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An Evening with Igor Volsky
May
21
7:00 PM19:00

An Evening with Igor Volsky

Twenty years after Columbine, a leading gun control activist offers a radical argument for the gun control movement our country desperately needs.

This May, the Midtown Scholar Bookstore is pleased to welcome author Igor Volsky to Harrisburg as he presents his new book, Guns Down: How to Defeat the NRA and Build a Safer Future with Fewer Guns. This event is free and open to the public.

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About the Book:

Ninety-six people die from guns in America every single day. Twelve thousand Americans are murdered each year. The United States has more mass shootings, gun suicides, and nonfatal gun injuries than any other industrialized country in the world. Gun-safety advocates have tried to solve these problems with incremental changes such as background checks and banning assault style military weapons. They have fallen short. In order to significantly and permanently reduce gun deaths the United States needs a bold new approach: a drastic reduction of the 390 million guns already in circulation and a new movement dedicated to a future with fewer guns.

In Guns Down, Igor Volsky tells the story of how he took on the NRA just by using his Twitter account, describes how he found common ground with gun enthusiasts after spending two days shooting guns in the desert, and lays out a blueprint for how citizens can push their governments to reduce the number of guns in circulation and make firearms significantly harder to get. An aggressive licensing and registration initiative, federal and state buybacks of millions of guns, and tighter regulation of the gun industry, the gun lobby, and gun sellers will build safer communities for all. Volsky outlines a New Second Amendment Compact developed with policy experts from across the political spectrum, including bold reforms that have succeeded in reducing gun violence worldwide, and offers a road map for achieving transformative change to increase safety in our communities.

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About the Author:

Igor Volsky is the co-founder and executive director of Guns Down America, an organization dedicated to building a future with fewer guns. He made headlines in 2015 for shaming lawmakers who took money from the NRA and sent “thoughts and prayers” after mass shootings. A lively interlocutor, he has appeared on MSNBC, CNN, Fox News, CNBC television, and many radio shows. He lives in Washington, DC.

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An Evening with Lorene Cary
May
22
7:00 PM19:00

An Evening with Lorene Cary

In Ladysitting, Cary captures the ruptures, love, and, perhaps, forgiveness that can occur in a family as she bears witness to her grandmother’s 101 vibrant years of life.

This May, we’re pleased to welcome award-winning author Lorene Cary as she presents her new memoir, Ladysitting: My Year with Nana at the End of Her Century. This event is free and open to the public!

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About the Book:

Lorene Cary’s grandmother moves in, and everything changes: day-to-day life, family relationships, the Nana she knew―even their shared past.

From cherished memories of weekends she spent as a child with her indulgent Nana to the reality of the year she spent “ladysitting” her now frail grandmother, Lorene Cary journeys through stories of their time together and five generations of their African American family. Brilliantly weaving a narrative of her complicated yet transformative relationship with Nana―a fierce, stubborn, and independent woman, who managed a business until she was 100―Cary looks at Nana’s impulse to control people and fate, from the early death of her mother and oppression in the Jim Crow South to living on her own in her New Jersey home.

Cary knew there might be some reckonings to come. Nana was a force: Her obstinacy could come out in unanticipated ways―secretly getting a driver’s license to show up her husband, carrying on a longtime feud with Cary’s father. But Nana could also be devoted: to Nana’s father, to black causes, and―Cary had thought―to her grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Facing the inevitable end raises tensions, with Cary drawing on her spirituality and Nana consoling herself with late-night sweets and the loyalty of caregivers. When Nana doubts Cary’s dedication, Cary must go deeper into understanding this complicated woman.

In Ladysitting, Cary captures the ruptures, love, and, perhaps, forgiveness that can occur in a family as she bears witness to her grandmother’s 101 vibrant years of life.

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About the Author:

Lorene Cary is the author of the memoirs Ladysitting and Black Ice, three novels, including The Price of a Child, and one book for young readers. She founded Art Sanctuary and SafeKidsStories.com, teaches at the University of Pennsylvania, and has written a one-act opera of Ladysitting. She lives in Philadelphia.

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An Evening with William Sanderson | Yes, I'm That Guy
May
28
7:00 PM19:00

An Evening with William Sanderson | Yes, I'm That Guy

From the iconic character actor who starred in such films and shows as Blade Runner, True Blood, Newhart, and DeadwoodI’m That Guy is an indelible rags-to-riches story that demonstrates the power of perseverance and fortitude in overcoming one's struggles.

This May, the Midtown Scholar Bookstore is thrilled to celebrate the launch of Hollywood Actor William Sanderson’s new book, I’m That Guy: The Rough-and-Tumble Life of a Character Actor. Book signing to follow discussion. This event is free and open to the public.

About the Book:

William Sanderson has enjoyed a prosperous career in Hollywood as a highly successful character actor whom everyone seems to recognize - but they aren't always certain from what. Spanning a variety of genres over nearly a half-century performing in TV, film and stage, Sanderson has inhabited such high-profile roles as E.B. Farnum in the HBO western "Deadwood," Sheriff Bud Dearborne in the HBO vampire series "True Blood," Larry in the classic CBS sitcom "Newhart" and J.F. Sebastian in the sci-fi film masterwork "Blade Runner."

Yes, I'm That Guy takes readers behind the scenes of these productions and many more including "Coal Miner's Daughter," "Lonesome Dove," "Lone Wolf McQuade" and "The Client," showcasing Sanderson's knack for making a memorable mark in each of his projects.

As you will learn in his memoir, Sanderson is far more than merely the sum of his characters. His tumultuous rags-to-riches story is instructive in demonstrating the power of perseverance and fortitude in overcoming one's struggles with self-doubt and self-sabotage and - thanks to the love of a good woman - ultimately carving out a positive, contented life.

About the Author:

William Sanderson is a beloved veteran character actor of film and television with a plethora of iconic roles to his credit. He lives in Harrisburg, PA with his wife, Sharon. "Yes, I'm That Guy" is his first book.

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May
30
7:00 PM19:00

Undocumented: An Evening with the Poets Laureate of Pennsylvania

This May, the Midtown Scholar Bookstore and Almost Uptown Poetry Cartel are pleased to welcome the Poets Laureate of Pennsylvania to present their new collection, Undocumented: Great Lakes Poets Laureate on Social Justice.

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Several current and former Poets Laureate will read their work from the collection, including Heather Thomas of Berks County, Sandra Fees of Berks County, Carla Christopher of the City of York, Barbara Buckman Strasko of Lancaster County and Rick Kearns of the City of Harrisburg. Each of these poets is known locally and nationally for their lyrical talents along with their commitment to justice.

