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Historical Novels Featured in Summer Reading Program

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By Lookout staff

October 12, 2023 -- Two historical novels about Asian women set more than 400 years apart are the subjects of a Santa Monica Library reading program that runs through August 12.

The Santa Monica Reads All Summer program offers free events for all ages and gives adults the opportunity to discuss the novels "Clark and Division" by Naomi Hirahara and "Lady Tan’s Circle of Women" by Lisa See.

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Hirahara's 2021 novel set in 1944 Chicago is an "eye-opening and poignant new mystery" that tells the story of a young woman searching for the truth about her revered older sister's death, according to promotion for the book.

It "brings to focus the struggles of one Japanese American family released from mass incarceration at Manzanar during World War II."

"Lady Tan’s Circle of Women," published this month, tells the real life story of Tan Yunxian, who went on to become a famous doctor in 16th Century China during the Ming dynasty.

Yunxian published a compendium of 31 cases in the work “Miscellaneous Records of a Female Doctor.”

Adults who sign up for the program will receive "a reading log, resource guide, and free SMPL tote, while supplies last," Library officials said.

Those who read 10 hours will receive a coupon from the Friends of the Library Bookstore and be entered in a drawing for a local business gift certificate.

"This summer we are challenging our community to read 600,000 minutes," Library officials said.

Those interested in joining the book discussions can sign up in person at the Main Library, Montana Avenue Branch or Pico Branch, or visit to register online and learn about the free summer events for everyone, from babies to adults.

"Summer Reading helps prevent 'summer slide' by ensuring that youth retain reading and learning skills over the school break," Library officials said.

Parents can sign up their babies and receive a free board book, while kids and teens can sign up for a 10-, 20-, or 30-hour challenge, and receive a tote bag, free book and reading log, to track reading and activities through August 12.

"At the halfway mark, kids and teens receive a coupon from the Friends of the Library Bookstore," officials said. "Upon completing their challenge, kids and teens can choose from a variety of fun prizes, while supplies last."

Santa Monica Reads All Summer is provided with funding from the Friends of the Santa Monica Public Library, Kiwanis Club of Santa Monica and the California State Library.

For more information on this and other free, public programs, call Santa Monica Public Library at (310) 458-8600 or visit

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