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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

March 9, 2018

CONTACT: 
Joe Verkennes, Director of Marketing and Communications
Monroe County Community College
1555 S. Raisinville Rd., Monroe, MI  48161
(734) 384-4207 (O), (419) 343-3063 (M)
jverkennes@monroeccc.edu 
 

CALENDAR OF EVENTS SET FOR ‘ONE BOOK, ONE COMMUNITY OF MONROE COUNTY’
Kickoff Event Set for March 14; Author Visit is March 22

MONROE, Mich. – The One Book, One Community of Monroe County Committee has finalized the calendar of events planned around the themes in this year’s featured book selection, “Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet” by Jamie Ford.

The events formally launch with a kickoff event on the evening of March 14 at Monroe County Community College’s La-Z-Boy Center.
One Book, One Community of Monroe County, modeled after a program developed by the American Library Association, promotes the value of reading by recommending a compelling book that links community members in a common conversation through readings, group discussions, programs and other events.

In the opening pages of Jamie Ford’s debut novel, “Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet,” Henry Lee comes upon a crowd gathered outside the Panama Hotel, once the gateway to Seattle’s Japantown.  It has been boarded up for decades, but now the new owner has made an incredible discovery: the belongings of Japanese families, left when they were rounded up and sent to internment camps during World War II.  As Henry looks on, the owner opens a Japanese parasol.

This simple act takes old Henry Lee back to the 1940s, at the height of the war, when young Henry’s world is a jumble of confusion and excitement, and to his father, who is obsessed with the war in China and having Henry grow up American.  While “scholarshipping” at the exclusive Rainier Elementary, where the white kids ignore him, Henry meets Keiko Okabe, a young Japanese American student.  Amid the chaos of blackouts, curfews and FBI raids, Henry and Keiko forge a bond of friendship – and innocent love – that transcends the long-standing prejudices of their Old World ancestors. And after Keiko and her family are swept up in the evacuations to the internment camps, she and Henry are left only with the hope that the war will end, and that their promise to each other will be kept.

Forty years later, Henry Lee is certain that the parasol belonged to Keiko. In the hotel’s dark dusty basement he begins looking for signs of the Okabe family’s belongings and for a long-lost object whose value he cannot begin to measure.  Now a widower, Henry is still trying to find his voice – words that might explain the actions of his nationalistic father; words that might bridge the gap between him and his modern, Chinese American son; words that might help him confront the choices he made many years ago.

Set during one of the most conflicted and volatile times in American history, “Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet” is an extraordinary story of commitment and enduring hope. In Henry and Keiko, Jamie Ford has created an unforgettable duo whose story teaches us of the power of forgiveness and the human heart.

Below is the calendar of events.  All events are free and open to the public unless otherwise noted.

March 12
Film Series:  Do the Right Thing
6:30 p.m.
Ellis Library & Reference Center
3700 S. Custer Rd., Monroe
Salvatore "Sal" Fragione is the Italian owner of a pizzeria in Brooklyn.  A neighborhood local, Buggin' Out, becomes upset when he sees that the pizzeria's Wall of Fame exhibits only Italian actors.  Buggin' Out believes a pizzeria in a black neighborhood should showcase black actors, but Sal disagrees. The wall becomes a symbol of racism and hate to Buggin' Out and to other people in the neighborhood, and tensions rise.
Comedy/Drama (rated R) 1989 – 120 minutes.
Mark Bergmooser, assistant professor of speech, humanities, and tae kwon do at MCCC, will moderate the viewing of this film.  Complimentary movie candy will be available.

March 14
Event: One Book, One Community 2018 Kick-off
6-8 p.m.  
Monroe County Community College, La-Z-Boy Center Atrium
1555 S. Raisinville Rd., Monroe.
This year’s official kick-off event will feature a tribute to Asian culture.  See a Tai Chi demonstration, try your hand at origami, sample some delicious teas, and enjoy other activities.  Light refreshments will be served.  The evening will also include a used book sale sponsored by the MCCC Writing Fellows.  Copies of “Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet” will be available for purchase.  The evening will be capped off the evening with a door prize drawing for an Amazon Echo Spot.