About the Book:

Focusing on contemporary issues, Undocumented showcases a large collection of regional poets laureate writing on subjects critical to understanding social justice. Includes writing by seventy-eight poets and organized around themes from the Southern Poverty Law Center’s “Ten Ways to Fight Hate: A Community Response Guide,” this collection calls on readers to act on behalf of victims of social injustice.

Praise:

"Undocumented: Great Lakes Poets Laureate on Social Justice is an inspiring gift of wisdom, grit, and resolve. These celebrated poets have created what Adrienne Rich calls a “cairn of . . . intention.” Radical to the root, this soul-searing collection, sharp as singing knives and hot as fired stones, calls for justice and action: we must learn to heal one another in this precious, broken world".
Lorri Neilsen Glenn, Poet Laureate, 2005–2009, Halifax, Nova Scotia
 
"Riekki and Scarpino’s Undocumented: Great Lakes Poets Laureate on Social Justice speaks to the tangible way in which poets laureate can raise awareness of key social justice areas in the places where they live, work, and write. Its arrival is timely, given the often negative and sometimes apathetic state of our current social and political climate, when poets and writers are even more and more needed to shine light into darker spaces. These poems witness real injustices in our world but still sing with hope. This is the power of good poetry."
Kim Fahner, Poet Laureate, 2016–2018, Sudbury, Ontario
 
" In Undocumented: Great Lakes Poets Laureate on Social Justice, Great Lakes poetry washes our souls from the tiredness of the long roads we crossed and makes our journey worth it. Like water, it flows and, without discrimination, reflects our faces one by one.
Dunya Mikhail, 2001 recipient of the United Nations Human Rights Award for Freedom of Writing"
 
"This unique anthology taps into the poetry of social justice by poets laureate from the Great Lakes region. In selecting specific poems by Great Lakes poets, Riekki and Scarpino connect their work with the larger, important aspects of social justice. The collection is fresh, very timely, and extremely insightful, and serves as a clarion call to our nation."
M. L. Liebler, Poet Laureate, St. Clair Shores, Michigan

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An Evening with Jericho Brown
Jun
4
7:00 PM19:00

An Evening with Jericho Brown

"To read Jericho Brown's poems is to encounter devastating genius." ― Claudia Rankine

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In conjunction with the Bowers Writers House at Elizabethtown College, the Midtown Scholar Bookstore is pleased to welcome Jericho Brown to Harrisburg as he reads from his new poetry collection, The Tradition. This event is free and open to the public.

This reading is made possible through a generous gift from from Helen and Elvin Hurst.

About the Book:

The Tradition details the normalization of evil and its history at the intersection of the past and the personal. Brown’s poetic concerns are both broad and intimate, and at their very core a distillation of the incredibly human: What is safety? Who is this nation? Where does freedom truly lie? Brown makes mythical pastorals to question the terrors to which we’ve become accustomed, and to celebrate how we survive.

Poems of fatherhood, legacy, blackness, queerness, worship, and trauma are propelled into stunning clarity by Brown’s mastery, and his invention of the duplex―a combination of the sonnet, the ghazal, and the blues―is testament to his formal skill. The Tradition is a cutting and necessary collection, relentless in its quest for survival while revelling in a celebration of contradiction.

About the Author:


Jericho Brown worked as the speechwriter for the Mayor of New Orleans before earning his PhD in Creative Writing and Literature from the University of Houston. The recipient of the Whiting Writers Award and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Radcliffe Institute at Harvard University, the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference, and the Krakow Poetry Seminar in Poland. His first book, PLEASE (New Issues), won the American Book Award. His second book, The New Testament, won won the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award and was named one of the best of the year by Library Journal, Coldfront, and the Academy of American Poets; the collection was also nominated for the NAACP award for poetry and made The Believer’s top 5 Books of the Year. Brown is the director of the Creative Writing Program at Emory University and lives in Atlanta, Georgia.

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An Evening with David Epstein
Jun
8
6:00 PM18:00

An Evening with David Epstein

What's the most effective path to success in any domain? It's not what you think.

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This June, the Midtown Scholar Bookstore is pleased to welcome New York Times bestselling author David Epstein to Harrisburg as he presents his new book, Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World.

About the Book:

Plenty of experts argue that anyone who wants to develop a skill, play an instrument, or lead their field should start early, focus intensely, and rack up as many hours of deliberate practice as possible. If you dabble or delay, you'll never catch up to the people who got a head start. But if you take a closer look at the world's top performers, from professional athletes to Nobel laureates, you'll find that early specialization is the exception, not the rule.

David Epstein, author of the New York Times bestseller The Sports Gene, studied the world's most successful athletes, artists, musicians, inventors, forecasters and scientists. He discovered that in most fields--especially those that are complex and unpredictable--generalists, not specialists, are primed to excel. Generalists often find their path late, and they juggle many interests rather than focusing on one. They're also more creative, more agile, and able to make connections their more specialized peers can't spy from deep in their hyperfocused trenches. As experts silo themselves further while computers master more of the skills once reserved for highly focused humans, people who think broadly and embrace diverse experiences and perspectives will increasingly thrive.

Our obsession with getting a head start is understandable; early specialization feels efficient. But Epstein marshals an enormous body of scientific research to argue that we should all actively cultivate inefficiency. Failing a test is the best way to learn. Frequent quitters end up with the most fulfilling careers. The most impactful inventors cross domains rather than deepening their knowledge in a single area. Provocative, rigorous, and engrossing, Range explains how to maintain the benefits of breadth, diverse experience, interdisciplinary thinking, and delayed concentration in a world that increasingly incentivizes, even demands, hyperspecialization.

About the Author:

David Epstein is the author of the New York Times bestseller The Sports Gene. He has master's degrees in environmental science and journalism, and has worked as an investigative reporter for ProPublica and a senior writer for Sports Illustrated. He lives in Washington, DC.

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An Evening with Bernice Hausman
Jun
12
7:00 PM19:00

An Evening with Bernice Hausman

"Deeply thought provoking, Anti/Vax is an excellent book and a surprising intellectual journey into and across the cultural underpinnings of contemporary vaccination skepticism. Bernice Hausman, as author and narrator, is a masterful guide."

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This June, the Midtown Scholar Bookstore is pleased to welcome the Chair of the Department of Humanities at the Penn State College of Medicine Bernice Hausman to Harrisburg as she presents her new book, Anti/Vax: Reframing the Vaccination Controversy. This event is free and open to the public.

