Authors at Silicon Valley Reads 2013 closing event2 min read

Kelsey Purpura, Staff Writer

Authors Brian Castner and Sue Diaz were featured at the closing event of the Silicon Valley Reads, hosted at Cupertino Community Hall April 13.

The event was the last of about 140 activities on the theme of “Invisible Wounds of War,” Focusing on two books for adults and five books for children and teens.

De Anza College President Brian Murphy said that having thousands of people in the South Bay participate in Silicon Valley Reads and read the books was “remarkable.”

“This event today is the culmination, the end, of a process that’s gone on for a quarter of a year,” Murphy said.

The theme of both Castner and Diaz’s book is soldiers who go to war.

Sue Diaz’s book, “Minefields of the Heart” is about her son who went to war twice.

Brian Castner’s book, “The Long Walk” tells his own experiences after returning home from war.

People who have not experienced war  “ … feel this gulf between the average community and veterans, and they want to know how to breach it and how to reach out,” Castner said.

“It’s things like Silicon Valley Reads that maybe start that for people who don’t … have a veteran in their own family.”

“I understand what my son had been through from reading his book,” Diaz said about Castner’s book.

The event opened with President Murphy and the authors discussing their experience of having their books chosen for Silicon Valley Reads.

An award ceremony for an essay contest was held after the meeting where participants had to write an essay about one or both of the books and describe how the stories affected them and compare the stories to their own lives.

The contest was split into adult and teen divisions, and the winners received a cash prize.

Essay contestant Debbie Bathurst placed second in the adult division of the competition and wrote about when she had felt similar emotions as Castner descried in his book.

“I used working at the bank and being through bank robberies, kind of like Brian coming back from war,” Bathurst said.

“It’s like you have this voice in your head that’s constantly, like, looking over your shoulder.”

Now that Silicon Valley Reads 2013 has come to an end, the Cupertino Library Foundation is working on picking the next books that will be featured in 2014 for the community to read,. said Bob Adams, vice president of the foundation.

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