March 15
Film Series:  “Vincent Who?”
12:30 p.m.
Monroe County Community College
Life Sciences Building, Room 201
1555 S. Raisinville Rd., Monroe
In 1982, Vincent Chin was murdered in Detroit by two white autoworkers at the height of anti-Japanese sentiments.  His killers, however, got off with a $3,000 fine and no jail time.  Outraged by this injustice, Asian Americans around the country united for the first time to form a pan-Asian identity and civil rights movement.  This documentary, based off a series of town halls organized by Asian Pacific Americans for Progress, features interviews with the key players at the time, as well as a whole new generation of activists whose lives have been impacted by the case.  The documentary asks how far Asian Americans have come since then, and how far they have yet to go.                                                         
Drama/Documentary (NR) 2009 – 40 minutes.
Dr. Terri Kovach, professor/reference-technical services librarian at Monroe County Community College, will moderate the viewing of this documentary.                
                       
March 18
Film Series:  “Loving”
2 p.m.
Bedford Branch Library
8575 Jackman Rd., Temperance
The story of Richard and Mildred Loving, a couple whose arrest for interracial marriage in 1960s Virginia began a legal battle that would end with the U.S. Supreme Court's historic 1967 decision Loving v. Virginia, which invalidated state laws prohibiting interracial marriage.
Romance/History/Drama/Biography (rated PG-13) 2016 – 123 minutes.
Rachel Eagle, administrative Assistant to the dean of humanities and social sciences at MCCC, will moderate a viewing of this film. Complimentary movie candy will be available

March 19
Film Series: Gran Torino
6:30pm
Ellis Library & Reference Center
3700 S. Custer Rd., Monroe
The story follows Walt Kowalski, a recently widowed Korean War veteran alienated from his family and angry at the world.  Walt's young neighbor, Thao Vang Lor, is pressured by his cousin into stealing Walt's prized 1972 Ford Gran Torino for his initiation into a gang.  Walt thwarts the theft with his M1 Garand rifle and subsequently develops a relationship with the boy and his family.
Drama (rated R) 2008 – 116 minutes.
Mark Bergmooser, assistant professor of speech, humanities, and tae kwon do at Monroe County Community College, will moderate the viewing of this film. Complimentary movie candy will be available.

March 20
Book Discussion:  Love and Other Consolation Prizes by Jamie Ford
2-3 p.m.
Dorsch Memorial Branch Library
18 E. 1st St.. Monroe
Join members of the Dorsch Memorial Branch Afternoon Book Club to discuss Jamie Ford’s recently published novel, “Love and Other Consolation Prizes.”

March 21
Children’s Program: Destination: Japan
4:30pm
L.S. Navarre Branch Library
1135 E. 2nd St., Monroe
Join us as we travel to Japan and learn how kids live and play there.  Recommended for ages 8 and up.

March 22
Event: Meet the Author – Jamie Ford
7 p.m.
Meyer Theater, La-Z-Boy Center, Monroe County Community College
1555 S. Raisinville Rd., Monroe
International bestselling author Jamie Ford will speak about “Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet,” his 2009 novel that has been translated into 34 languages. Mr. Ford is also the author of “Songs of Willow Frost” and “Love and Other Consolation Prizes.” A book signing will follow in the Atrium. A limited number of books will be available for purchase.

March 24
Event: Pen to Palette Docent-led Tour
1-2 p.m.
Toledo Museum of Art
2445 Monroe St., Toledo
Using the book Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet as inspiration, the staff of the Toledo Museum of Art has created a special hour-long tour for readers of the book.  Join the docents as they take participants on a special tour highlighting a variety of art works in the museum’s contemporary collection.  The tour is free, but there is a $7 parking fee for non-members.  Make reservation by calling Rachel Eagle at (734) 384-4153 by Friday, March 16.
Tour will start promptly at 1 p.m. from the main museum entrance.

March 26
Children’s Program: Yoko’s Paper Cranes
4:30 p.m.
L.S. Navarre Branch Library
1135 E. 2nd St., Monroe
Join us as we learn about the art of paper crane making.  After reading the book, Yoko’s Paper Cranes together, we will have supplies available for you to make your own.  Recommended for ages 8 and up.               
                                   
March 26
Event:  From Inspiration to Finished Manuscript:  How to Write a Book
6-8 p.m.
Ida Branch Library
30161 Lewis Ave., Ida
You’ve always wanted to write a book, but you don’t know how to get started.  Once you get started, how do you keep going, avoid feeling overwhelmed, and overcome writer’s block?  We will explore tools, tips, and tricks to help you in getting started and in completing your book. You will leave with a step-by-step plan for writing your book.  Presented by Randy Kuckuck, executive director, Center for Book Publishing.