About the Book:

Antivaxxers are crazy. That is the perception we all gain from the media, the internet, celebrities, and beyond, writes Bernice Hausman in Anti/Vax, but we need to open our eyes and ears so that we can all have a better conversation about vaccine skepticism and its implications.

Hausman argues that the heated debate about vaccinations and whether to get them or not is most often fueled by accusations and vilifications rather than careful attention to the real concerns of many Americans. She wants to set the record straight about vaccine skepticism and show how the issues and ideas that motivate it―like suspicion of pharmaceutical companies or the belief that some illness is necessary to good health―are commonplace in our society.

Through Anti/Vax, Hausman wants to engage public health officials, the media, and each of us in a public dialogue about the relation of individual bodily autonomy to the state's responsibility to safeguard citizens' health. We need to know more about the position of each side in this important stand-off so that public decisions are made through understanding rather than stereotyped perceptions of scientifically illiterate antivaxxers or faceless bureaucrats. Hausman reveals that vaccine skepticism is, in part, a critique of medicalization and a warning about the dangers of modern medicine rather than a glib and gullible reaction to scaremongering and misunderstanding.

About the Author:

Bernice L. Hausman is Chair of the Department of Humanities at the Penn State College of Medicine in Hershey, Pennsylvania.. She is the author of Viral Mothers, Mother's Milk, and Changing Sex.

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An Evening with Eric Blanc
Jun
13
7:00 PM19:00

An Evening with Eric Blanc

An indispensable window into the changing shape of the American working class and American politics.

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In conjunction with the Harrisburg DSA, the Midtown Scholar Bookstore is pleased to welcome Eric Blanc to Harrisburg as he presents his new book, Red State Revolt: The Teachers' Strike Wave and Working-Class Politics. This event is free and open to the public.

About the Book:

Thirteen months after Trump allegedly captured the allegiance of “the white working class,” a strike wave—the first in over four decades—rocked the United States. Inspired by the wildcat victory in West Virginia, teachers in Oklahoma, Arizona, and across the country walked off their jobs and shut down their schools to demand better pay for educators, more funding for students, and an end to years of austerity.

Confounding all expectations, these working-class rebellions erupted in regions with Republican electorates, weak unions, and bans on public sector strikes. By mobilizing to take their destinies into their own hands, red state school workers posed a clear alternative to politics as usual. And with similar actions now gaining steam in Los Angeles, Oakland, Denver, and Virginia, there is no sign that this upsurge will be short-lived.

Red State Revolt is a compelling analysis of the emergence and development of this historic strike wave, with an eye to extracting its main strategic lessons for educators, labor organizer, and radicals across the country. A former high school teacher and longtime activist, Eric Blanc embedded himself into the rank-and-file leaderships of the walkouts, where he was given access to internal organizing meetings and secret Facebook groups inaccessible to most journalists. The result is one of the richest portraits of the labor movement to date, a story populated with the voices of school workers who are winning the fight for the soul of public education—and redrawing the political map of the country at large.

About the Author:

A former high school teacher, Eric Blanc has covered the strike wave for Jacobin, The Nation, and The Guardian.

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An Evening with Casey Cep
Jun
18
7:00 PM19:00

An Evening with Casey Cep

The stunning story of an Alabama serial killer and the true-crime book that Harper Lee worked on obsessively in the years after To Kill a Mockingbird.

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This June, the Midtown Scholar Bookstore is pleased to welcome author Casey Cep to Harrisburg as she presents her new book, The Furious Hours: Murder, Fraud, and the Last Trial of Harper Lee. This event is free and open to the public:

About the Book:

Reverend Willie Maxwell was a rural preacher accused of murdering five of his family members for insurance money in the 1970s. With the help of a savvy lawyer, he escaped justice for years until a relative shot him dead at the funeral of his last victim. Despite hundreds of witnesses, Maxwell’s murderer was acquitted–thanks to the same attorney who had previously defended the Reverend.

Sitting in the audience during the vigilante’s trial was Harper Lee, who had traveled from New York City to her native Alabama with the idea of writing her own In Cold Blood, the true-crime classic she had helped her friend Truman Capote research seventeen years earlier. Lee spent a year in town reporting, and many more years working on her own version of the case.

Now Casey Cep brings this story to life, from the shocking murders to the courtroom drama to the racial politics of the Deep South. At the same time, she offers a deeply moving portrait of one of the country’s most beloved writers and her struggle with fame, success, and the mystery of artistic creativity.

About the Author:

Casey Cep is a writer from the Eastern Shore of Maryland. After graduating from Harvard with a degree in English, she earned an M.Phil in theology at Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar. Her work has appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times, and The New Republic, among other publications. This is her first book.

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An Evening with Randi Hutter Epstein
Jun
22
6:00 PM18:00

An Evening with Randi Hutter Epstein

A guided tour through the strange science of hormones and the age-old quest to control them.

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This June, the Midtown Scholar Bookstore is pleased to welcome author Randi Hutter Epstein to Harrisburg as she presents her new book, Aroused: The History of Hormones and How They Control Just About Everything. This event is free and open to the public.

About the Book:

A guided tour through the strange science of hormones and the age-old quest to control them.

Metabolism, behavior, sleep, mood swings, the immune system, fighting, fleeing, puberty, and sex: these are just a few of the things our bodies control with hormones. Armed with a healthy dose of wit and curiosity, medical journalist Randi Hutter Epstein takes us on a journey through the unusual history of these potent chemicals from a basement filled with jarred nineteenth-century brains to a twenty-first-century hormone clinic in Los Angeles.

Brimming with fascinating anecdotes, illuminating new medical research, and humorous details, Aroused introduces the leading scientists who made life-changing discoveries about the hormone imbalances that ail us, as well as the charlatans who used those discoveries to peddle false remedies. Epstein exposes the humanity at the heart of hormone science with her rich cast of characters, including a 1920s doctor promoting vasectomies as a way to boost libido, a female medical student who discovered a pregnancy hormone in the 1940s, and a mother who collected pituitaries, a brain gland, from cadavers as a source of growth hormone to treat her son. Along the way, Epstein explores the functions of hormones such as leptin, oxytocin, estrogen, and testosterone, demystifying the science of endocrinology.

A fascinating look at the history and science of some of medicine’s most important discoveries, Aroused reveals the shocking history of hormones through the back rooms, basements, and labs where endocrinology began.

About the Author:

Randi Hutter Epstein, M.D., M.P.H., the author of Aroused and Get Me Out, is an adjunct professor at Columbia University, a lecturer at Yale University, and writer in residence at Yale Medical School. Her writing has appeared in the New York Times and the Psychology Today blog, among others. She lives in New York.

