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A Tale of 3 Books (and Stand-Up Comedy)

By Dateline Staff on May 17, 2019 in University

As the 2018-19 Campus Community Book Project winds down (The Book of Joy) and program planning is about to begin for next year’s book (Another Day in the Death of America, about gun violence), we have a third book to consider — not yet selected — for the year after next.

The process of selecting the 2020-21 book is just beginning, now that the Campus Council on Community and Diversity has announced the topic: mental health. Everyone in the campus community is invited to submit nominations and-or serve on the selection committee.

The book topic changes from year to year — for example, it was community-building this year and it’s violence-gun violence next year. The 2020-21 topic, mental health, fits in with a “basic needs” priority for students at UC Davis. “We’ll look for a book that will enhance discussions among students, staff and faculty and the surrounding community,” said Megan Macklin, book project coordinator in the Office of Campus Community Relations.

Criteria for nominations include well-written, accessible and engaging to a general audience; short enough to be read within the time frame usually allotted for coursework; provocative and intriguing to as many members of the community as possible, to invite diverse participation and integration into discussion groups and courses across disciplines; noncampus authors only, with consideration given to someone who can come to campus, to give a lecture and participate in a forum.

Eligibility extends to any published work that is still in print in paperback — including nonfiction work, plays, novels, collections of short stories or essays.

Nominations are due by Friday, July 12, via email to Macklin. She’s also the person to contact if you wish to volunteer for the selection committee. Its first meeting will be from noon to 1 p.m. Monday, July 22, in 63 Mrak Hall (phone and internet connections will be available).

‘Chronic Pain: A Comedy’

Karma Waltonen poses with bigger-than-life Bart Simpson cutout.
Waltonen is a fan of “The Simpsons.”

If you think joy and chronic pain can’t go together, then you need to come hear Karma Waltonen’s stand-up routine, “Chronic Pain: A Comedy,” 7 to 8:30 p.m. Wednesday (May 22), in 194 Young Hall. This event, free and open to the public, concludes the 2018-19 Campus Community Book Project: The Book of Joy, by the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu, with Douglas Abrams.

Waltonen is a lecturer in the University Writing Program and leads the First-Year Seminar “Writing and Performing Stand-Up Comedy.”

She gave “Chronic Pain” a test run at UC Davis in 2017 and subsequently presented the routine at conferences in Wales and England. She presented “Chronic Pain” as a book project program earlier this year on the Sacramento campus, and now she is bringing her routine to the Davis campus.

Waltonen advocated for The Book of Joy as the 2018-19 book project selection — she’s a longtime member of the selection committee — and said her routine shows some of the book’s advice in practice. “The audience is able to see someone suffering who still laughs, who still searches for joy,” she said.

Read more about Waltonen and her routine.

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About the author(s)

Dateline Staff Dave Jones, editor, can be reached at 530-752-6556 or Cody Kitaura, news and media relations specialist, can be reached at 530-752-1932 or