he’s harboring a costly secret that distracts him from everything else. His wife, Keila, desperate for a life with a little more intimacy and a little less Weather Channel, feels she has no choice but to end their marriage. Their daughters are left questioning everything they know. Each will have to take a critical look at her own relationships and make some tough decisions along the way.

About the Author: María Amparo Escandón

María Amparo Escandón is a New York Times bestselling bilingual author. She graduated from Universidad Nuevo Mundo in Mexico City and immigrated to the United States at age 23. She is the author of three novels: Esperanza’s Box of Saints, González & Daughter Trucking Co., and L.A. Weather. Her newest novel is a Reese’s Book Club pick and is featured in Oprah Quarterly Magazine. Amparo Escandón joined the A Novel Idea program in 2006. She was named as a Writer to Watch by Newsweek magazine and by the Los Angeles Times.

About the Book: The Guide

Kingfisher Lodge, nestled in a canyon on a mile and a half of the most pristine river water on the planet, boasts boutique fishing at its finest. Safe from viruses that have plagued America for years, Kingfisher offers a respite for wealthy clients, and now a second chance for Jack after a young life filled with loss. When he is assigned to guide a well-known singer, his only job is to rig her line, carry her gear, and steer her to the best trout he can find. But then a human scream pierces the night, and Jack soon realizes that this idyllic fishing lodge may be merely a cover for a far more sinister operation.

About the Author: Peter Heller
Peter Heller is a longtime contributor to NPR, and a former contributing editor at Outside Magazine, Men’s Journal, and National Geographic Adventure. He is an award-winning adventure writer and the author of five books, including his most recent, The Guide. Heller’s debut novel, The Dog Stars, was the 2014 Novel Idea selection. It was critically celebrated and a breakout bestseller, and has been published in 18 languages. Heller was born and raised in New York he now lives in Denver.

About the Book: Listening Still

Jeanie Masterson has a gift: she can hear the recently dead and give voice to their final wishes and revelations. Inherited from her father, this gift has enabled the family undertakers to flourish in their small Irish town. Yet she has always been uneasy about censoring some of the dead's last messages to the living. Unsure, too, about the choice she made when she left school seventeen years ago: to stay or leave for a new life in London with her charismatic teenage sweetheart. So when Jeanie's parents unexpectedly announce their plan to retire, she is jolted out of her limbo.

About the Author: Anne Griffin

Anne Griffin was born in Dublin, Ireland. She began writing in 2013, and earned an MA in Creative Writing. She was shortlisted for the Hennessy New Irish Writing Award. When All Is Said, Anne’s debut novel published in 2019, was the Novel Idea 2020 selection, and received the Newcomer of the Year Award at the Irish Book Awards has been translated into twenty languages. Her second novel, Listening Still, was published in April 2021, and her third novel, The Island of Longing, will be published in 2023.

For more information about A Novel Idea, please contact Liz Goodrich at (541) 312-1032 or Check out the “A Novel Idea” website at event listings as they are scheduled and for author information.

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