Midtown Scholar Bookstore-Cafe
Award-winning Independent Booksellers | Since 2001

Who's in town

An Evening with Linda Kay Klein
Mar
26
7:00 PM19:00

An Evening with Linda Kay Klein

From a woman who has been there and back, the first inside look at the devastating effects evangelical Christianity’s purity culture has had on a generation of young women—in a potent combination of journalism, cultural commentary, and memoir.

9781501124815.jpg

This March, the Midtown Scholar Bookstore is pleased to welcome Linda Kay Klein to Harrisburg as she presents her new book, Pure: Inside the Evangelical Movement That Shamed a Generation of Young Women and How I Broke Free. This event is free and open to the public.

About the Book:

From a woman who has been there and back, the first inside look at the devastating effects evangelical Christianity’s purity culture has had on a generation of young women—in a potent combination of journalism, cultural commentary, and memoir.

In the 1990s, a “purity industry” emerged out of the white evangelical Christian culture. Purity rings, purity pledges, and purity balls came with a dangerous message: girls are potential sexual “stumbling blocks” for boys and men, and any expression of a girl’s sexuality could reflect the corruption of her character. This message traumatized many girls—resulting in anxiety, fear, and experiences that mimicked the symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder—and trapped them in a cycle of shame.

This is the sex education Linda Kay Klein grew up with.

Fearing being marked a Jezebel, Klein broke up with her high school boyfriend because she thought God told her to, and took pregnancy tests though she was a virgin, terrified that any sexual activity would be punished with an out-of-wedlock pregnancy. When the youth pastor of her church was convicted of sexual enticement of a twelve-year-old girl, Klein began to question the purity-based sexual ethic. She contacted young women she knew, asking if they were coping with the same shame-induced issues she was. These intimate conversations developed into a twelve-year quest that took her across the country and into the lives of women raised in similar religious communities—a journey that facilitated her own healing and led her to churches that are seeking a new way to reconcile sexuality and spirituality.

Sexual shame is by no means confined to evangelical culture; Pure is a powerful wake-up call about our society’s subjugation of women.

LindaKayKlein_Leather Jacket 2.jpg

About the Author::

Linda Kay Klein has spent her career working at the cross section of faith, gender, sexuality, and social change. She is the founder of Break Free Together. A Midwesterner at heart, she now lives in New York City with her family.

View Event →
An Evening with Richard Rothstein
Mar
27
7:00 PM19:00

An Evening with Richard Rothstein

The Midtown Scholar is thrilled to welcome Richard Rothstein to our stage to discuss his book, The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America. A book signing will follow discussion. This event is free and open to the public.

About the Book

Untitled-16.jpg

One of Publishers Weekly's 10 Best Books of 2017
Longlisted for the National Book Award

This “powerful and disturbing history” exposes how American governments deliberately imposed racial segregation on metropolitan areas nationwide (New York Times Book Review).

In this groundbreaking history of the modern American metropolis, Richard Rothstein, a leading authority on housing policy, explodes the myth that America’s cities came to be racially divided through de facto segregation―that is, through individual prejudices, income differences, or the actions of private institutions like banks and real estate agencies. Rather, The Color of Law incontrovertibly makes clear that it was de jure segregation―the laws and policy decisions passed by local, state, and federal governments―that actually promoted the discriminatory patterns that continue to this day.

Through extraordinary revelations and extensive research that Ta-Nehisi Coates has lauded as "brilliant" (The Atlantic), Rothstein comes to chronicle nothing less than an untold story that begins in the 1920s, showing how this process of de jure segregation began with explicit racial zoning, as millions of African Americans moved in a great historical migration from the south to the north.

As Jane Jacobs established in her classic The Death and Life of Great American Cities, it was the deeply flawed urban planning of the 1950s that created many of the impoverished neighborhoods we know. Now, Rothstein expands our understanding of this history, showing how government policies led to the creation of officially segregated public housing and the demolition of previously integrated neighborhoods. While urban areas rapidly deteriorated, the great American suburbanization of the post–World War II years was spurred on by federal subsidies for builders on the condition that no homes be sold to African Americans. Finally, Rothstein shows how police and prosecutors brutally upheld these standards by supporting violent resistance to black families in white neighborhoods.

