2023 One City, One Story Selections Announced

PASADENA, CA – Pasadena Public Library has announced their two book selections for Pasadena’s 2023 One City, One Story community reading celebration. Sparks Like Stars by author Nadia Hashimi is the 2023 One City, One Story selection and L.A. Weather by author María Amparo Escandón is the 2023 One City, One Story Summer Edition selection.

Now in its 21st year, One City, One Story is designed to broaden and deepen an appreciation of reading and literature and to promote tolerance and understanding of differing points of view by recommending a compelling book that engages the community in conversation.

Sparks Like Stars by Nadia Hashimi

An Afghan American woman returns to Kabul to learn the truth about her family and the tragedy that destroyed their lives in this brilliant and compelling novel.

Kabul, 1978: The daughter of a prominent family, Sitara Zamani lives a privileged life in Afghanistan’s thriving cosmopolitan capital. The 1970s are a time of remarkable promise under the leadership of people like Sardar Daoud, Afghanistan’s progressive president, and Sitara’s beloved father, his right-hand man. But the 10-year-old Sitara’s world is shattered when communists stage a coup, assassinating the president and Sitara’s entire family. Only she survives.

Smuggled out of the palace by a guard named Shair, Sitara finds her way to the home of a female American diplomat, who adopts her and raises her in America. In her new country, Sitara takes on a new name—Aryana Shepherd—and throws herself into her studies, eventually becoming a renowned surgeon. A survivor, Aryana has refused to look back, choosing instead to bury the trauma and devastating loss she endured.

New York, 2008: Thirty years after that fatal night in Kabul, Aryana’s world is rocked again when an elderly patient appears in her examination room—a man she never expected to see again. It is Shair, the soldier who saved her, yet may have murdered her entire family. Seeing him awakens Aryana’s fury and desire for answers—and, perhaps, revenge. Aryana embarks on a quest that takes her back to Kabul and through shadowy memories of the world she loved and lost.

Novelist Nadia Hashimi is a pediatrician turned internationally bestselling author with translations in 17 languages. Her novels for adults and children are inspired by the people, culture and history of Afghanistan but take on the global themes of displacement, conflict, patriarchy and colonialism. She is a member of the US Afghan Women's Council, Afghan American Foundation and Welcome.US, and serves on the boards of non-profit organizations. Originally from New York, she lives with her husband, four spirited children, and one exceptionally hungry dog in Potomac, Maryland.

Her novel is available in print, large type, eBook, eAudio and CD audiobook formats to checkout at Pasadena Public Library and for purchase at local bookstores.

One City, One Story community programs will be held throughout March, with an in-person conversation with the author held Friday, March 24, 2023, at 7 p.m., at Pasadena Presbyterian Church, 585 E. Colorado Blvd. in Pasadena.

The One City, One Story Summer Edition, L. A. Weatherby María Amparo Escandón.

Storm clouds are on the horizon in L.A. Weather, a fun, fast-paced novel of a Mexican-American family.

L.A. is parched, dry as a bone, and all Oscar, the weather-obsessed patriarch of the Alvarado family, desperately wants is a little rain. He is 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 three daughters - Claudia, a television chef with a hard-hearted attitude; Olivia, a successful architect who suffers from gentrification guilt; and Patricia, a social media wizard who has an uncanny knack for connecting with audiences but not with her lovers - are blindsided and 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.

María Amparo Escandón is a Mexican born, U.S. resident, best-selling bilingual novelist, short story writer, screenwriter and film producer. Her award-winning work is known for addressing bicultural themes that deal with the immigration experience of Mexicans crossing over to the United States. Her stories concentrate on family relationships, loss, forgiveness, faith and self-discovery. A linguist with a sharp ear for dialogue, Escandón explores the dynamics of language in border sub-cultures and the evolution of Spanglish. Her innovative style of multiple voice narrations and her cleverly humorous, quirky, and compassionate stories with a feminine angle capture the magical reality of everyday life and place her among the top Latin American female writers. Her work has been translated into over 21 languages and is currently read in more than 85 countries.

Copies of her books are available for checkout from the library in print (both in English and Spanish), large type, eBook, eAudio and CD audiobook formats and for purchase at  local bookstores.

For more information on One City, One Story and a link to watch a recording of the announcement of this year’s selected titles, visit http://cityofpasadena.libguides.com/onecityonestory.

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