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

Who's in town

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.

Aroused_978-0-393-35708-0.jpg

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.

Epstein, Hutter Randi (c) Nina Subin.jpg
View Event →
Jun
26
7:00 PM19:00

Book Launch with Joel Burcat

Set in Harrisburg, this debut environmental legal thriller traces the suspicious deaths of two teenagers after swimming in the Susquehanna River.

51VxH5dtFPL.SX316.SY316.jpg

This June, we're thrilled to celebrate the book launch of Joel Burcat's debut novel, Drink to Every Beast. Burcat will be in conversation with Harvey Freedenberg. Light refreshments will be provided. Book signing to follow discussion. This event is free and open to the public.

About the Book:

In this romantically-charged environmental legal thriller, two teenagers die after swimming through chemicals illegally dumped into the Susquehanna River. Mike Jacobs, a young environmental prosecutor for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, is assigned his first big case and must find, and stop the dumpers. Mike's alluring new friend Sherry Stein, an ambitious young Deputy Attorney General, is investigating the man running against the Governor. Another of Mike's friends, Patty Dixon, 'the girl next door,' is his mother's nurse and Mike wonders whether she is being blackmailed. Their lives intersect. Danger strikes--who will die? Will Mike discover the treachery before the midnight dumper kills again?

About the Author:

Joel Burcat is an environmental and energy lawyer. This is his debut novel and he has a number of published short stories. He was selected as the 2019 Lawyer of the Year in Environmental Litigation (for Central PA) by Best Lawyers in America. He has been designated by both "Super Lawyers" and "Best Lawyers" for environmental and oil and gas law. Also, he was selected by the Pa. Bar Association as a recipient of its annual award in environmental law plus other awards as an environmental and energy lawyer. In addition to his law practice, he has edited two works on environmental and energy law and has written numerous professional articles on environmental law. He lives in Harrisburg, PA with his wife, Gail. They have two grown daughters, a son-in-law and granddaughter.

View Event →
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.

Constitution final cover.jpg

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.

Kimberly Wehle photo credit Tim Coburn Photography.JPG
View Event →
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.

TenthMuse hc c.JPG

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.

Catherine Chung Credit David Noles - Alt 1.jpg
View Event →
An Evening with Steven Waldman
Jul
20
6:00 PM18:00

An Evening with Steven Waldman

A dramatic, sweeping survey of how America built a unique model of religious freedom.

x510.jpg

This July, the Midtown Scholar Bookstore is pleased to welcome author Steven Waldman to Harrisburg as he presents his new book, Sacred Liberty: America's Long, Bloody, and Ongoing Struggle for Religious Freedom. This event is free and open to the public. Book signing to follow presentation.

About the Book:

Sacred Liberty offers a dramatic, sweeping survey of how America built a unique model of religious freedom, perhaps the nation’s “greatest invention.” Steven Waldman, the bestselling author of Founding Faith, shows how early ideas about religious liberty were tested and refined amidst the brutal persecution of Catholics, Baptists, Mormons, Quakers, African slaves, Native Americans, Muslims, Jews and Jehovah’s Witnesses.

American leaders drove religious freedom forward--figures like James Madison, George Washington, the World War II presidents (Roosevelt, Truman, and Eisenhower) and even George W. Bush. But the biggest heroes were the regular Americans – people like Mary Dyer, Marie Barnett and W.D. Mohammed -- who risked their lives or reputations by demanding to practice their faiths freely.

Just as the documentary Eyes on the Prize captured the rich drama of the civil rights movement, Sacred Liberty brings to life the remarkable story of how America became one of the few nations in world history that has religious freedom, diversity and high levels of piety at the same time. Finally, Sacred Liberty provides a roadmap for how, in the face of modern threats to religious freedom, this great achievement can be preserved.

About the Author:

STEVEN WALDMAN is the national bestselling author of Founding Faith and the co-founder of Beliefnet, the award-winning multifaith website. He is now co-founder and President of Report for America, a national service program that places talented journalists into local newsrooms. His writings have also appeared in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Washington Post, Newsweek, National Review, Christianity Today, The Atlantic, First Things, The Washington Monthly, Slate, The New Republic and others. He lives in Brooklyn with his wife, Amy Cunningham.