The Fair Housing Act of 1968 prohibited future discrimination but did nothing to reverse residential patterns that had become deeply embedded. Yet recent outbursts of violence in cities like Baltimore, Ferguson, and Minneapolis show us precisely how the legacy of these earlier eras contributes to persistent racial unrest. “The American landscape will never look the same to readers of this important book” (Sherrilyn Ifill, president of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund), as Rothstein’s invaluable examination shows that only by relearning this history can we finally pave the way for the nation to remedy its unconstitutional past.

About the Author

Richard Rothstein is a research associate of the Economic Policy Institute and a Fellow at the Thurgood Marshall Institute of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. He lives in California, where he is a Fellow of the Haas Institute at the University of California–Berkeley.

View Event →
Apr
1
7:00 PM19:00

James Wright: A Life in Poetry

Kick off National Poetry Month at the Scholar! We’re pleased to celebrate the the life and poetry of one of America’s most iconic and influential poets, James Wright.

Joining us for this special evening will be biographer Jonathan Blunk, author of James Wright: A Life in Poetry. He will be joined on-stage by Messiah College Professor Matthew Roth to discuss Wright’s poetry, life, and legacy. There will be a reading of Wright’s poetry to begin the program.

This event is free and open to the public.

9780374178598 (2).jpg

About the Book:

The authorized and sweeping biography of one of America’s most complex, influential, and enduring poets.

In the extraordinary generation of American poets who came of age in the middle of the twentieth century, James Wright (1927–1980) was frequently placed at the top of the list. With a fierce, single-minded devotion to his work, Wright escaped the steel town of his Depression-era childhood in the Ohio valley to become a revered professor of English literature and a Pulitzer Prize winner. But his hometown remained at the heart of his work, and he courted a rough, enduring muse from his vivid memories of the Midwest. A full-throated lyricism and classical poise became his tools, honesty and unwavering compassion his trademark.

Using meticulous research, hundreds of interviews, and Wright’s public readings, Jonathan Blunk’s authorized biography explores the poet’s life and work with exceptional candor, making full use of Wright’s extensive unpublished work―letters, poems, translations, and personal journals. Focusing on the tensions that forced Wright’s poetic breakthroughs and the relationships that plunged him to emotional depths, Blunk provides a spirited portrait, and a fascinating depiction of this turbulent period in American letters.

A gifted translator and mesmerizing reader, Wright appears throughout in all his complex and eloquent urgency. Discerning yet expansive, James Wright will change the way the poet’s work is understood and inspire a new appreciation for his enduring achievement.

Untitled-12.jpg

About the Author:

Jonathan Blunk is a poet, critic, essayist, and radio producer. His work has appeared in The NationPoets & WritersThe Georgia Review, and elsewhere. He was a co-editor of A Wild Perfection, the selected letters of James Wright.

View Event →
An Evening with Robert Crease
Apr
4
7:00 PM19:00

An Evening with Robert Crease

A fascinating look at key thinkers throughout history who have shaped public perception of science and the role of authority.

Workshop and the World.jpg

This April, the Midtown Scholar Bookstore is pleased to welcome philosopher and science historian Robert Crease to Harrisburg as he presents his new book, The Workshop and the World: What Ten Thinkers Can Teach Us About Science and Authority. Book signing to follow discussion. This event is free and open to the public.

About the Book:

When does a scientific discovery become accepted fact? Why have scientific facts become easy to deny? And what can we do about it? In The Workshop and the World, philosopher and science historian Robert P. Crease answers these questions by describing the origins of our scientific infrastructure―the “workshop”―and the role of ten of the world’s greatest thinkers in shaping it. At a time when the Catholic Church assumed total authority, Francis Bacon, Galileo Galilei, and René Descartes were the first to articulate the worldly authority of science, while writers such as Mary Shelley and Auguste Comte told cautionary tales of divorcing science from the humanities. The provocative leaders and thinkers Kemal Atatürk and Hannah Arendt addressed the relationship between the scientific community and the public in in times of deep distrust.