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An Evening with Kim Wehle
Jul
2
7:00 PM19:00

An Evening with Kim Wehle

Essential reading for anyone who cares about maintaining an accountable government and the individual freedoms that the Constitution enshrines for everyone in America—regardless of political party.

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This July, the Midtown Scholar Bookstore is pleased to welcome Kim Wehle to Harrisburg as she presents her new book, How to Read the Constitution -- And Why. Book signing to follow discussion. This event is free and open to the public.

About the Book:

An insightful, urgent, and perennially relevant handbook that lays out in common sense language how the United States Constitution works, and how its protections are eroding before our eyes—essential reading for anyone who wants to understand and parse the constantly breaking news about the backbone of American government.

The Constitution is the most significant document in America. But do you fully understand what this valuable document means to you? In How to Read the Constitution and Why, legal expert and educator Kimberly Wehle spells out in clear, simple, and common sense terms what is in the Constitution, and most importantly, what it means. In compelling terms, she describes how the Constitution’s protections are eroding—not only in express terms but by virtue of the many legal and social norms that no longer shore up its legitimacy—and why every American needs to heed to this “red flag” moment in our democracy.

This invaluable—and timely—resource covers nearly every significant aspect of the Constitution, from the powers of the President and how the three branches of government are designed to hold each other accountable, to what it means to have individual rights—including free speech, the right to bear arms, the right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures, and the right to an abortion. Finally, the book explains why it has never been more important than now for all Americans to know how our Constitution works—and why, if we don’t step in to protect it now, we could lose its protections forever.

About the Author:

Kim Wehle is a tenured Professor of Law at the University of Baltimore School of Law, where she teaches and writes on the constitutional separation of powers, administrative law, and civil procedure. She was formerly an Assistant United States Attorney and an Associate Counsel in the Whitewater Investigation. Professor Wehle is also an On-Air and Off-Air Legal Expert, Analyst and Commentator for CBS News, as well as a Contributor for BBC World News and BBC World News America on PBS, an Op-Ed Contributor for The Bulwark, and an Opinion Contributor for The Hill. She has been a regular guest legal analyst on various media outlets regarding Special Counsel Robert Mueller's probe into Russian influence in the 2016 presidential election and other issues regarding the structural Constitution and the Trump Administration, including on CNN, MSNBC, NPR’s Morning Edition, PBS NewsHour, and Fox News. Her articles have also appeared in the Baltimore Sun, the L.A. Times, and NBC News Think. She is regularly interviewed and cited by prominent print journalists on a range of legal issues. She lives in Chevy Chase, Maryland, with her children.

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An Evening with Catherine Chung
Jul
12
7:00 PM19:00

An Evening with Catherine Chung

An exhilarating novel about a trailblazing mathematician who unearths her own extraordinary family story and its roots in World War II. A recommended book of 2019 from Entertainment Weekly, BuzzFeed, and the Rumpus.

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This July, the Midtown Scholar is pleased to welcome acclaimed novelist Catherine Chung to Harrisburg as she presents and signs copies of her new historical novel, The Tenth Muse. This event is free and open to the public.

About the Book:

From childhood, Katherine knows she is different, and that her parents are not who they seem to be. But in becoming a mathematician, she must face the most human of problems—who is she? What is the cost of love, and what is the cost of ambition?

On her quest to conquer the Riemann Hypothesis, the greatest unsolved mathematical problem of her time, she turns to a theorem with a mysterious history that holds both the lock and key to her identity, and to secrets long buried during World War II in Germany. Forced to confront some of the most consequential events of the twentieth century and rethink everything she knows of herself, she strives to take her place in the world of higher mathematics and finds kinship in the stories of the women who came before her—their love of the language of numbers connecting them across generations.

In The Tenth Muse, Catherine Chung offers a gorgeous, sweeping tale about legacy, identity, and the beautiful ways the mind can make us free.

About the Author:

Catherine Chung is the recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship and a Director's Visitorship at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton. She was a Granta New Voice, and won an Honorable Mention for the PEN/Hemingway Award with her first novel, Forgotten Country, which was a Booklist, Bookpage, and San Francisco Chronicle Best Book of 2012. She has a degree in mathematics from the University of Chicago, and worked at a think tank in Santa Monica before going to Cornell University for her MFA. She has published work in The New York Times and Granta, and is a fiction editor at Guernica Magazine. She lives in New York City.

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An Evening with R.O. Kwon
Aug
3
6:00 PM18:00

An Evening with R.O. Kwon

A powerful, darkly glittering novel of violence, love, faith, and loss, as a young woman at an elite American university is drawn into a cult's acts of terrorism.

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This August, the Midtown Scholar Bookstore is thrilled to welcome R.O. Kwon to Harrisburg as she presents her new novel, The Incendiaries. This event is free and open to the public. Book signing to follow discussion.

About the Book:

Phoebe Lin and Will Kendall meet in their first month at prestigious Edwards University. Phoebe is a glamorous girl who doesn't tell anyone she blames herself for her mother's recent death. Will is a misfit scholarship boy who transfers to Edwards from Bible college, waiting tables to get by. What he knows for sure is that he loves Phoebe.

Grieving and guilt-ridden, Phoebe is drawn into a secretive cult founded by a charismatic former student with an enigmatic past. When the group commits a violent act in the name of faith, Will finds himself struggling to confront a new version of the fanaticism he's worked so hard to escape. Haunting and intense, The Incendiaries is a fractured love story that explores what can befall those who lose what they love most.

About the Author:

R. O. Kwon is a National Endowment for the Arts Literature Fellow. Her writing is published or forthcoming in the New York Times, New York, The Guardian, Vice, Buzzfeed, Time, Noon, Electric Literature, Playboy, and elsewhere. Born in South Korea, she has lived most of her life in the United States.

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How We Resist: An Evening with Michael Long and George Lakey
May
15
7:00 PM19:00

How We Resist: An Evening with Michael Long and George Lakey

From the acclaimed speakers on non-violent resistance — Michael Long and George Lakey visit Harrisburg for a powerful conversation on non-violent resistance, how to gain political power, and successful strategies to achieve real progressive victories.

This May, we’re pleased to welcome authors Michael Long and George Lakey as they discuss their new books, We the Resistance and How We Win. This event is free and open to the public.

About We the Resistance:

While historical accounts of the United States typically focus on the nation's military past, a rich and vibrant counterpoint remains basically unknown to most Americans. This alternate story of the formation of our nation—and its character―is one in which courageous individuals and movements have wielded the weapons of nonviolence to resist policies and practices they considered to be unjust, unfair, and immoral. 

