Last March I went to Pasadena’s One City One Story event at the Convention Center. Each year the city of Pasadena selects a book for the community to read. In the weeks to follow, after the announcement of the book selection, the city holds several events for people to engage in conversation. At the main event, Pasadena Library Director Jan Sanders interviews the author of the book. This year, One Story One City’s book selection was Gardens of Water by Alan Drew.
For a few years, I belonged to a book group that was centered in Pasadena. Each month we would select a common book to read. The following month we would gather at a restaurant that related to the story we had read or had a themed pot luck at someone’s home to share our thoughts on the selected book. Yes! We actually read the book. If you didn’t finish reading that month’s selection, you were not spared from the details of the story nor how it ended.
Over the years our members got to know each other [6 regulars- we all met online]. Sadly, as time would have it, each amazing member had a shift in their lives’ that drifted the group apart. The one constant gathering has been Pasadena’s One City One Story event. As in the years past, the ones who were able to squeeze time from their hectic schedules shared a meal together to discuss the book prior to the event. I’m not mentioning where we ate because I did not care for it. The conversation however, was fantastic!
Drew’s book takes us to Istanbul, Turkey just prior to a massively destructive earthquake. Out from the devastation two families, one Western the other Eastern, are forced to come together after a tragic loss. Culture, religious beliefs and customs collide while the two families’ teenage children fall in -love.
We found the author to be engaging and delightful. He generously answered most of our questions about his debut novel. Drew talked about his creative process and inspiration. As a reader, it is a special treat to listen to an author who gives you more of themselves than you would normally expect.
It was a perfect day at the Pasadena Convention Center.