As today’s politicians and government officials increasingly accuse scientists of dishonesty, conspiracy, and even hoaxes, engaged citizens can’t help but wonder how we got to this level of distrust and how we can emerge from it. This book tells dramatic stories of individuals who confronted fierce opposition―and sometimes risked their lives―in describing the proper authority of science, and it examines how ignorance and misuse of science constitute the preeminent threat to human life and culture. An essential, timely exploration of what it means to practice science for the common good as well as the danger of political action divorced from science, The Workshop and the World helps us understand both the origins of our current moment of great anti-science rhetoric and what we can do to help keep the modern world from falling apart.

Crease, Robert P.  (c) Peter Menzel.jpg

About the Author:

Robert P. Crease is the chairman of the philosophy department at Stony Brook University and the author of several books on science, including The Quantum Moment and The Great Equations. He lives in New York City.

View Event →
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. “

Taylor_Embattled_9781469643625_FC.jpg

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.

180627_Amy Murrell Taylor_MM_306975-Edit.jpg

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.

View Event →
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.

Untitled-12.jpg

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.

Alison Dagnes  (1).jpg

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.

View Event →
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

AStranger.jpg

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.

CharlesFergus2.jpg

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

View Event →
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.

Anthony Grooms_The Vain Conversation_cover.jpeg

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.

Anthony Grooms ph Lauren Kress.jpg

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.

View Event →
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.

Separate _978-0-393-23937-9.jpg

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.

Luxenberg, Steve (c) Josh Luxenberg.jpg
View Event →
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.

Presidents_6.jpg

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.

Untitled-16.jpg
Brian Lamb.JPG

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.

View Event →
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:


Egan-Chasing-Cosby.jpg

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.

Nicki Egan credit Steven Goldblatt.jpg

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.

View Event →
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.

LastStoneFINAL (1).jpg

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.

Mark Bowden c Pascal Perich (1).jpg

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.

View Event →
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.

Book Cover - When Kids Rule the School.jpg

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.

Jim Rietmulder head-and-shoulders.jpg

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.

View Event →
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.

we-speak-for-ourselves-9781501187827_hr.jpg

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.

100357243_hr.jpg
View Event →
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.
 

View Event →
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!

Ladysitting 9780393635881 (1).jpg

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.

Lorene Cary.jpg

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.

View Event →

Shawan Rice in Concert
Mar
23
7:00 PM19:00

Shawan Rice in Concert

The Midtown Scholar Bookstore is pleased to welcome Shawan Rice back to Harrisburg for a special performance!

Soul Songstress, Shawan Rice, invites the crowd into her world with her poetic lyrics and haunting melodies. Drawing inspiration from her Life experiences ranging from; Love, Loss, Grief and acceptance, concertgoers easily connect to her sound and story. The vulnerable and transparent nature of her approach to music leaves the listener with an experience like no other.

Shawan Rice.jpg
View Event →
An Evening with Adam Rutherford
Mar
23
5:00 PM17:00

An Evening with Adam Rutherford

The bestselling author of A Brief History of Everyone Who Ever Lived investigates what it means to be human—and animal.

9781615195312.jpg

This March, the Midtown Scholar Bookstore is pleased to welcome Dr. Adam Rutherford to Harrisburg as he presents his new book, Humanimal: How Homo sapiens Became Nature’s Most Paradoxical Creature. This event is free and open to the public.

About the Book:

Evolutionary theory has long established that humans are animals: Modern Homo sapiens are primates who share an ancestor with monkeys and other great apes. Our genome is 98 percent identical to a chimpanzee’s. And yet we think of ourselves as exceptional. Are we?

In this original and entertaining tour of life on Earth, Adam Rutherford explores the profound paradox of the “human animal.” Looking for answers across the animal kingdom, he finds that many things once considered exclusively human are not: In Australia, raptors have been observed starting fires to scatter prey; in Zambia, a chimp named Julie even started a “fashion” of wearing grass in one ear. We aren’t the only species that communicates, makes tools, or has sex for reasons other than procreation. But we have developed a culture far more complex than any other we’ve observed. Why has that happened, and what does it say about us?

Humanimal is a new evolutionary history—a synthesis of the latest research on genetics, sex, migration, and much more. It reveals what unequivocally makes us animals—and also why we are truly extraordinary.

