This year’s Brentwood CityRead program hopes to do just that by offering free copies of Firoozeh Dumas’ witty memoir “Funny in Farsi” for all locals to enjoy. Baskets filled with Dumas’ 2003 breakout hit will be place all over town beginning Monday, Oct. 12, and all readers need to do is pick up a copy; no checkout process is required.
“I think people are really going to enjoy this book,” said Leonard Roudman, senior community library manager and program coordinator. “The past CityRead selections have had a more serious tone and heavier subject matter, so this is the right time to introduce a humorous memoir. Times are tough, so it’s important to laugh once in a while.”
“Funny in Farsi” chronicles Dumas’ upbringing as an Iranian immigrant growing up in a southern California suburb. Dumas moved to Whittier with her family when she was 7 and the book follows her struggles to adapt to American customs while holding on to her Iranian culture.
Dumas, a graduate of UC Berkeley who now lives in the Bay Area, didn’t set out to become a published author. She began writing stories about her childhood for her own children in order to show how, despite their differences, people from different backgrounds have much in common. And she soon realized she had enough to fill an entire book – and then some. She released a follow-up to “Farsi,” “Laughing Without an Accent,” last year.
“She has such an interesting way of describing her experiences,” Roudman said. “She takes readers on this journey of experiencing America for the first time, and her insight creates an enjoyable, warm, touching story. You’ll find yourself laughing after reading only a few pages.”
Copies of “Funny in Farsi” will be available at select locations through Nov. 21, but the program will officially conclude on Dec. 5 when Dumas visits Brentwood for a discussion and book signing entitled “Shared Humanity Through Humor.”
Roudman said Dumas is the most famous author to visit Brentwood as part of the program. The CityRead program traditionally begins in September and the author visits in November, but Dumas is busy touring the country giving guest lectures, and the December date was the first available time on her calendar.
“Funny in Farsi” has been nominated for numerous awards, including the prestigious Thurber Prize for American Humor (but lost to “The Daily Show”). Dumas is the first Middle Eastern woman to be nominated for the honor. Her book has also been optioned for a sitcom on ABC, and a pilot episode is expected to be filmed early next year.
There will be 1,100 copies of the CityRead selection available this year thanks to sponsorship from the Friends of the Brentwood Library, the Brentwood Art Society, the Rotary Club of Brentwood and the Brentwood Lions Club.
When people are done reading the book, Roudman asks readers to either pass the book along to a friend, return the book to one of the pick-up locations or to the library so that as many people as possible have an opportunity to enjoy it.
Copies of the Brentwood CityRead selection “Funny in Farsi” can be found at the following locations beginning Oct. 12:
• Brentwood Library, 104 Oak St.
• Brentwood Chamber of Commerce, 8440 Brentwood Blvd., Suite C.
• Brentwood Press, 248 Oak St.
• Gabby’s Grind, 729 First St.
• Panama Bay Coffee Company, 4431 Balfour Road.
• Peet’s Coffee and Tea, 5411 Lone Tree Way.
• Starbucks: 2540 Sand Creek Road; 8610 Brentwood Blvd.; 3150 Balfour Road; 14804 Highway 4 (Discovery Bay).
• Willy’s Bagels & Blends: 1155 Second St.; 390 W. Country Club Drive.
• The four Summerset libraries.
Come meet author Firoozeh Dumas at the reception “Shared Humanity Through Humor” at the Los Medanos College Brentwood Center, 101A Sand Creek Road, on Saturday, Dec. 5 at 2 p.m.
For more information, call the Brentwood Library at 925-516-5290.