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Philadelphia Free Library Picks Japanese-American Novel For ‘One Book’

(Author Julie Otsuka, at the Free Library of Philadelphia.  Credit: Pat Loeb)

(Author Julie Otsuka, at the Free Library of Philadelphia. Credit: Pat Loeb)

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By Pat Loeb

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The Free Library of Philadelphia today announced its choice for next year’s “One Book, One Philadelphia” reading project.

In the upcoming year, officials at the Free Library say, they would like everyone in the city to read Buddha in the Attic, a novel about the Japanese immigrant experience from the early 20th century through the internment camps of World War II.

Author Julie Otsuka (at lectern in photo) says she was joyful to get the call.

“This felt so validating, not so much for me personally as a writer but for the people I was writing about, the men and women who came before me who never really had a chance to tell their own stories, people who are mostly forgotten and now gone,” she said today.

Library  president Siobhan Reardon notes the Philadelphia connection to the story: Quakers were the leading opponents to the Japanese internment, “which is a significant piece of this book.  So it was kind of a natural for us to say this is an interesting connection.”

This is the 11th year of the program that typically entices thousands of readers.  Dozens of events are held throughout the year.

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