About the Author:

Adam Rutherford, PhD, is a science writer and broadcaster. He studied genetics at University College London, and during his PhD on the developing eye, he was part of a team that identified the first known genetic cause of a form of childhood blindness. His previous books are A Brief History of Everyone Who Ever Lived—finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award in nonfiction—and Creation, which was shortlisted for the Wellcome Book Prize. He writes and presents BBC’s flagship weekly Radio 4 program Inside Science; The Cell for BBC Four; and Playing God (on the rise of synthetic biology) for the leading science series Horizon; in addition to writing for the Guardian.

Adam Rutherford.credit Stefan Jakubowski.jpg
View Event →
An Evening with Sarah St. Vincent and Kimi Grant
Mar
16
5:00 PM17:00

An Evening with Sarah St. Vincent and Kimi Grant

Steeped in the rugged beauty of the Pennsylvania mountains, Sarah St. Vincent and Kimi Grant's new novels take on love, betrayal, loyalty, and redemption.

This March, the Midtown Scholar Bookstore is pleased to welcome novelists Sarah St. Vincent and Kimi Grant to Harrisburg for a reading and conversation on their new novels, Ways to Hide in Winter and Fallen Mountains. This event is free and open to the public. Book signing to follow discussion.

About Ways to Hide in Winter:

In the wintery silences of Pennsylvania’s Blue Ridge Mountains, a woman befriends a mysterious foreigner—setting in motion this suspenseful, atmospheric, politically charged debut

After surviving a life-altering accident at twenty-two, Kathleen recuperates by retreating to a remote campground lodge in a state park, where she works flipping burgers for deer hunters and hikers—happy, she insists, to be left alone.

But when a hesitant, heavily accented stranger appears in the dead of winter—seemingly out of nowhere, kicking snow from his flimsy dress shoes—the wary Kathleen is intrigued, despite herself. He says he’s a student from Uzbekistan. To her he seems shell-shocked, clearly hiding from something that terrifies him. And as she becomes absorbed in his secrets, she’s forced to confront her own—even as her awareness of being in danger grows . . .

Steeped in the rugged beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains, with America’s war on terror raging in the background, Sarah St.Vincent’s Ways to Hide in Winter is a powerful story about violence and redemption, betrayal and empathy . . . and how we reconcile the unforgivable in those we love.

About Fallen Mountains:

When Transom Shultz goes missing shortly after returning to his tightly knit hometown of Fallen Mountains, Pennsylvania, his secrets are not the only ones that threaten to emerge.

Something terrible happened seventeen years ago. Red, the sheriff, is haunted by it. Possum, the victim of that crime, wants revenge. Chase, a former friend of Transom’s, is devastated by his treacherous land dealings. And Laney worries her one thoughtless mistake with Transom could shatter everything she’s built.

As the search for Transom heats up and the inhabitants’ dark and tangled histories unfold, each must decide whether to live under the brutal weight of the past or try to move beyond it. In Fallen Mountains, even loyalty, love, trust, and family can trap you on a path of tragedy.

About Sarah St. Vincent:

Sarah St.Vincent grew up in rural Pennsylvania and attended Swarthmore College, Harvard University, and the University of Michigan Law School. As a human rights attorney, she has advocated for survivors of domestic violence and currently researches national security and surveillance for Human Rights Watch. She lives in New York City.

About Kimi Grant:

Kimi Cunningham Grant is the author of a memoir, Silver Like Dust (Pegasus 2012.) She is a two-time winner of a Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Memorial Prize in Poetry, as well as a Ruth Lilly Poetry Fellowship finalist. She’s also a recipient of a Pennsylvania Council on the Arts fellowship in creative nonfiction. Her essays and poems have appeared in RATTLE, Poet Lore, Tar River Poetry, Apalachee Review, Grasslimb, Whitefish Review, and The Tribe magazine. She studied English at Bucknell University, Messiah College, and Oxford University. You can find her at kimicunninghamgrant.com.

Ways2Hide fin cover.jpg
815yDAW6aXL.jpg
View Event →
Mar
16
10:00 AM10:00

Drag Storytime at the Scholar!

This March, join us for Drag Storytime at the Scholar: Under the Big Top! Hosted by Miss Anita and Betty Whitecastle, we'll be reading from "If I Ran from the Circus" by Dr. Seuss and "The Circus Thief" by Alane Adams.

