Expanded open hours starting September 6. Read more here.

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SB Reads 2022

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Due to a family medical issue, we will be rescheduling the event with Elaine Castillo for 2023.

For Santa Barbara Reads 2022, the Library is inviting the community to read and discuss The Fifth Season by N. K. Jemisin as well as participate in programming to explore the themes of the book.

Each year, Santa Barbara Public Library encourages local residents to read the same book at the same time to connect with one another, engage in discussions about issues that matter, and examine the world from viewpoints other than their own. Through Santa Barbara Reads, SBPL distributes free copies of featured titles throughout the community and offers programs and book discussions in order to engage deeply with issues explored in the novel. 

The Fifth Season is set in a world called The Stillness where the planet has been ravaged by volcanic, seismic, atmospheric, geomagnetic forces that bring apocalypses so regularly they are referred to as Seasons. In this world of cataclysmic natural disasters, an equally brutal society offers relative safety to a privileged few, while exploiting and destroying the lives of others. At the center of the story is Essun, a mother harboring a secret, whose personal world is upended when her husband murders her son and kidnaps her daughter, just as a new red rift tears apart the continent. With captivating world-building and a deep emotional core, it’s a stunning work of fiction ripe for discussion. 

To complement the exploration of The Fifth Season, two additional titles have been chosen for distribution and discussion: On Girlhood: 15 Stories from the Well-Read Black Girl Library, a collection of short stories by Black women writers edited by Glory Edim; and How to Read Now: Essays by Elaine Castillo, which explores the politics and ethics of reading and asks us to be critically engaged with reading not only to appreciate art, but also to excavate our histories. 

Programming includes a talk with Elaine Castillo about how to dismantle the forms of interpretation we've inherited, an exhibition of local art inspired by the question “What if?” in the Faulkner Gallery, with a First Thursdays reception, an all ages geology science fair, a lecture on the world-building in The Fifth Season, a MakeSB! concert featuring local bands and a celebration of creativity, Spanish-language programs, book discussions, and more! View the full calendar of events for details.

Complimentary copies of How to Read Now are available beginning September 1, 2022. Priority access will be given to those who register to participate in our virtual or in person close reading sessions. A limited number are available in print, and additional copies without wait times are available via Overdrive/Libby in ebook and digital audiobook formats through October 6, 2022.

Print copies of The Fifth Season will be available beginning October 6, 2022 at the First Thursday event in the Faulkner Gallery and beginning October 7, 2022 at all SBPL locations while supplies last. Additional copies without wait times will be available via Overdrive/Libby in ebook and digital audiobook formats.

Santa Barbara Reads is funded through the annual support of the Santa Barbara Public Library Foundation. To learn more about the foundation and how to support SB Reads 2022, visit their website.

Explore past SB Reads selections

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This Year's Featured Titles

SB Reads 2022
The Fifth Season

The Fifth Season is a Hugo-award winning science fiction novel that explores generational trauma, the impacts of climate change, and race-based oppression.

Lib 202208 On GIRLHOOD 2022 Portal
On Girlhood: 15 Stories from the Well-Read Black Girl Library

On Girlhood is a collection of stories about Black girlhood that explore the themes of innocence, belonging, love, and self-discovery.

Lib 202208 HOW TO READ NOW Portal
How to Read Now: Essays

How to Read Now explores the politics and ethics of reading and asks us to be critically engaged with reading not only to appreciate art, but also to excavate our histories.