We the Resistance gives curious citizens and current resisters unfiltered access to the hearts and minds―the rational and passionate voices―of their activist predecessors. Beginning with the pre-Revolutionary era and continuing through the present day, readers will directly encounter the voices of protesters sharing instructive stories about their methods (from sit-ins to tree-sitting) and opponents (from Puritans to Wall Street bankers), as well as inspirational stories about their failures (from slave petitions to the fight for the ERA) and successes (from enfranchisement for women to today's reform of police practices). Instruction and inspiration run throughout this captivating reader, generously illustrated with historic graphics and photographs of nonviolent protests throughout U.S. history.

About How We Win:

A lifetime of activist experience informs this playbook for building and conducting nonviolent direct action campaigns

Beginning as a trainer in the civil rights movement of the 1960s, George Lakey has been on the front lines of social change for decades. 

Now, in this timely and down-to-earth guide, he passes the torch to a new generation of activists hitting the streets. He looks to successful campaigns across the world to help us see what has worked and what hasn’t: from choosing the right target, to designing a creative campaign; from avoiding burnout within your group, to building a movement of movements to achieve real progressive victories. 

Drawing on the experiences of a diverse set of ambitious change-makers, How We Win shows us the way to justice, peace, and a sustainable economy. This is what democracy looks like.

About the Authors:

Michael Long is an associate professor of religious studies and peace and conflict studies at Elizabethtown College and is the author or editor of numerous books on civil rights, religion, and politics, including We the Resistance: Documenting A History of Nonviolent Protest in the United StatesJackie Robinson: A Spiritual BiographyPeaceful Neighbor: Discovering the Countercultural Mister RogersGay Is Good: The Life and Letters of Gay Rights Pioneer Franklin KamenyBeyond Home Plate: Jackie Robinson on Life after BaseballMartin Luther King, Jr., Homosexuality, and the Early Gay Rights MovementI Must Resist: Bayard Rustin's Life in LettersMarshalling Justice: The Early Civil Rights Letters of Thurgood MarshallFirst Class Citizenship: The Civil Rights Letters of Jackie RobinsonThe Legacy of Billy GrahamBilly Graham and the Beloved Community; and Against Us, But for Us: Martin Luther King, Jr. and the State. 

George Lakey has been active in direct action campaigns for six decades. Recently retired from Swarthmore College, where he was the Eugene M. Lang Visiting Professor for Issues of Social Change, Lakey was first arrested at a civil rights demonstration in March 1963, and his most recent arrest was March 29, 2018, as a participant in the Power Local Green Jobs Campaign. He lives in Philadelphia.
 

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An Evening with D. Watkins
May
11
6:00 PM18:00

An Evening with D. Watkins

From the row houses of Baltimore to the stoops of Brooklyn, with searing conviction and full compassion — D. Watkins lays bare the voices of the most vulnerable and allows their raw, intimate stories to uncover the systematic injustice threaded within our society.

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This May, the Midtown Scholar Bookstore is thrilled to welcome author D. Watkins to Harrisburg as he presents his new book, We Speak For Ourselves: A Word from Forgotten Black America. This event is free and open to the public.

About the Book:

Honest and eye-opening, We Speak for Ourselves makes us listen, feel, and create a course toward change that starts right where we are.

Watkins introduces you to Down Bottom, the storied community of East Baltimore that holds a mirror to America’s poor black neighborhoods—“hoods” that could just as easily be in Chicago, Detroit, Oakland, or Atlanta. As Watkins sees it, the perspective of people who live in economically disadvantaged black communities is largely absent from the commentary of many top intellectuals who speak and write about race.

Unapologetic and sharp-witted, D. Watkins is here to tell the truth as he has seen it. We Speak for Ourselves offers an in-depth analysis of inner-city hurdles and honors the stories therein. We sit in underfunded schools, walk the blocks burdened with police corruption, stand within an audience of Make America Great Again hats, journey from trap house to university lecture, and rally in neglected streets. And we listen.

Watkins shares the lessons he has learned while navigating through two very distinct worlds—the hood and the elite sanctums of prominent black thinkers and public figures—serving hope to fellow Americans who are too often ignored and calling on others to examine what it means to be a model activist in today’s world. We Speak for Ourselves is a must-read for all who are committed to social change.

About the Author:

D. Watkins is editor-at-large for Salon. He’s also a college professor at the University of Baltimore and founder of the BMORE Writers Project. His work has been published in The New York Times, Guardian, Rolling Stone, and other publications. Watkins is the author of The Cook Up: A Crack Rock Memoir and The Beast Side: Living (and Dying) While Black in America. He lives in East Baltimore.

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May
10
1:30 PM13:30

An Evening with Eric Blanc

An indispensable window into the changing shape of the American working class and American politics.

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In conjunction with the Harrisburg Democratic Socialists of America, the Midtown Scholar Bookstore is pleased to welcome Eric Blanc to Harrisburg as he presents his new book, Red State Revolt: The Teachers' Strike Wave and Working-Class Politics. This event is free and open to the public.

About the Book:

Thirteen months after Trump allegedly captured the allegiance of “the white working class,” a strike wave—the first in over four decades—rocked the United States. Inspired by the wildcat victory in West Virginia, teachers in Oklahoma, Arizona, and across the country walked off their jobs and shut down their schools to demand better pay for educators, more funding for students, and an end to years of austerity.

Confounding all expectations, these working-class rebellions erupted in regions with Republican electorates, weak unions, and bans on public sector strikes. By mobilizing to take their destinies into their own hands, red state school workers posed a clear alternative to politics as usual. And with similar actions now gaining steam in Los Angeles, Oakland, Denver, and Virginia, there is no sign that this upsurge will be short-lived.

Red State Revolt is a compelling analysis of the emergence and development of this historic strike wave, with an eye to extracting its main strategic lessons for educators, labor organizer, and radicals across the country. A former high school teacher and longtime activist, Eric Blanc embedded himself into the rank-and-file leaderships of the walkouts, where he was given access to internal organizing meetings and secret Facebook groups inaccessible to most journalists. The result is one of the richest portraits of the labor movement to date, a story populated with the voices of school workers who are winning the fight for the soul of public education—and redrawing the political map of the country at large.

About the Author:

A former high school teacher, Eric Blanc has covered the strike wave for Jacobin, The Nation, and The Guardian.

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An Evening with Jim Rietmulder
May
7
7:00 PM19:00

An Evening with Jim Rietmulder

From the Founding Educator of The Circle School in Harrisburg — When Kids Rule the School is the first comprehensive guide to democratic schooling, where kids practice life in a self-governed society—empowered as voters, bound by laws, challenged by choice, supported by community, and driven by nature.