Special guests include Lizzie Beaumont! Donations will be accepted for Pridefest of Central Pennsylvania.

Come out and enjoy the magic of the Circus!

View Event →
Mar
15
7:00 PM19:00

Third in the Burg with S.R. Frost

The Midtown Scholar Bookstore is pleased to welcome singer-songwriter S.R. Frost to Harrisburg for March’s Third in the Burg! This event is free and open to the public.

HEADSHOT.jpeg

S.R. Frost is a Philly-based singer-songwriter. His debut album, Shrine, is a blend indie-pop and psychedelia performed entirely by S.R. on a cherished tape machine. He recently teamed up with Cheerleader’s Josh Pannepacker to produce a follow-up EP due March 2019. You can find him playing solo or with friends.

View Event →
An Evening with Daniel Stone
Mar
9
5:00 PM17:00

An Evening with Daniel Stone

The true adventures of David Fairchild, a late-nineteenth-century food explorer who traveled the globe and introduced diverse crops like avocados, mangoes, seedless grapes—and thousands more—to the American plate.

9781101990599.jpg

In conjunction with the Millworks, the Midtown Scholar Bookstore is pleased to welcome author Daniel Stone to Harrisburg as he discussed his new book, The Food Explorer: The True Adventures of the Globe-Trotting Botanist Who Transformed What America Eats. Book signing to follow discussion. This event is free and open to the public.

About the Book:

In the nineteenth century, American meals were about subsistence, not enjoyment. But as a new century approached, appetites broadened, and David Fairchild, a young botanist with an insatiable lust to explore and experience the world, set out in search of foods that would enrich the American farmer and enchant the American eater.

Kale from Croatia, mangoes from India, and hops from Bavaria. Peaches from China, avocados from Chile, and pomegranates from Malta. Fairchild’s finds weren’t just limited to food: From Egypt he sent back a variety of cotton that revolutionized an industry, and via Japan he introduced the cherry blossom tree, forever brightening America’s capital. Along the way, he was arrested, caught diseases, and bargained with island tribes. But his culinary ambition came during a formative era, and through him, America transformed into the most diverse food system ever created.

DStone_Headshot.jpg

About the Author:

Daniel Stone is a staff writer for National Geographic and a former White House correspondent for Newsweek and The Daily Beast. A native of Los Angeles, he holds degrees from UC Davis and Johns Hopkins University.

View Event →
Book Launch with Adam Makos
Feb
19
11:00 AM11:00

Book Launch with Adam Makos

Celebrate the book launch for New York Times Bestselling author Adam Makos as he signs copies of his new book, Spearhead: An American Tank Gunner, His Enemy, and a Collision of Lives in World War II. Makos will be joined by the World War II hero of the book, Clarence Smoyer.

This event is free and open to the public.

spearhead-cover.jpg

About the Book:

From the New York Times bestselling author of A Higher Call comes the riveting World War II story of an American tank gunner’s journey into the heart of the Third Reich, where he will meet destiny in an iconic armor duel—and forge an enduring bond with his enemy.

When Clarence Smoyer is assigned to the gunner’s seat of his Sherman tank, his crewmates discover that the gentle giant from Pennsylvania has a hidden talent: He’s a natural-born shooter.

At first, Clarence and his fellow crews in the legendary 3rd Armored Division—“Spearhead”—thought their tanks were invincible. Then they met the German Panther, with a gun so murderous it could shoot through one Sherman and into the next. Soon a pattern emerged: The lead tank always gets hit.

After Clarence sees his friends cut down breaching the West Wall and holding the line in the Battle of the Bulge, he and his crew are given a weapon with the power to avenge their fallen brothers: the Pershing, a state-of-the-art “super tank,” one of twenty in the European theater.

But with it comes a harrowing new responsibility: Now they will spearhead every attack. That’s how Clarence, the corporal from coal country, finds himself leading the U.S. Army into its largest urban battle of the European war, the fight for Cologne, the “Fortress City” of Germany.

Battling through the ruins, Clarence will engage the fearsome Panther in a duel immortalized by an army cameraman. And he will square off with Gustav Schaefer, a teenager behind the trigger in a Panzer IV tank, whose crew has been sent on a suicide mission to stop the Americans.

