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Just In Yavapai College News

Belonging is theme of 2022-2023 Riders Read selection and related events, including a late-start class, a gnome hunt and a live visit with author T.J. Klune

A garden gnome hunt, a bestselling author’s autograph, a chance to study alongside YC Honors students and hopefully, a greater sense of belonging are among the benefits of participating in the latest Yavapai College Riders Read.

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That’s because in its fourth year, Riders Read (YC’s version of a common read), is waxing both philosophical and whimsical in its choice of award-winning bestsellers — T.J. Klune’s “The House In The Cerulean Sea.” Everyone at YC and in the community is invited to read the poignant fantasy novel and engage in multiple activities around it throughout the 2022-2023 academic year. 

“The House In The Cerulean Sea” chronicles the adventures of a diverse and magical group of orphans and their LGBTQ protectors. It was chosen by a college committee for its uplifting story and messages around human dignity, acceptance and family. Author Klune describes himself in his Twitter handle as “unapologetically queer” and an advocate of accurate, positive queer representation in literature.

“It’s a pretty heartwarming book and coming out of the pandemic we wanted to choose something just a little more uplifting,” said Laura Cline, a YC English professor and member of the college’s Riders Read Committee. Additionally, the book’s central themes complement one of YC’s core values – belonging. “It’s a story that everyone who has ever felt they didn’t belong somewhere can relate to,” Cline said.

Among the opportunities to participate in discussions about the book include a late-start class Cline is teaching called Riders Readalong. Everyone is invited to take the class, joining YC Honors students in a scholarly dive into the book and its brand of human heroics. The half-credit class meets in person and via Zoom for five sessions starting Friday, Oct. 14. Late-start class registration is underway at www.yc.edu/register.

Photo: “House In The Cerulean Sea” author T.J. Klune, his dog Bailey, and the cover of his New York Times and USA Today best-selling fantasy novel.

Also on Oct. 14, “The House In The Cerulean Sea author” T.J. Klune is the Literary Southwest’s special guest for a live author talk featuring readings, a Q and A and book signings. The talk will be livestreamed on YouTube at 7 p.m. A small audience of invited guests, contest winners and students in the aforementioned Riders Readalong class will comprise a live audience for Klune’s talk in the Yavapai College Prescott campus library. Everyone is welcome to watch the livestream in the YC Community Room adjacent to the library in Building 19.

The contest sponsored by the Riders Read Committee and the Literary Southwest entails photo and video posts on YC’s Facebook and Instagram pages of a ceramic garden gnome. Prospective VIP author talk ticketholders must correctly identify the location of the gnome with an Instagram or Facebook post to the hashtag #wherestalia. Talia is the name of the garden gnome (and one of the magical orphans) in Klune’s book. Correct contest entries will be entered into a drawing for a VIP ticket to see Klune in person.  

For those content to experience Klune’s talk from home, the link to the YouTube livestream of Klune’s talk is posted on the Literary Southwest website: www.yc.edu/literarysw.

The Riders Read committee is organizing more activities around “The House In The Cerulean Sea,” including art and essay contests, roundtables and symposiums. Details about forthcoming events and all  things Riders Read can be found on the website, www.yc.edu/ridersread

Printed and digital copies of “House In The Cerulean Sea” are available at the YC Library and other Yavapai County Library Network libraries.

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