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Gulf Coast Reads

Linda Stevens
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The Train to Crystal City by Jan Jarboe Russell

The Train to Crystal City by Jan Jarboe Russell

Book Buzz is a blog produced in collaboration with neighborhood librarians from Houston Public Library, Harris County Public Library and the Bellaire Library.

I read books every single day, but usually my reading companions are canine and they aren’t very good book club members. 

Did you ever finish reading a great book and desperately look around, trying to find someone who would discuss it with you and share your experiences?  In October, local libraries participating in Gulf Coast Reads are not only going to help you find a great book to read, we’re also going to connect you with other passionate readers and opportunities to continue learning.  We’ve been running this program for several years now, with the same goal: share great books and connect and inform readers.

The book chosen for this year’s program, The Train to Crystal City by Jan Jarboe Russell, tells the true story of a secret American internment camp in Texas during World War II, where thousands of families - many U.S. citizens - were incarcerated. Jarboe Russell focuses on two American-born teenagers, both of whom spent years in the camp and who were sent, along with their families, to war-torn Germany and Japan in prisoner exchanges for higher profile Americans. The book traces their struggles to survive and to return to the U.S., the only home they ever knew.

During October, you won’t have to look far to find a book discussion group to attend and share your opinions with your neighbors. Jan Jarboe Russell will be visiting different locations throughout the area, so you can hear more about this little-known part of Texas history and her experiences writing the book.  You can also take advantage of different public programs offered in support of the book – museum tours at the MFAH every Thursday, lectures on different historical aspects of the era, legal perspectives on Crystal City and immigration, and cultural programs, to name a few.

Jump in and join me in Gulf Coast Reads - a rare opportunity to immerse yourself in a great book in many different ways.  

A few other suggested books include: 

  • Farewell to Manzanar by Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston and James D. Houston
  • The Translation of Love by Lynne Kutsukake
  • Fish for Jimmy: Inspired by One Family's Experience in a Japanese American Internment Camp by Katie Yamasaki

A few upcoming Gulf Coast Reads events:

See more Book Buzz posts here.

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