As Clarence and Gustav trade fire down a long boulevard, they are taken by surprise by a tragic mistake of war. What happens next will haunt Clarence to the modern day, drawing him back to Cologne to do the unthinkable: to face his enemy, one last time.

Adam-Makos-Author-Photo.jpg

About the Author:

Hailed as “a masterful storyteller” by the Associated Press, Adam Makos is the author of the New York Times bestseller A Higher Call and the critically acclaimed Devotion. Inspired by his grandfathers’ service, Makos chronicles the stories of American veterans in his trademark fusion of intense human drama and fast-paced military action, securing his place “in the top ranks of military writers,” according to the Los Angeles Times. In the course of his research, Makos has flown a World War II bomber, accompanied a Special Forces raid in Iraq, and journeyed into North Korea in search of an MIA American airman. He lives in Denver.

View Event →
An Afternoon with Pam Jenoff
Feb
17
4:00 PM16:00

An Afternoon with Pam Jenoff

The Lost Girls of Paris cover FINAL.jpg

The Midtown Scholar is excited to welcome Pam Jenoff to discuss her book, The Lost Girls of Paris, followed by a book signing. This event is free and open to the public.

From the author of the runaway bestseller The Orphan’s Tale comes a remarkable story of friendship and courage centered around three women and a ring of female secret agents during World War II.

1946, Manhattan


One morning while passing through Grand Central Terminal on her way to work, Grace Healey finds an abandoned suitcase tucked beneath a bench. Unable to resist her own curiosity, Grace opens the suitcase, where she discovers a dozen photographs—each of a different woman. In a moment of impulse, Grace takes the photographs and quickly leaves the station.

Grace soon learns that the suitcase belonged to a woman named Eleanor Trigg, leader of a network of female secret agents who were deployed out of London during the war. Twelve of these women were sent to Occupied Europe as couriers and radio operators to aid the resistance, but they never returned home, their fates a mystery. Setting out to learn the truth behind the women in the photographs, Grace finds herself drawn to a young mother turned agent named Marie, whose daring mission overseas reveals a remarkable story of friendship, valor and betrayal.

Vividly rendered and inspired by true events, New York Times bestselling author Pam Jenoff shines a light on the incredible heroics of the brave women of the war and weaves a mesmerizing tale of courage, sisterhood and the great strength of women to survive in the hardest of circumstances.

Pam Jenoff Author Photo credit Mindy Schwartz Sorasky.jpg

Pam Jenoff is the author of several novels, including the international bestseller The Kommandant's Girl, which also earned her a Quill Award nomination. Pam lives with her husband and three children near Philadelphia where, in addition to writing, she teaches law school.

View Event →
An Evening with Ross Gay
Feb
16
5:00 PM17:00

An Evening with Ross Gay

Gay_Book of DelightsA_HC_HR.jpg

The Midtown Scholar is thrilled to welcome Ross Gay to discuss his new book of essay, The Book of Delights, followed by a book signing. This event is free and open to the public.

“Ross Gay’s eye lands upon wonder at every turn, bolstering my belief in the countless small miracles that surround us.” —Tracy K. Smith, Pulitzer Prize winner and U.S. Poet Laureate

The winner of the NBCC Award for Poetry offers up a spirited collection of short lyric essays, written daily over a tumultuous year, reminding us of the purpose and pleasure of praising, extolling, and celebrating ordinary wonders.


Ross Gay’s The Book of Delights is a genre-defying book of essays—some as short as a paragraph; some as long as five pages—that record the small joys that occurred in one year, from birthday to birthday, and that we often overlook in our busy lives. His is a meditation on delight that takes a clear-eyed view of the complexities, even the terrors, in his life, including living in America as a black man; the ecological and psychic violence of our consumer culture; the loss of those he loves. Among Gay’s funny, poetic, philosophical delights: the way Botan Rice Candy wrappers melt in your mouth, the volunteer crossing guard with a pronounced tremor whom he imagines as a kind of boat-woman escorting pedestrians across the River Styx, a friend’s unabashed use of air quotes, pickup basketball games, the silent nod of acknowledgment between black people. And more than any other subject, Gay celebrates the beauty of the natural world—his garden, the flowers in the sidewalk, the birds, the bees, the mushrooms, the trees.