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This May, we’re pleased to welcome educator and author Jim Rietmulder to Harrisburg as he presents his new book, When Kids Rule the School The Power and Promise of Democratic Education. This event is free and open to the public!

About the Book:

Education is ripe for democratic disruption. Students in most schools are denied fundamental social ideals such as personal freedom, public government, rule of law, and free enterprise. In our increasingly authoritarian post-truth world, self-directed democratic schooling offers a timely alternative: educating children in civilized society and showing that self-motivation outperforms coercion in its power to educate and fulfill.

When Kids Rule the School is the first comprehensive guide to democratic schooling, where kids practice life in a self-governed society—empowered as voters, bound by laws, challenged by choice, supported by community, and driven by nature. Through heartwarming stories and hard-headed details, this book covers:

  • Democratic schooling philosophy, theory, and practice

  • School governance by students and staff together

  • Student self-direction and day-to-day life

  • Deep play, cognitive development, and critical thinking

  • Why democratic schooling is morally right and effective

  • Model bylaws and guidance for starting a democratic school.

Created for educators, parents, and scholars, When Kids Rule the School will immerse you, heart and mind, in a promising new approach to education, and stretch your thinking about what school can be.

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About the Author:

James Rietmulder is a founding staff member and educator at The Circle School in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, a pioneering democratic school, where he has worked for 34 years. With his support, students at The Circle School practice freedom and responsibility in a scaled-down version of the larger world, becoming experts at life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness. Jim also tutors students to take college entrance exams, plays mixed-age soccer at every opportunity, and anchors the daily Critical Thinking Discussion Group. Prior to, and overlapping with, The Circle School's early years, Jim was a history magazine editor, business analyst, independent software developer, and management consultant to manufacturers. Jim is married to co-founder Beth L. Stone and is the father of two Circle School graduates. He lives in Lewisberry, Pennsylvania.

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An Evening with Mark Bowden
May
4
6:00 PM18:00

An Evening with Mark Bowden

From the New York Times bestselling author of Black Hawk Down — a chilling and unprecedented look inside a disturbing criminal mind.

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This May, bestselling author Mark Bowden visits Harrisburg to discuss his new book of true crime, The Last Stone: A Masterpiece of Criminal Interrogation. This event is free and open to the public. Book signing to follow discussion.

On March 29, 1975, sisters Katherine and Sheila Lyons, age 10 and 12, vanished from a shopping mall in suburban Washington, D.C. As shock spread, then grief, a massive police effort found nothing. The investigation was shelved, and mystery endured. Then, in 2013, a cold case squad detective found something he and a generation of detectives had missed. It pointed them toward a man named Lloyd Welch, then serving time for child molestation in Delaware.

As a cub reporter for a Baltimore newspaper, Mark Bowden covered the frantic first weeks of the story. In The Last Stone, he returns to write its ending. Over months of intense questioning and extensive investigation of Welch’s sprawling, sinister Appalachian clan, five skilled detectives learned to sift truth from determined lies. How do you get a compulsive liar with every reason in the world to lie to tell the truth? The Last Stone recounts a masterpiece of criminal interrogation, and delivers a chilling and unprecedented look inside a disturbing criminal mind.

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About the Author:

Mark Bowden is the author of thirteen books, including the #1 New York Times bestseller Black Hawk Down. He reported at the Philadelphia Inquirer for twenty years and now writes for the AtlanticVanity Fair, and other magazines. He is also the writer in residence at the University of Delaware. His most recent book is Hue 1968: A Turning Point of the American War in Vietnam.

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An Evening with Nicole Weisensee Egan
May
2
7:00 PM19:00

An Evening with Nicole Weisensee Egan

The definitive account of Bill Cosby's transition from revered father figure to convicted criminal, told by a veteran crime reporter and senior writer for People magazine.


Sponsored by:


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In conjunction with the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape, the Midtown Scholar Bookstore is pleased to welcome Nicole Weinsensee Egan to Harrisburg as she discusses her new book, Chasing Cosby. This event is free and open to the public. Book signing to follow discussion.

About the Book:

Bill Cosby's decades-long career as a sweater-wearing, wholesome TV dad came to a swift and stunning end on April 26, 2018, when he was convicted of drugging and sexually assaulting Andrea Constand. The mounting allegations against Bill Cosby--more than 60 women have come forward to accuse him of similar crimes--and his ultimate conviction were a shock to Americans, who wanted to cleave to their image of Cosby as a pudding-pop hero. 

Award-winning journalist and former People magazine senior writer Nicki Weisensee Egan was the first reporter to dig into the story when Constand went to the police in 2005. Other news organizations looked away, but Egan doggedly investigated the case, developing ties with entrenched sources and discovering incriminating details that would ultimately come to influence the prosecution.

In her debut book, Chasing Cosby, Egan shares her firsthand account of Cosby's 13-year run from justice. She tells us how Cosby planned and executed his crimes, and how Hollywood alliances and law enforcement knew what Cosby was doing but did nothing to stop him. A veteran crime reporter, Egan also explores the cultural and social issues that influenced the case, delving into the psychological calculations of a serial predator and into the psyche of a nation that fervently wanted to put their faith in the innocence of "American's Dad."

Rich in character and rife with dramatic revelations about popular culture, media power, and our criminal system, Egan's account will inform and fascinate readers with its candid telling of humanity's most enduring tale: the rise and fall of a cultural icon.

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About the Author:

Nicole Weisensee Egan has been the lead investigative journalist reporting on the Cosby case since 2005, first for the Philadelphia Daily News and then as a Senior Writer for PEOPLE magazine. She covered the second trial for The Daily Beast and is and is already working on her second book. Egan continues to report and write, and she also teaches magazine writing at Temple University. She lives in Royersford, PA.

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The Presidents: An Afternoon with Brian Lamb and Susan Swain
Apr
28
4:00 PM16:00

The Presidents: An Afternoon with Brian Lamb and Susan Swain

The complete rankings of our best -- and worst -- presidents, based on C-SPAN's much-cited Historians Surveys of Presidential Leadership.

This April, we’re thrilled to welcome C-SPAN Chairman Brian Lamb and CEO Susan Swain to Harrisburg as they discuss their new book, The Presidents: Noted Historians Rank America's Best--and Worst--Chief Executives. WITF’s Scott LaMar will moderate the discussion. This event is free and open to the public — book signing to follow.