View Event →
Jul
28
4:00 PM16:00

An Afternoon with Hazel Gaynor and Heather Webb

Set in the 1950s against the backdrop of Grace Kelly’s whirlwind romance and unforgettable wedding to Prince Rainier of Monaco, New York Times bestselling author Hazel Gaynor and Heather Webb take the reader on an evocative sun-drenched journey along the Côte d’Azur in this page-turning novel of passion, fate and second chances.

download (1).jpeg

This July, join bestselling authors Hazel Gaynor and Heather Webb as they discuss their new novel of historical fiction, Meet Me in Monaco. This event is free and open to the public. Book signing to follow discussion.

About the Book:

Movie stars and paparazzi flock to Cannes for the glamorous film festival, but Grace Kelly, the biggest star of all, wants only to escape from the flash-bulbs. When struggling perfumer Sophie Duval shelters Miss Kelly in her boutique to fend off a persistent British press photographer, James Henderson, a bond is forged between the two women and sets in motion a chain of events that stretches across thirty years of friendship, love, and tragedy.

James Henderson cannot forget his brief encounter with Sophie Duval. Despite his guilt at being away from his daughter, he takes an assignment to cover the wedding of the century, sailing with Grace Kelly’s wedding party on the SS Constitution from New York. In Monaco, as wedding fever soars and passions and tempers escalate, James and Sophie—like Princess Grace—must ultimately decide what they are prepared to give up for love.

About the Authors:

Hazel Gaynor is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of A Memory of Violets and The Girl Who Came Home, for which she received the 2015 RNA Historical Novel of the Year award. Her third novel, The Girl from the Savoy, was an Irish Times and Globe & Mail Canada bestseller, and was shortlisted for the BGE Irish Book Awards Popular Fiction Book of the Year. In 2017, she has published The Cottingley Secret and Last Christmas in Paris. Hazel was selected by US Library Journal as one of 'Ten Big Breakout Authors' for 2015 and her work has been translated into several languages. Hazel lives in Ireland with her husband and two children.

Heather Webb is the award-winning and international bestselling author of historical novels Becoming Josephine, Rodin’s Lover, The Phantom’s Apprentice, and Last Christmas in Paris: A Novel of WWI. In 2015, Rodin’s Lover was a Goodread’s Top Pick, and in 2017, Last Christmas in Paris became a Globe & Mail Bestseller and also won the 2018 Women’s Fiction Writers Association STAR Award. To date, Heather’s books have sold in multiple countries worldwide, received national starred reviews, and have been featured in print media including the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Entertainment Weekly, Cosmopolitan, Elle, France Magazine, and more.

View Event →
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.

The Incendiaries paperback.jpg

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.

Kwon official headshot - Smeeta Mahanti.jpg
View Event →
An Evening with Charles King
Aug
13
7:00 PM19:00

An Evening with Charles King

“A page-turning narrative of radical ideas and adventurous lives, a history rich in scandal, romance, and rivalry, and a genesis story of the fluid conceptions of identity that define our present moment. “

9780385542197.jpg

This August, the Midtown Scholar Bookstore is pleased to welcome award-winning author Charles King to Harrisburg as he presents his new book, Gods of the Upper Air: How a Circle of Renegade Anthropologists Reinvented Race, Sex, and Gender in the Twentieth Century. This event is free and open to the public.

About the Book:

A dazzling group portrait of Franz Boas, the founder of cultural anthropology, and his circle of women scientists, who upended American notions of race, gender, and sexuality in the 1920s and 1930s--a sweeping chronicle of how our society began to question the basic ways we understand other cultures and ourselves.

At the end of the 19th century, everyone knew that people were defined by their race and sex and were fated by birth and biology to be more or less intelligent, able, nurturing, or warlike. But one rogue researcher looked at the data and decided everyone was wrong. Franz Boas was the very image of a mad scientist: a wild-haired immigrant with a thick German accent. By the 1920s he was also the foundational thinker and public face of a new school of thought at Columbia University called cultural anthropology. He proposed that cultures did not exist on a continuum from primitive to advanced. Instead, every society solves the same basic problems--from childrearing to how to live well--with its own set of rules, beliefs, and taboos.

Boas's students were some of the century's intellectual stars: Margaret Mead, the outspoken field researcher whose Coming of Age in Samoa is one of the most widely read works of social science of all time; Ruth Benedict, the great love of Mead's life, whose research shaped post-Second World War Japan; Ella Deloria, the Dakota Sioux activist who preserved the traditions of Native Americans of the Great Plains; and Zora Neale Hurston, whose studies under Boas fed directly into her now-classic novel, Their Eyes Were Watching God. Together, they mapped vanishing civilizations from the Arctic to the South Pacific and overturned the relationship between biology and behavior. Their work reshaped how we think of women and men, normalcy and deviance, and re-created our place in a world of many cultures and value systems. 