This is not a book of how-to or inspiration, though it could be read that way. Fans of Roxane Gay, Maggie Nelson, and Kiese Laymon will revel in Gay’s voice, and his insights. The Book of Delights is about our connection to the world, to each other, and the rewards that come from a life closely observed. Gay’s pieces serve as a powerful and necessary reminder that we can, and should, stake out a space in our lives for delight. 

Gay, Ross (c) Natasha Komoda.jpg

Ross Gay is the author of three books of poetry, including Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude, winner of the 2015 National Book Critics Circle Award and the 2016 Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award. Catalog was also a finalist for the 2015 National Book Award in Poetry, the Ohioana Book Award, the Balcones Poetry Prize, the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award, and was nominated for an NAACP Image Award. He is a founding editor, with Karissa Chen and Patrick Rosal, of the online sports magazine Some Call It Ballin’ and founding board member of the Bloomington Community Orchard, a nonprofit, free-fruit-for-all food justice and joy project. Gay has received fellowships from the Cave Canem Foundation, the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, and the Guggenheim Foundation. He teaches at Indiana University.

View Event →
Feb
15
7:00 PM19:00

Third in the Burg with Peter Stone

The Midtown Scholar Bookstore is pleased to welcome folk musician Peter Stone to Harrisburg for this month’s Third in the Burg! This event is free and open to the public.

snow-pic.jpg

Born out of the peculiar NorthEast-meets-Midwest-meets-South blend that is Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, Peter Stone has cultivated a unique take on guitar-centric folk music. His intimate, autobiographical songwriting lends itself to a feeling of closeness, drawing in listeners to witness his distinct perspective. He has lived in apartments, vans, tents, hostels, from Boston to Oregon to Los Angeles, picking up a layer of road dust which coats his reflective, balanced take on the American songwriting tradition. His previous band’s musical output has generated over a million streams online, and he has been found sharing the stage with the likes of Guster, Dr. John, Dirty Heads, AJR, and Yoke Lore. He continues to craft emotive, thought provoking songs dealing with war, peace, voyages, love, and loss. He recently returned to central Pennsylvania to write what will become his debut solo album.

View Event →
An Evening with Robbie Tolan
Feb
12
7:00 PM19:00

An Evening with Robbie Tolan

The harrowing true story of Robbie Tolan, a young black man who was shot in the chest by a white police officer . . . in his own driveway.

51fPwgFXTkL._SX329_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg

This February, the Midtown Scholar Bookstore is pleased to welcome Robbie Tolan as he presents his new book, No Justice: One White Police Officer, One Black Family, and How One Bullet Ripped Us Apart. Book signing to follow discussion. This event is free and open to the public.

About the Book:

No Justice is the harrowing story of Robbie Tolan, who early on one New Year's Eve morning, found himself being rushed to the hospital. A white police officer had shot him in the chest after mistakenly accusing him of stealing his own car...while in his own driveway.

In a journey that took nearly a decade, Tolan and his family saw his case go before the United States Supreme Court in a groundbreaking decision, while Tolan struggled with how to put his life back together. Holding him together through this journey was the strength of his mother and father, his faith in God, and an impenetrable belief that he deserved justice like any other American who'd been wronged.

No Justice is the story about what happened after the cameras and social media protests went away. Robbie Tolan was left with the physical and mental devastation from having his body violated by someone who was supposed to serve and protect him. His story reminds us that police brutality is not a theoretical talking point in a larger nationwide argument. This story is about Robbie Tolan courageously picking up the pieces of his life, even as he fights for justice for all.

IMG_3324.JPG

About the Author:

Robbie Tolan has spent the past decade fighting for the rights of black victims seeking justice when dealing with police officers and the judicial system. His law-making case, Tolan v. Cotton, has set the precedent in the way judges are allowed to grant police officers qualified immunity. Since its ruling in 2014, Tolan's case has been cited in and helped thousands of cases involving police brutality. Tolan's foundation, Project 1231, is dedicated to making sure that victims of police brutality get the support they need. He currently lives in Houston.

