Berkeley Public Library selects Crazy Rich Asians as its 2019 Citywide Read Title


Contact: Elliot Warren
Acting Library Director
Berkeley Public Library

Author Kevin Kwan to Speak April 11, 2019

Berkeley, March 13, 2019 – Berkeley Public Library is pleased to announce the launch of Citywide Read, a program designed to encourage Berkeley residents to have a shared experience of reading the same book and then participating in discussions and cultural events related to the title.

For its first Citywide Read title, the Library has selected New York Times bestselling novel Crazy Rich Asians, by Kevin Kwan. Throughout March and April, the Library will host a series of events as part of Citywide Read, including Author Kevin Kwan speaking and signing books on Thursday April 11th at Berkeley City College. 

Described by NPR as "a breathless, high-speed romp through the lives of a group of megarich Asians,” Crazy Rich Asians is easily read as escapist fiction. At the same time, it also presents opportunities for discussions of family, diaspora culture, wealth, class, and representation.

The book will be explored through community discussions and programs at Berkeley Public Library locations. Details on upcoming events and a free, downloadable discussion guide can be found at the Citywide Read website. Scheduled events include:

  • Book discussions at North Branch on March 26, at Tarea Hall Pittman South Branch on March 27, and Claremont Branch on April 8.
  • Local chef, educator and blogger Linda Tay-Esposito from Flavor Explosions explores the Singaporean street food that flavors Crazy Rich Asians at Claremont Branch on March 15.
  • Enjoy a free, red-carpet (dress up if you wish!) screening of the film adaptation of the novel at the Central Library on March 23.
  • Sociologist and pop culture expert Dr. Nancy Yuen, speaks at the Central Library about popular culture and Crazy Rich Asians on April 6.
  • Kevin Kwan speaks and signs books at Berkeley City College on April 11.
  • Linda Tay-Esposito brings Flavor Explosions to West Branch on April 13.

Free copies of the book are available at Berkeley Public Library locations and at outreach events while supplies last. Additionally, each Branch has dozens of copies in its Lucky Day collection available on a first come, first served basis, and instant E-book downloads are available now.

To select this year’s Citywide Read title, a committee of Berkeley Public Library Librarians considered such factors as community appeal, relevancy, availability, and the title’s support for complementary and creative programming. “The team searched for contemporary titles that could be enjoyed across generations and communities. Crazy Rich Asians fit the bill,” says Acting Director of Library Services Elliot Warren. “We are excited to launch the BPL Citywide Read program and we are especially appreciative of the support of the Friends of Berkeley Public Library who encouraged us to launch it and is making this program possible through its generous support.”

All Citywide Reads events are wheelchair accessible. For questions, to request a sign language interpreter or other accommodations for this event, please call (510) 981-6195 (voice) or (510) 548-1240 (TTY); at least five working days will help ensure availability. Please refrain from wearing scented products to public programs. For more information on 2019 Citywide Read visit our website or call 510-981-6195.