Carson City’s Community Read

Capital City Reads is Carson City Library’s annual city-wide book club that brings people together through the reading and discussion of a common book. This event is an annual celebration sponsored by the Friends of the Carson City Library that runs in conjunction with National Library Week in April.

April 2021: To Be Taught, If Fortunate

At the turn of the twenty-second century, scientists make a breakthrough in human spaceflight. Through a revolutionary method known as somaforming, astronauts can survive in hostile environments off Earth using synthetic biological supplementations. They can produce antifreeze in subzero temperatures, absorb radiation and convert it for food, and conveniently adjust to the pull of different gravitational forces. With the fragility of the body no longer a limiting factor, human beings are at last able to journey to neighboring exoplanets long known to harbor life.

A team of these explorers, Ariadne O’Neill and her three crewmates, are hard at work in a planetary system fifteen light-years from Sol, on a mission to ecologically survey four habitable worlds. But as Ariadne shifts through both form and time, the culture back on Earth has also been transformed. Faced with the possibility of returning to a planet that has forgotten those who have left, Ariadne begins to chronicle the story of the wonders and dangers of her mission, in the hope that someone back home might still be listening.

The title of the book comes from a message by Kurt Waldheim, Secretary-General of the United Nations, as recorded on the Voyager Golden record sent into space in 1977: “We step out of our solar system into the universe seeking only peace and friendship – to teach, if we are called upon; to be taught, if we are fortunate.”

Becky Chambers is a science fiction author based in Northern California, best known for her Hugo Award-winning Wayfarers series.

Get the Book

Print copies of the book are available at the library during the month of April while supplies last.

Check out and download the book as an ebook or audiobook from the library’s OverDrive collection here.


Register for a Take-Home Activity Kit
Kits can be picked up at the library’s Information Desk during open hours beginning April 1.

Virtual Programs:

Friday, April 2, 4-5pm, Hour of Code (Teens)
Friday, April 16, 4-4:30pm, Makers Club (Elementary)
Saturday, April 17, 4:00-5:30pm, Off the Shelf Book Club (Adults)

Past Titles

2020 – My First Summer in the Sierra by John Muir

2019 – Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

2018 – In the Country We Love by Diane Guererro

2017 – Building a Better Community: Happy City by Charles Montgomery, Thank You For Being Late by Thomas Friedman, The New Better Off by Courtney E. Martin

2016 – Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future by Ashlee Vance

2015 – The Motel Life by Willy Vlautin