View Event →
An Afternoon with Deborah and James Fallows
Feb
10
4:00 PM16:00

An Afternoon with Deborah and James Fallows

The Midtown Scholar warmly welcomes Deborah and James Fallows to our stage to discuss their best selling book, Our Towns: A 100,000-Mile Journey into the Heart of America. A book signing will follow discussion. This event is free and open to the public.

Paperback cover art.jpg

About the Book

A vivid, surprising portrait of the civic and economic reinvention taking place in America, town by town and generally out of view of the national media. A realistically positive and provocative view of the country between its coasts. 

For the last five years, James and Deborah Fallows have been traveling across America in a single-engine prop airplane. Visiting dozens of towns, they have met hundreds of civic leaders, workers, immigrants, educators, environmentalists, artists, public servants, librarians, business people, city planners, students, and entrepreneurs to take the pulse and understand the prospects of places that usually draw notice only after a disaster or during a political campaign. 

The America they saw is acutely conscious of its problems—from economic dislocation to the opioid scourge—but itis also crafting solutions, with a practical-minded determination at dramatic odds with the bitter paralysis of national politics. At times of dysfunction on a national level, reform possibilities have often arisen from the local level. The Fallowses describe America in the middle of one of these creative waves. Their view of the country is as complex and contradictory as America itself, but it also reflects the energy, the generosity and compassion, the dreams, and the determination of many who are in the midst of making things better. Our Towns is the story of their journey—and an account of a country busy remaking itself.

About the Authors

636613779490404305--photo-by-Kyle-Chesser-Hands-On-Studio.jpg

JAMES FALLOWS has been a national correspondent for The Atlantic for more than thirty-five years, reporting from China, Japan, Southeast Asia, Europe, and across the United States. He is the author of eleven previous books. His work has also appeared in many other magazines and as public-radio commentaries since the 1980s. He has won a National Book Award and a National Magazine Award. For two years he was President Jimmy Carter’s chief speechwriter.

DEBORAH FALLOWS is a linguist and writer who holds a PhD in theoretical linguistics and is the author of two previous books. She has written for The Atlantic, National Geographic, Slate, The New York Times, and The Washington Monthly, and has worked at the Pew Research Center, Oxygen Media, and Georgetown University. She and her husband have two sons and four grandchildren.

View Event →
An Evening with Kristin O'Brassill-Kulfan
Feb
9
5:00 PM17:00

An Evening with Kristin O'Brassill-Kulfan

smaller.jpg

The Midtown Scholar is pleased to welcome Kristin O’Brassill-Kulfan to discuss her new book, Vagrants and Vagabonds: Poverty and Mobility in the Early American Republic, followed by a book signing. This event is free and open to the public.

The riveting story of control over the mobility of poor migrants, and how their movements shaped current perceptions of class and status in the United States  

Vagrants. Vagabonds. Hoboes. Identified by myriad names, the homeless and geographically mobile have been with us since the earliest periods of recorded history. In the early days of the United States, these poor migrants – consisting of everyone from work-seekers to runaway slaves – populated the roads and streets of major cities and towns. These individuals were a part of a social class whose geographical movements broke settlement laws, penal codes, and welfare policies. This book documents their travels and experiences across the Atlantic world, excavating their life stories from the records of criminal justice systems and relief organizations.  

Vagrants and Vagabonds examines the subsistence activities of the mobile poor, from migration to wage labor to petty theft, and how local and state municipal authorities criminalized these activities, prompting extensive punishment. Kristin O’Brassill-Kulfan examines the intertwined legal constructions, experiences, and responses to these so-called “vagrants,” arguing that we can glean important insights about poverty and class in this period by paying careful attention to mobility. This book charts why and how the itinerant poor were subject to imprisonment and forced migration, and considers the relationship between race and the right to movement and residence in the antebellum US.  Ultimately, Vagrants and Vagabonds argues that poor migrants, the laws designed to curtail their movements, and the people charged with managing them, were central to shaping everything from the role of the state to contemporary conceptions of community to class and labor status, the spread of disease, and punishment in the early American republic. 

portrait smaller.jpg

Kristin O’Brassill-Kulfan is Instructor in the Department of History at Rutgers University.

View Event →