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One City, One Book: El Cerrito - One City, One Book

Read with your neighbors!

Oct.10th Discussion

Discussion of Vanessa Hua’s Deceit and Other Possibilities
October 10, 2017 – 6:30pm

Chris Sterba, Senior Lecturer of American Studies at San Francisco State University, will facilitate the evening’s discussion.
Though we will discuss the book as a whole, Chris has suggested questions about three of Hua’s stories in particular:

  --In “Accepted,” high school graduate Elaine Park pretends to attend Stanford even though she was not accepted.  How is she able to do this?  Why does she go to such an extreme?

  --In “The Responsibility of Deceit,” Calvin has not yet come out to his parents.  Do you have a secret you’ve kept from your parents, and if you did eventually decide to tell them, why did you?  How did it impact your relationship, for better or for worse?

--“For What They Shared” pits two women against each other: Lin, a Chinese immigrant, and Aileen, an American-born Chinese, camping beside each other in the redwoods. In what ways are the two women alike, in what ways are they different?

Deceit and Other Possibilities


Praise for Deceit and Other Possibilities

“Searing debut”

                        —O, The Oprah Magazine


“The men, women and children in Hua’s moving debut often find themselves straddling the volatile fault lines between desire and shame, decorum and rage... She has a deep understanding of the pressure of submerged emotions and polite, face-saving deceptions. The truth comes out, sometimes explosively, sometimes in a quiet act of courage.”

San Francisco Chronicle


“An intriguing collection...each of her protagonists is never quite grounded, caught between multiple cultures and countries. Each hides beneath layers of deceit, clinging to lies that enable survival....Hua is a writer to watch.”



“Hua writes of the immigrant experience today with sophistication and punch…exuberant stories filled with nuance and fresh detail.”



 “Exactly what we need to be reading in this country right now, and probably always. If I had to choose one word to describe Hua’s writing style, it would be personable — you actually feel like her narrators are sitting across the sofa from you, popping open the tab of a soda can as they prepare to tell you their story…funny and sad, quick-witted and thought provoking.”

                        —Bustle, the 26 Best Literary Debuts By Women in the Last 5 Years


“A great writer, subversively funny…characters that don’t look anything like ‘model minorities’….readable and human.”





Read with us!

For the first time in many years, El Cerrito Library, with help from the El Cerrito Arts & Culture Commission and the Friends of the El Cerrito Library are proud to bring to our vastly literary community the “One City, One Book” program. One City, One Book is an enriching nationwide program which encourages reading and discussion within a community.

The selected book is a collection of short stories, Deceit and Other Possibilitiesby local author, Vanessa Hua, a writer for the San Francisco Chronicle. Pick up a copy and read it at your own pace, then join fellow readers at a group discussion on October 10, and meet the author on October 24 for a reading, book signing, and discussion. 

Due to some mature themes, this book is recommended for adults. 

Get your copy here!

Unfortunately, all free copies have been retrieved and are, hopefully, getting read! What a terrific community! They can be ordered via LINK+ from the library. 

Pick up your free copy of Deceit and Other Possibilities so that you can also participate in this city-wide reading experience, from these participating locations, only while supplies last: 

El Cerrito Library - 6510 Stockton Avenue
City Hall - 10890 San Pablo Avenue
Senior Center - 6500 Stockton Avenue
Community Center - 7007 Moeser Lane
Recycling & Environmental Resource Center - 7501 Schmidt Lane
Well Grounded Tea & Coffee Bar - 6925 Stockton Ave

Discuss the book and then meet the author!

Join us for a group discussion on Tuesday, October 10th at 6:30 P.M. at El Cerrito Library.

Two weeks later, join us for a visit from Vanessa Hua where there will be a reading, book signing, and discussion on Tuesday, October 24th at 6:30 P.M. at El Cerrito LIbrary. 

This One City event is brought to you by



Friends of the El Cerrito Library


Vanessa Hua

Vanessa Hua, winner of the 2017 Asian/Pacific American Librarians Association's Award for Adult Fiction! 

Vanessa Hua has appeared in The Atlantic, New York Times, FRONTLINE/World, Washington Post, and elsewhere.  Previously, she was a staff writer at the San Francisco Chronicle, and has filed stories from China, South Korea, Panama, Burma and Ecuador. She received a 2015 Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers’ Award, the San Francisco Foundation’s Phelan Award for Fiction, and is a former Steinbeck Fellow in Fiction at San Jose State University. Her novel, A River of Stars, is forthcoming from Ballantine.