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Over a period of decades, C-SPAN has surveyed leading historians on the best and worst of America's presidents across a variety of categories -- their ability to persuade the public, their leadership skills, the moral authority, and more. The crucible of the presidency has forged some of the very best and very worst leaders in our national history, along with much in between.
Based on interviews conducted over the years with a variety of presidential biographers, this book provides not just a complete ranking of our presidents, but stories and analyses that capture the character of the men who held the office. From Abraham Lincoln's political savvy and rhetorical gifts to James Buchanan's indecisiveness, this book teaches much about what makes a great leader--and what does not.

As America looks ahead to our next election, this book offers perspective and criteria that may help us choose our next leader wisely.

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About the Authors:

Susan Swain has been interviewing Washington notables for three decades, sitting down with presidents and first ladies, members of Congress, Supreme Court justices, historians, and political journalists. She integrates this with her management role – since 2012, she's also served as co-CEO of the public affairs cable network.

She and C-SPAN founder Brian Lamb have collaborated on nine books, published by PublicAffairs. Their latest, published in spring 2019, is "The Presidents: Noted Historians on America's Best -- and Worst-- Chief Executives." Susan edits Brian Lamb's interviews with the country's top presidential historians into lively essays that provide snapshots into life events that have shaped our leaders, political challenges they faced, and the legacies they left behind. The book's unique twist -- it's organized by C-SPAN's often cited Historians' Survey of Presidential Leadership. 

Some of Swain and Lamb's past titles include ""The Supreme Court," and "Abraham Lincoln." And in 2015, Susan produced "First Ladies," following a year-long biography series she hosted for C-SPAN on the lives of every presidential spouse.

"The Presidents" has already been chosen by the History Book Club as a featured title for April 2019.

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Apr
27
8:00 AM08:00

Independent Bookstore Day!

Celebrate Independent Bookstore Day at the Midtown Scholar! As a proud participant with over 500 independent bookstores across the country in this one-day national event, we’ll have family fun activities, special book giveaways, blind-date-with-a-book, exclusive sales and merchandise, and a special book signing with one of our favorite local writers. See below for all the details!

10:00am: Celebrity Storytime with WGAL8 News Anchor Tosin Fakile!

10:30am: Special Performance from the Popcorn Hat Players of Gamut Theater!

1:00pm | Book Signing with Paul Hood | The Time of Their Lives in London

Why Celebrate Independent Bookstore Day at the Scholar?

Independent bookstores are not just stores, they’re community centers and local anchors run by passionate readers. They are entire universes of ideas that contain the possibility of real serendipity. They are lively performance spaces and quiet places where aimless perusal is a day well spent.

In a world of tweets and algorithms and pageless digital downloads, bookstores are not a dying anachronism. They are living, breathing organisms that continue to grow and expand. In fact, there are more of them this year than there were last year. And they are at your service.

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An Evening with Steve Luxenberg
Apr
24
7:00 PM19:00

An Evening with Steve Luxenberg

A surprising, compelling, and brilliant milestone in understanding the history of race relations in America.

This April, the Midtown Scholar Bookstore is pleased to welcome Steve Luxenberg to Harrisburg as he presents his new book, Separate: The Story of Plessy v. Ferguson, and America's Journey from Slavery to Segregation. Luxenberg will be in conversation with Harrisburg's own, Harvey Freedenberg. This event is free and open to the public.

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About the Book:

A myth-shattering narrative of how a nation embraced "separation" and its pernicious consequences.

Plessy v. Ferguson, the Supreme Court case synonymous with “separate but equal,” created remarkably little stir when the justices announced their near-unanimous decision on May 18, 1896. Yet it is one of the most compelling and dramatic stories of the nineteenth century, whose outcome embraced and protected segregation, and whose reverberations are still felt into the twenty-first.

Separate spans a striking range of characters and landscapes, bound together by the defining issue of their time and ours―race and equality. Wending its way through a half-century of American history, the narrative begins at the dawn of the railroad age, in the North, home to the nation’s first separate railroad car, then moves briskly through slavery and the Civil War to Reconstruction and its aftermath, as separation took root in nearly every aspect of American life.

Award-winning author Steve Luxenberg draws from letters, diaries, and archival collections to tell the story of Plessy v. Ferguson through the eyes of the people caught up in the case. Separate depicts indelible figures such as the resisters from the mixed-race community of French New Orleans, led by Louis Martinet, a lawyer and crusading newspaper editor; Homer Plessy’s lawyer, Albion Tourgée, a best-selling author and the country’s best-known white advocate for civil rights; Justice Henry Billings Brown, from antislavery New England, whose majority ruling endorsed separation; and Justice John Harlan, the Southerner from a slaveholding family whose singular dissent cemented his reputation as a steadfast voice for justice.

Sweeping, swiftly paced, and richly detailed, Separate provides a fresh and urgently-needed exploration of our nation’s most devastating divide.

About the Author:

Steve Luxenberg is the author of Separate: The Story of Plessy v. Ferguson, and America's Journey from Slavery to Segregation and the critically acclaimed Annie’s Ghosts: A Journey into a Family Secret. During his thirty years as a Washington Post senior editor, he has overseen reporting that has earned numerous national honors, including two Pulitzer Prizes. Separate won the J. Anthony Lukas Work-in-Progress Award. He lives in Baltimore, Maryland.

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Third in the Burg with Shine Delphi
Apr
19
7:00 PM19:00

Third in the Burg with Shine Delphi

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The Midtown Scholar Bookstore is pleased to welcome Shine Delphi to Harrisburg for April's Third in the Burg!

This event is free and open to the public.

About the Artist:

Shine Delphi travels this world with a resonator guitar and a few words to share. Born in Pennsylvania, raised in California, and rebirthed in the crescent city of New Orleans. Shine is a performer that will leave you feeling good and wanting more. From his technical ability on the guitar to his simple yet touching lyrics, he is an act that spans many genres and all ages. He has opened for such bands as The Carolina Chocolate drops, Reverend Peyton's big damn band, and The Tony Rice unit just to name a few.

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An Evening with Anthony Grooms
Apr
17
7:00 PM19:00

An Evening with Anthony Grooms

Inspired by true events, The Vain Conversation reflects on the 1946 lynching of two black couples in Georgia.

The Midtown Scholar Bookstore is pleased to welcome author Anthony Grooms to Harrisburg as he discusses his new novel, The Vain Conversation. Book signing to follow discussion. This event is free and open to the public.

