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Santa Monica Citywide Reads In Full Swing Until March 31:

Mystery author Naomi Hirahara will take Santa Monica Citywide Reads participants on a tour of noir, accompanied by the torchy songs and sax of Doc and Renee this Monday, Feb. 27, at 6:30 p.m. at the Annenberg Beach House, located at 415 Pacific Coast Highway.

The event is part of Santa Monica Citywide Reads, a community reading program that invites everyone in the community to read and discuss the same novel in book discussions and special events held throughout the city.

Events started on Feb. 22 and will run through March 31, 2012. All Citywide Reads book discussions and special events are free and open to the public.

This year, Citywide Reads celebrates its tenth anniversary with the featured novel, The Lady in the Lake, by noir master Raymond Chandler.

First published in 1943 by Alfred A. Knopf, The Lady in the Lake was Raymond Chandler’s fourth full-length novel and once again featured wisecracking, hard-as-nails private detective Phillip Marlowe.

As with the detective’s previous adventures, the story begins with Marlowe being hired for what would seem to be a fairly standard missing-persons case – the disappearance of a Los Angeles doctor’s wife, presumably with her younger lover.

The mystery quickly gets more tangled and complex as Marlowe follows the woman’s trail and finds a series of dead bodies and crooked characters along the way.

To mark Citywide Reads’ tenth anniversary, the program is also expanding to include a featured novel for kids, Trouble Is My Beeswax by Bruce Hale.

Aimed at readers aged 7-10, Hale’s kid-friendly noir mystery features Chet Gecko, a wise-cracking, reptilian, fourth-grade private detective, who is hired to investigate a cheating ring at his elementary school.

Sponsored by the Santa Monica Public Library, with support by the Friends of the Santa Monica Public Library and other community, educational and business partners, Citywide Reads 2012 will feature a busy slate of special events and discussions. All programs are free to the public, and seating is first come, first served. This year’s program includes:

Los Angeles Noir Now – Denise Hamilton, editor of Los Angeles Noir, leads a discussion on the noir genre of today with authors Christopher Rice, Jim Pascoe, Gary Phillips and Naomi Hirahara. Tuesday, March 6, 2012 at 7 p.m., Main Library, 601 Santa Monica Boulevard.

Bay City and Beyond – A look back at the history of Santa Monica and Los Angeles in the noir period with authors Ernest Marquez (Noir Afloat), David Kipen (Los Angeles in the 1930s) and Alain Silver (Raymond Chandler’s Los Angeles), as well as SMPL Image Archives Librarian Cynni Murphy. Saturday, March 10, 2012 at 2:00 p.m., Main Library, 601 Santa Monica Boulevard.

Raymond Chandler’s Sense of Place: Santa Monica & The West Side – Judith Freeman presents an illustrated, virtual tour of Santa Monica places associated with Raymond Chandler and his novels. Monday, March 12, 2012 at 7:00 p.m., Annenberg Beach House, 415 Pacific Coast Highway.

The Lady in the Lake Live: Authors Reading Raymond Chandler – Judith Freeman, Janet Fitch and Denise Hamilton lead a star-studded list of authors in a staged, costumed reading of The Lady in the Lake. Audience costumes encouraged. Friday, March 16, 2012 at 7 p.m., Santa Monica Bay Woman’s Club, 1210 Fourth Street.

The Masters of Los Angeles Noir – Author Denise Hamilton discusses noir pioneers Raymond Chandler, Dashiell Hammett and Ross Macdonald with their respective biographers Judith Freeman, Julie Rivett and Tom Nolan. Tuesday, March 20, 2012 at 7 p.m., Main Library, 601 Santa Monica Boulevard.

Staged Reading of “The Pencil” – A staged reading of Raymond Chandler’s last Phillip Marlowe short story, “The Pencil,” produced by the Ruskin Group Theatre. Saturday, March 24, 2012 at 3:00 p.m., Main Library, 601 Santa Monica Boulevard.

Raymond Chandler Movie Screenings

Double Indemnity – Wednesday, February 22 at 6:30 p.m. (Main Library)

The Big Sleep – Saturday, March 3 at 2 p.m. (Ocean Park Branch)

Strangers on a Train – Tuesday, March 13, 2012 at 7 p.m. (Fairview Branch)

Murder My Sweet – Monday, March 19, 2012 at 2 p.m. (Montana Branch)

Lady in the Lake – Thursday, March 22, 2012 at 6:30 p.m. (Main Library)

The Long Goodbye – Sunday, March 25, 2012 at 2 p.m. (Main Library)

Q&A following with Elliott Gould (schedule permitting)

Citywide Reads Kids: An Afternoon with Bruce Hale – The creative author behind Trouble Is My Beeswax, this year’s Citywide Reads Kids featured novel, presents a fun program on how he writes and draws the hilarious adventures of his reptilian private eye, Chet Gecko. Wednesday, March 28, 2012 at 3:45 p.m., Main Library, 601 Santa Monica Boulevard.

Citywide Reads Kids: Chet Gecko Detective School – After you’ve read Trouble is My Beeswax, attend our fun Detective School to learn how to be a super sleuth. For ages 7-10.

Wed., March 21 at 3:45 pm (Main Library)

Mon., March 26 at 3:45 pm (Fairview Branch)

Tue., March 27 at 3:45 pm (Montana Branch)

Thu., March 29 at 3:45 pm (Ocean Park Branch)

Participation in a book discussion of The Lady in the Lake is also greatly encouraged. The following venues are scheduled for trained, volunteer facilitator-led discussions:

Tuesday, February 28, 2012 at 4 p.m., Panera Bread, 501 Wilshire Boulevard.

Thursday, March 1, 2012 at 7 p.m., Ocean Park Branch Library, 2601 Main Street.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012 at 7 p.m., Fairview Branch Library, 2102 Ocean Park Blvd.

Monday, March 12, 2012 at 1:30 p.m., Ken Edwards Center, 1527 Fourth Street.

Thursday, March 15, 2012 at 7 p.m., Barnes & Noble, 1201 Third Street Promenade.

Saturday, March 17, 2012 at 11 a.m., Café Bolivar, 1741 Ocean Park Boulevard.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012 at 7 p.m., Montana Branch Library, 1704 Montana Ave.

Saturday, March 31, 2012 at 11 a.m., Main Library, 601 Santa Monica Boulevard.

Those who already belong to a book club and are interested in reading and discussing The Lady in the Lake with their group are also encouraged to use the Citywide Reads Resource Guide, available from late January through March 31, 2012 at all Santa Monica Public Library locations and on the Citywide Reads web site at smpl.org/Citywide_Reads.aspx.

The Santa Monica Public Library is wheelchair accessible. For special disabled services, call Library Administration at 310.458.8606 at least one week prior to the event. For more information, call the Santa Monica Public Library at 310.458.8600 or visit smpl.org.

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