Gods of the Upper Air is a page-turning narrative of radical ideas and adventurous lives, a history rich in scandal, romance, and rivalry, and a genesis story of the fluid conceptions of identity that define our present moment.

About the Author:

King_9780385542197_ap1_r1.jpg

Charles King is the author of seven books, including GODS OF THE UPPER AIR (2019); MIDNIGHT AT THE PERA PALACE (2014), which received the French Prix de Voyage Urbain "Le Figaro-Peninsula Paris"; and ODESSA: GENIUS AND DEATH IN A CITY OF DREAMS (2011), winner of a National Jewish Book Award. He lectures widely on global affairs and has worked with broadcast media including National Public Radio, the BBC, and the History Channel. A native of the Ozark hill country, King studied history and politics at the University of Arkansas and Oxford University, where he was a British Marshall Scholar. He is Professor of International Affairs and Government at Georgetown University, chair of the Department of Government, and former faculty chair of the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service. @charleskingdc, www.charles-king.net

View Event →
An Evening with P. E. Moskowitz
Aug
24
6:00 PM18:00

An Evening with P. E. Moskowitz

A hard-hitting expose that shines a light on the powerful conservative forces that have waged a multi-decade battle to hijack the meaning of free speech -- and how we can reclaim it.

About the Book:

There's a critical debate taking place over one of our most treasured rights: free speech. We argue about whether it's at risk, whether college students fear it, whether neo-Nazis deserve it, and whether the government is adequately upholding it.

519oS1BsaNL._SX321_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg

But as P. E. Moskowitz provocatively shows in The Case Against Free Speech, the term has been defined and redefined to suit those in power, and in recent years, it has been captured by the right to push their agenda. What's more, our investment in the First Amendment obscures an uncomfortable truth: free speech is impossible in an unequal society where a few corporations and the ultra-wealthy bankroll political movements, millions of voters are disenfranchised, and our government routinely silences critics of racism and capitalism.

Weaving together history and reporting from Charlottesville, Skokie, Standing Rock, and the college campuses where student protests made national headlines, Moskowitz argues that these flashpoints reveal more about the state of our democracy than they do about who is allowed to say what.

Our current definition of free speech replicates power while dissuading dissent, but a new ideal is emerging. In this forcefully argued, necessary corrective, Moskowitz makes the case for speech as a tool-for exposing the truth, demanding equality, and fighting for all our civil liberties.

About the Author:

P. E. Moskowitz is the author of How to Kill a City. A former staff writer for Al Jazeera America, they have written for publications including the GuardianNew York Times, NewYorker.com, New RepublicWiredSlateBuzzfeedSplinter, and Vice. A graduate of Hampshire College and the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism, they live in New Orleans.

View Event →
An Evening with Michele Gelfand
Aug
31
6:00 PM18:00

An Evening with Michele Gelfand

Celebrated cultural psychologist Michele Gelfand takes us on an epic journey through human cultures, offering a startling new view of the world and ourselves.

This August, the Midtown Scholar Bookstore is pleased to welcome cultural psychologist Michele Gelfand as she presents her new book, Rule Makers, Rule Breakers: How Tight and Loose Cultures Wire Our World. This event is free and open to the public

About the Book:

With a mix of brilliantly conceived studies and surprising on-the-ground discoveries, she shows that much of the diversity in the way we think and act derives from a key difference—how tightly or loosely we adhere to social norms.

Why are clocks in Germany so accurate while those in Brazil are frequently wrong? Why do New Zealand’s women have the highest number of sexual partners? Why are “Red” and “Blue” States really so divided? Why was the Daimler-Chrysler merger ill-fated from the start? Why is the driver of a Jaguar more likely to run a red light than the driver of a plumber’s van? Why does one spouse prize running a “tight ship” while the other refuses to “sweat the small stuff?”

In search of a common answer, Gelfand has spent two decades conducting research in more than fifty countries. Across all age groups, family variations, social classes, businesses, states and nationalities, she’s identified a primal pattern that can trigger cooperation or conflict. Her fascinating conclusion: behavior is highly influenced by the perception of threat.

