The featured book for next year’s Santa Monica Citywide Reads is Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, by Jonathan Safran Foer.

Sponsored by the City of Santa Monica and the Santa Monica Public Library, Citywide Reads is a community reading program that invites residents and visitors to Santa Monica to read and discuss the novel in book clubs held around the city.

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close follows nine-year-old Oskar’s search to learn more about a key found in his deceased father’s closet after September 11th, 2001.

“This novel offers a view of the brave new world of post-September 11th New York though the eyes of nine-year-old Oskar Schell,” said Carol Jago, chair of the Santa Monica High School English department and a member of the Citywide Reads Advisory Committee. “Oskar’s father died in the catastrophe, and the boy’s quest to find answers about his father leads to new questions about loss and love.

“Like all great stories, this one has places for laughing and places for crying. It also includes photos, drawings, and visual images that complement the text.”

Jonathan Safran Foer published his first novel, Everything is Illuminated, in 2002.

It won the Guardian Book Prize and the National Jewish Book Award.

The New Yorker and The Paris Review have published his short stories. In addition, he wrote a libretto for the German National Opera House in Berlin.

Houghton Mifflin published Jonathan Safran Foer’s second novel, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, this year. The book is also available in audio and downloadable formats.

Santa Monica Citywide Reads takes place Monday, April 3rd, to Saturday May 6th, and features free public book discussion groups led by volunteer facilitators held in coffeehouses, bookstores, libraries, and other locations.

The author will appear in Santa Monica on Sunday, April 23rd, and present a reading.

Related events, such as programs on the future of fiction and America post- 9/11, are being planned.

Information about Citywide Reads, www.smpl.org/cwr or the Santa Monica Public Library, (310) 458-8600.

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