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Read the book. Join the conversation. It’s that simple! Read with us this winter, December – February, as we read National Book Award finalist Pachinko by Min Jin Lee.

About One Book, One Community

One Book, One Community is a time for everyone in our community to read the same book, sparking conversations about the book and its themes. It’s a new way to bring us all together to talk about families, immigrants, survival and identity.

Send your questions, thoughts and feedback to onebook@stdl.org.

Books for Young Readers

Your whole family can read with us this winter. We’ve selected a picture book and a chapter books with similar themes to Pachinko so your kids can be a part of the fun and the conversation.

  • Dear Juno by Soyung Pak – a picture book recommended for ages 5-8
  • Listen, Slowly by Thanhhà Lại – a chapter book recommended for ages 9-12

What is Pachinko?

Pachinko machine

Much of the action of the book Pachinko happens in Japanese pachinko parlors. So what, exactly, is pachinko?

Pachinko machines look similar to pinball machines and were used as gambling devices, not unlike slot machines. We’ll have one on display at our Central Library throughout One Book, One Community.

Players load one or more balls into the machine, then fling them using a spring-loaded handle. It’s a game of chance as you wait to see where the ball lands and if you’ll earn a pay-out.

How to Participate

Meet the Authors

We’re very excited to welcome Pachinko author Min Jin Lee for a special evening on Thursday, Feb. 20 at the Al Larson Prairie Center for the Arts. Join us at 6 p.m. for hors d’oeuvres, followed by an evening with Min Jin Lee beginning at 7 p.m. Books will be available for purchase and signing thanks to Read Between the Lynes bookstore.

20
FEB
Author Visit: Min Jin Lee
6-9 p.m.
Prairie Center for the Arts
11
FEB
Author Visit: Soyung Pak
4-5 p.m.
Central Library - Program Room
18
FEB
Author Visit: Thanhhà Lại
4-5 p.m.
Central Library - Program Room

Talk About It

Join the conversation. Register for any of our One Book, One Community book discussions to talk about Pachinko with others in the community.

29
JAN
Book Discussion
1-2 p.m.
Kaffeestube
30
JAN
Book Discussion
1-2 p.m.
Central Library - Rasmussen South
3
FEB
Book Discussion
1:30-2:30 p.m.
Central Library - Rasmussen South
6
FEB
Book Discussion
10:30-11:30 p.m.
Hanover Park Branch - Meeting Room
11
FEB
Book Discussion
7-8 p.m.
Hoffman Estates Branch - Meeting Room

Tune In to our Podcast

Pachinko is a long book. We know. 

To help those of you who may not have enough hours in the day to read the whole book but still want to be part of the conversation, we’re creating a podcast. We're creating six short episodes, each discussing a section of Pachinko, making it easy for you to follow along with this great story, even if you don’t have time to read all 479 pages.

Check back here as we release our Read With Us podcast, starting in January. You’ll find it in Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts and Stitcher

Attend a Program

Extend your One Book, One Community experience with these related programs.

4
JAN
One Book, One Community Carnival
1-3 p.m.
Central Library - The Commons
8
JAN
Crafting Cute: Zen Garden
7-8 p.m.
Central Library - Teen Program Room
10
JAN
Untidy Toddlers: Dear Juno
10-10:45 a.m.
Central Library - Craft Room
13
JAN
Tasting Club: Korean Snacks
7-8 p.m.
Central Library - Teen Program Room
16
JAN
BeTween the Lines Book Club
4-5 p.m.
Central Library - Program Room
21
JAN
Art Studio: Dear Juno
4-5 p.m.
Central Library - Craft Room
22
JAN
Korean Paper Lantern
7-8 p.m.
Central Library - Teen Program Room
24
JAN
Pretend & Play
10-10:45 a.m.
Central Library - Program Room
25
JAN
The Harmony of Korean Drumming & Dancing
2-3 p.m.
Central Library - Rasmussen Room
28
JAN
Book Explorers
4-5 p.m.
Central Library - Craft Room
28
JAN
Korean Cuisine
7-8:30 p.m.
Central Library - Rasmussen Room
4
Feb
Artful Designs: Japanese Blossom
7-8 p.m.
Central Library - Teen Program Room
5
Feb
DIY Designs
3:30-4:30 p.m.
Central Library - Craft Room
10
Feb
Tasting Club: Korean Cup Bop
7-8 p.m.
Central Library - Teen Program Room
14
Feb
A Picture is Worth
10-10:45 a.m.
Central Library - Craft Room
18
Feb
Korean Americans in Chicago: Past, Present and Future
6:30-7:30 a.m.
Central Library - Adult Classroom

Visit the Exhibit

From Jan. 4 – Feb. 20, we’re hosting the special exhibit “Exploring Korea through Korean Stamps,” presented by Jin Lee, president of the Keumsil Cultural Society. Korean arts, culture, politics, sports and U.S.-Korea relations are all showcased through stamps issued from 1884 to present. Stop by the Central Library during our regular hours to check out the exhibit.

Book Club in a Bag

We make it easy for you to host your own One Book, One Community book discussion with our Book Club in a Bag. Check one out to receive 10 copies of Pachinko, along with the discussion guide with questions and tips to get your group talking.

DIY Discussions

Host your own One Book, One Community book discussion with family, friends, neighbors or coworkers using our DIY Discussion Guide. The guide includes discussion questions and suggestions to spark rich, engaging conversation about Pachinko.

Get a Summary

We've said it before, we'll say it again: Pachinko is a long book. To help you as you make your way through, we've creating this reading guide, including character listings, a family tree and a plot summary.

Read Alikes

Did you enjoy reading Pachinko? Try some of these similar titles. 

Book River Items

The Japanese Lover (2015)

by Isabel Allende

White Chrysanthemum (2018)

by Mary Lynn Bracht

Ashes of Fiery Weather (2016)

by Kathleen Donohoe

If You Leave Me (2018)

by Crystal Hana Kim

The Kinship of Secrets (2019)

by Eugenia Kim

The Buddha in the Attic (2011)

by Julie Otsuka

The Island of Sea Women (2019)

by Lisa See