March 26
Book Discussion:  “Love and Other Consolation Prizes” by Jamie Ford
7-8 p.m.
Carleton Branch Library
1444 Kent St., Carleton
Join members of the Carleton Branch North County Book Club to discuss Jamie Ford’s recently published novel, ”Love and Other Consolation Prizes.”

March 28
Book Discussion:  American Japanese Internment Camps
11 a.m-12:30 p.m.
Bedford Branch Library
8575 Jackman Road, Temperance
Join members of the Bedford Branch Library Just the Facts Book Club to discuss American Japanese Internment Camps. Book club members select their own book on the topic. Suggested books are available at the Bedford Branch prior to the event.

March 28
Panel Discussion: Balancing Act: Security vs. Civil Rights
7-8:30 p.m.
Atrium – La-Z-Boy Center, Monroe County Community College
1555 S. Raisinville Rd., Monroe
What did we learn from the Japanese internment camps, and how should the lessons apply today to our immigration and refugee policies?  Because of hysteria created by the attack on Pearl Harbor, 120,000 Japanese-Americans were forced from their homes and into internment camps.  In the 1980s, the government apologized and admitted it was a clear violation of their civil rights.  Today, following the 9-11 attacks and the continuing war on terror, we’re again trying to balance national security with civil rights.  A panel of experts will discuss how we’re doing.
This panel discussion is sponsored by “The Agora”, the student newspaper at MCCC.

March 29
Brown Bag Discussion:  “Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet” by Jamie Ford
12:30-1:30pm
La-Z-Boy Center Atrium, Monroe County Community College
1555 S. Raisinville Rd. Monroe
Join the Monroe County Community College community in roundtable discussions of “Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet,” led by MCCC Humanities faculty.  Participants will discuss Jamie Ford’s novel.  Light refreshments will be served.

April 4
Film Series:  Vincent Who?
7:00pm
Room L-140. Life Sciences Building, Monroe County Community College
1555 S. Raisinville Rd., Monroe
Drama/Documentary (NR) 2009 – 40 minutes.
Edmund La Clair, assistant professor of history at MCCC, will moderate a viewing of this film.

April 5
Book Discussion:  Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford
10:30am – noon
Bedford Branch Library
8575 Jackman Rd., Temperance
Join members of the Bedford Branch Library A.M. Book Club to discuss this year's selection, “Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet” by Jamie Ford.

April 6
Event: Asian Edibles Buffet       
5:00pm        
Dining Room – Audrey M. Warrick Student Services / Administration Building
Monroe County Community College
1555 S. Raisinville Rd., Monroe
The second year culinary skills and management students at MCCC, along, with Chef Kevin Thomas and Chef Vicki LaValle, will prepare a lavish Asian buffet.  Reservations are required. Tickets are available at the MCCC Cashier in Building A (8 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday and 8:00 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Tuesday through Friday) or by calling (734) 384-4272.  Cost: $20.00 per person.  Included are non-alcoholic drinks, salads, appetizers, charcuterie (pate, sausages and terrines), entrees, side dishes, breads and a pastry display.

April 6
Film Series: Vincent Who?
6:30pm
Room A-173c/d, Warrick Student Services / Administration Building, Monroe County Community College
1555 S. Raisinville Rd., Monroe
Drama/Documentary (NR) 2009 – 40 minutes.
Cheryl Johnston, professor emerita at MCCC and coordinator of One Book, One Community of Monroe County, will moderate the viewing of this documentary.

Founding Partners of One Book, One Community of Monroe County include Monroe County Community College, The Foundation at Monroe County Community College, Monroe County Library System and The Monroe News.

Major Sponsors for 2018 include Meemic/Leski Insurance Agency, LLC, and Siena Heights University.

Supporters include The (MCCC) Agora; Friends of One Book, One Community; and the Monroe County Historical Museum.
Educational Reading Partners include Airport Community Schools, Bedford Public Schools, Monroe High School and Saint Mary Catholic Central High School.