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About the Book:

Inspired by true events, The Vain Conversation reflects on the 1946 lynching of two black couples in Georgia from the perspectives of three characters―Bertrand Johnson, one of the victims; Noland Jacks, a presumed perpetrator; and Lonnie Henson, a witness to the murders as a ten-year-old boy. Lonnie's inexplicable feelings of culpability drive him in a search for meaning that takes him around the world, and ultimately back to Georgia, where he must confront Jacks and his own demons, with the hopes that doing so will free him from the grip of the past.

In The Vain Conversation, Anthony Grooms seeks to advance the national dialogue on race relations. With complexity, satire, and sometimes levity, he explores what it means to redeem, as well as to be redeemed, on the issues of America's race violence and speaks to the broader issues of oppression and violence everywhere.

A foreword is provided by American poet, painter, and novelist Clarence Major. An afterward is written by T. Geronimo Johnson, the bestselling author of Welcome to Braggsville and Hold It 'Til It Hurts.

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About the Author:

Anthony Grooms is the author of Bombingham: A Novel and Trouble No More: Stories, both winners of the Lillian Smith Book Award for fiction. Born in Charlottesville, Virginia, he has taught writing and American literature at universities in Ghana and Sweden, and since 1994, at Kennesaw State University in Georgia.

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An Evening with Charles Fergus
Apr
15
7:00 PM19:00

An Evening with Charles Fergus

“A Stranger Here Below marries richly textured historical fiction with the urgency of a mystery novel. Fergus knows certain things, deep in the bone: horses, hunting, the folkways of rural places, and he weaves this wisdom into a stirring tale.” — Geraldine Brooks

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This April, the Midtown Scholar Bookstore is pleased to welcome author Charles Fergus as he presents his new novel, A Stranger Here Below. Book signing to follow discussion. This event is free and open to the public.

About the Book:

For fans of C.J. Box's Joe Pickett series, a fabulous historical mystery series set in early America. 

Set in 1835 in the Pennsylvania town of Adamant, Fergus’s first novel in a new mystery series introduces Sheriff Gideon Stoltz, who, as a young deputy, is thrust into his position by the death of the previous sheriff. Gideon faces his first real challenge as death rocks the small town again when the respected judge Hiram Biddle commits suicide. No one is more distraught than Gideon, whom the old judge had befriended as a mentor and hunting partner. Gideon is regarded with suspicion as an outsider: he’s new to town, and Pennsylvania Dutch in the back-country Scotch-Irish settlement. And he found the judge’s body. 

Making things even tougher is the way the judge’s death stirs up vivid memories of Gideon’s mother’s murder, the trauma that drove him west from his home in the settled Dutch country of eastern Pennsylvania. He had also discovered her body. 

At first Gideon simply wants to learn why Judge Biddle killed himself. But as he finds out more about the judge’s past, he realizes that his friend's suicide was spurred by much more than the man’s despair. Gideon’s quest soon becomes more complex as it takes him down a dangerous path into the past.

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About the Author:

Charles Fergus is the author of seventeen books. The book review editor for Shooting Sportsman magazine, he has written for publications as various as Pennsylvania Game News,Audubon , Country Journal , Gray’s Sporting Journal , Yale Review , and the New York Times . A Stranger Here Below, his first mystery, is influenced by the personal tragedy of his own mother's murder. Fergus lives in Vermont's Northeast Kingdom with his wife, the writer Nancy Marie Brown, and four Icelandic horses. http://www.charlesfergus.com

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An Evening with Alison Dagnes
Apr
13
6:00 PM18:00

An Evening with Alison Dagnes

Based on extensive interviews with leading media figures and politicos, this book traces the development of the media machine, giving suggestions on how to restore our national dialogue while defending our right to disagree agreeably.

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This April, we’re pleased to welcome Political Scientist Alison Dagnes to Harrisburg as she presents her new book, Super Mad at Everything All the Time: Political Media and Our National Anger.

This event is free and open to the public!

About the Book:

Super Mad at Everything All the Time explores the polarization of American politics through the collapse of the space between politics and culture, as bolstered by omnipresent media. It seeks to explain this perfect storm of money, technology, and partisanship that has created two entirely separate news spheres: a small, enclosed circle for the right wing and a sprawling expanse for everyone else. This leads to two sets of facts, two narratives, and two loudly divergent political sides with extraordinary anger all around. Based on extensive interviews with leading media figures and politicos, this book traces the development of the media machine, giving suggestions on how to restore our national dialogue while defending our right to disagree agreeably.

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About the Author:

Alison Dagnes is a professor of Political Science at Shippensburg University in Pennsylvania. She is the author of several books on political media and has also edited two books on political scandal, a topic that continues to keep her busy. She is interviewed frequently in the national media and gives public talks on political behavior. Prior to receiving her doctorate in Political Science from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, Dr. Dagnes was a producer for C-SPAN in Washington, DC.

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An Evening with Amy Murrell Taylor
Apr
6
6:00 PM18:00

An Evening with Amy Murrell Taylor

“Without doubt, this book is the starting point for anyone interested in the saga and often tragedy that befell hundreds of thousands of men, women, and children in the wartime transition from slavery to freedom. “

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This April, the Midtown Scholar Bookstore is pleased to welcome Amy Murrell Taylor to Harrisburg as she presents her new book, Embattled Freedom: Journeys through the Civil War’s Slave Refugee Camps. Book signing to follow presentation.

This event is free and open to the public.

About the Book:

The Civil War was just days old when the first enslaved men, women, and children began fleeing their plantations to seek refuge inside the lines of the Union army as it moved deep into the heart of the Confederacy. In the years that followed, hundreds of thousands more followed in a mass exodus from slavery that would destroy the system once and for all. Drawing on an extraordinary survey of slave refugee camps throughout the country, Embattled Freedom reveals as never before the everyday experiences of these refugees from slavery as they made their way through the vast landscape of army-supervised camps that emerged during the war. Amy Murrell Taylor vividly reconstructs the human world of wartime emancipation, taking readers inside military-issued tents and makeshift towns, through commissary warehouses and active combat, and into the realities of individuals and families struggling to survive physically as well as spiritually. Narrating their journeys in and out of the confines of the camps, Taylor shows in often gripping detail how the most basic necessities of life were elemental to a former slave's quest for freedom and full citizenship.

The stories of individuals--storekeepers, a laundress, and a minister among them--anchor this ambitious and wide-ranging history and demonstrate with new clarity how contingent the slaves' pursuit of freedom was on the rhythms and culture of military life. Taylor brings new insight into the enormous risks taken by formerly enslaved people to find freedom in the midst of the nation's most destructive war.

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About the Author:

Amy Murrell Taylor is associate professor of history at the University of Kentucky and author of The Divided Family in Civil War America.

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