Sunday, April 26, 2015

Davis Reads book project focuses on veterans

From page A1 | August 01, 2014 |

thank you for your serviceW

In the four years that Krystyna von Henneberg has been coordinating the Davis community book project known as Davis Reads, she has tried to select books that will provoke discussions on topics that, while important, maybe aren’t talked about all that much.

The first year, she chose “The Warmth of Other Suns,” which chronicled the decades-long migration of millions of African-Americans from the South to Northern cities between 1915 and 1970. The following year, it was “Factory Girls,” which looked at the lives of migrant factory workers in China.

But the past two years, von Henneberg’s book choices have been especially prescient.

Last year’s pick, “Enrique’s Journey,” looked at illegal immigration from the perspective of a Honduran teen trying to cross the border into the United States, an issue that exploded in the news recently.

This year’s book, meanwhile, “Thank You For Your Service,” looks at life back in the United States for Gulf War soldiers suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injuries and other war wounds.

Author David Finkel first met many of these soldiers when he embedded with a U.S. Army combat brigade in Baghdad back in 2007 and later wrote about that experience in “The Good Soldiers.” Now, his follow-up book traces these wounded warriors as they move in and out of Veterans Administration psychiatric wards and hospitals and struggle to put their home lives back together.

VA hospitals, of course, also have been in the news quite a bit of late, with the Veterans Administration coming under fire following reports of veterans dying while waiting for care.

“All of that happened right after we chose the book,” von Henneberg said Wednesday.

She said she chose “Thank You For Your Service” not because of what’s going on currently with the VA, but because it seemed so appropriate, given that this is the 100th anniversary of World War I.

“And we have a lot of veterans in our community,” she noted. “A lot of them are very proud of their service, but maybe feel invisible.”

Finkel’s book, she noted, provokes discussion on how those veterans are doing now, what they are going through and what they need.

“I think of them as our brothers and sisters and we should be their keepers,” she said. “We don’t want to abandon them and their pain.”

The book project includes several forums throughout the year, including one held at the Stephens Branch Library on Wednesday evening and a previous forum that included a local Vietnam War veteran who spoke openly and movingly about his experiences upon returning from that war. A third forum will take place in the fall.

Von Henneberg is a book lover herself, but also a historian who has taught at UC Davis, UC Berkeley and Stanford, and she brings a historian’s perspective to Davis Reads, she said.

She credits Yolo County librarian Joan Tuss for immediately agreeing to her request to start a community book project four years ago and for continuing to support the program every step of the way.

She also credits the Friends of the Library for their willingness to purchase extra copies of books chosen for Davis Reads — 10 copies of “Thank You For Your Service” this year, plus books on CD.

“They are all constantly checked out,” von Henneberg said.

Von Henneberg, meanwhile, carries the book project beyond the library, including into classrooms — she has spoken at both Da Vinci and Davis high schools about the chosen books — as well at small book clubs in town.

“Sometimes people invite me to come speak at their book club meetings, which is really lovely,” von Henneberg said.

To learn more about Davis Reads and upcoming events, visit or contact Tuss at [email protected]

— Reach Anne Ternus-Bellamy at [email protected] or 530-747-8051. Follow her on Twitter at @ATernusBellamy



Anne Ternus-Bellamy

  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this newspaper and receive notifications of new articles by email.

  • .


    Davis team wins world robotics championship

    By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A1 | Gallery

    Nepal quake death toll exceeds 1,800

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2 | Gallery

    Spring storm delivers late rain, snow to Northern California

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

    At the Pond: Plenty of pleasures in our bioregion

    By Jean Jackman | From Page: A3 | Gallery

    Rail-safety bill passes Senate committee

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

    Free Family Bike Clinic set Sunday

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Pioneering organic chef presents her memoir Monday

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

    Suspect in UCD assault arrested

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A4

    Dog park marks anniversary with cleanup

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

    Watch them in action

    By Julia Ann Easley | From Page: A5

    Stocks rise on tech earnings; Nasdaq adds to record

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A8

    Dodd speaks as part of public policy series

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A9

    We did it (together)!

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A10

    $2.72 million judgment ordered against Dollar Tree Stores

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A10

    UCD hosts bike auction Saturday, May 2

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11 | Gallery

    Fly Fishers to hear about advanced streamer tactics on Tuesday

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A11 | Gallery

    Bicycle activist will speak Monday at Hall of Fame

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11 | Gallery



    Those texts still linger

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B6

    New ways of giving locally and beyond

    By Marion Franck | From Page: B6

    Study questions accuracy of tumor gene mapping

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

    Tom Meyer cartoon

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: A12

    Poker proceeds help youths

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A12

    Invest in water of the future

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A12

    Water, water everywhere?

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A12

    Mayor’s Corner: A spirit of renewal permeates Davis

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A12

    More work to do for a safe Picnic Day

    By Our View | From Page: A12

    Anaheim, where The Force is with you

    By Sebastian Onate | From Page: A13 | Gallery



    Davis gets two baseball wins in two days

    By Spencer Ault | From Page: B1

    Grizzlies dominate young Blue Devils on Senior Night

    By Thomas Oide | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Energy, fan-friendly happenings highlight UCD spring football game

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Blue Devil golfers capture CAL Invitational title

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

    UCD roundup: Aggies reach water polo semifinals

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B2

    Blue Devil swimmers are up to the challenge

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B2 | Gallery

    Babich brings the heat as DHS girls stick it to Oak Ridge

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B12 | Gallery

    DHS softball struggles continue against Sheldon

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B12 | Gallery





    History comes alive in ‘The Sacramento Picture’

    By Derrick Bang | From Page: A1 | Gallery



    Yolo County real estate sales

    By Zoe Juanitas | From Page: A7

    Big Italian food, sports bar to fill Little Prague

    By Wendy Weitzel | From Page: A7 | Gallery

    Davis Roots hires new general manager

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A8

    Comcast announces speed upgrade

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A8



    Whitney Joy Engler

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

    Valente Forrest Dolcini

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6



    Comics: Sunday, April 26, 2015

    By Creator | From Page: B8