With an approach that is consistently riveting, Rule Makers, Rule Breakers thrusts many of the puzzling attitudes and actions we observe into sudden and surprising clarity.

About the Author:

Michele Gelfand is a distinguished University Professor at the University of Maryland, College Park. Gelfand uses a variety of methods to understand how cultures vary around the world and with what consequence for groups. Her work has been cited over 20,000 times and has been featured in the Washington Post, the New York Times, the Boston Globe, National Public Radio, Voice of America, Fox News, NBC News, ABC News, The Economist, De Standard, among other outlets. Her work on tightness-looseness was cited as one of the most important social science theories explaining the U.S. election in 2016 in the New Yorker.

71QVPrtBuNL.jpg
View Event →
An Evening with Bassey Ikpi
Sep
5
7:00 PM19:00

An Evening with Bassey Ikpi

This September, Fear No Lit, Midtown Scholar Bookstore, and the Ware Center are pleased to welcome author Bassey Ikpi to Lancaster as she presents her new essay collection, I’m Telling the Truth But I’m Lying.

I'mTellingTheTruthBut pb c.JPG

*This event will take place at the Ware Center in Lancaster at 42 North Prince St, Lancaster, PA 17603*

The event will include a reading and interview with Ikpi, as well as short performances by three Pennsylvania writers. Books will be available for purchase prior to the book signing portion of the evening. This event is free and open to the public!

About the Book:

From her early childhood in Nigeria through her adolescence in Oklahoma, Bassey Ikpi lived with a tumult of emotions, cycling between extreme euphoria and deep depression—sometimes within the course of a single day. By the time she was in her early twenties, Bassey was a spoken word artist and traveling with HBO's Def Poetry Jam, channeling her life into art. But beneath the façade of the confident performer, Bassey's mental health was in a precipitous decline, culminating in a breakdown that resulted in hospitalization and a diagnosis of Bipolar II.

In I'm Telling the Truth, But I'm Lying, Bassey Ikpi breaks open our understanding of mental health by giving us intimate access to her own. Exploring shame, confusion, medication, and family in the process, Bassey looks at how mental health impacts every aspect of our lives—how we appear to others, and more importantly to ourselves—and challenges our preconception about what it means to be "normal." Viscerally raw and honest, the result is an exploration of the stories we tell ourselves to make sense of who we are—and the ways, as honest as we try to be, each of these stories can also be a lie.

About the Author:

Bassey Ikpi is an American-Nigerian writer and mental health advocate. .

Appearing on stages across the world as a public speaker and TV personality, Bassey featured on HBO’s ‘Def Poetry Jam’ and joined the touring company for their Tony Award-winning Broadway show. She was the resident pop culture critic for Philly’s WURD FM radio station and is currently a contributing editor for Catapult. An active voice in pop culture commentary and the mental health community, Bassey’s essays have been published by The Root, Ebony, Huffington Post, and Essence, as well as the anthologies Rookie On Love and Who Will Speak For America. In 2015, Bassey was commissioned by Nike’s global nonprofit Girls Effect to write and perform a short film, Invisible Barriers, which premiered at a panel discussing female empowerment as a means for societal growth at Aspen Ideas Conference.

Bassey is the founder of The Siwe Project, a mental health organization that centers Black and Brown people in an effort to spread mental health awareness. Recognized by MSNBC’s The Melissa Harris-Perry Show for her advocacy work, Bassey is also the creator of #NoShameDay, an initiative that attempts to reduce stigma and increase mental health awareness.

As a performing poet, Bassey has opened for Grammy-winning artists India Arie, Luther Vandross, and Alicia Keys. She tributed Venus and Serena Williams at the NAACP Image Awards and opened for Conde Nast Traveler’s 25th Anniversary Visionaries Award, performing original poems composed in recognition of attending honorees Hillary Clinton, Michael Bloomberg, Christy Turlington, Olivia Wilde, and Susan Sarandon, among others.

Bassey currently lives in Maryland and is working on her next book.

Bassey Ikpi_pc Maxine L. Moore.jpg
View Event →
An Evening with Sean Carroll
Sep
11
7:00 PM19:00

An Evening with Sean Carroll

New York Times bestselling author Sean Carroll shows that there are multiple copies of you. And everyone else. Really.

9781524743017.jpg

This September, the Midtown Scholar Bookstore is thrilled to welcome physicist Sean Carroll to Harrisburg as he presents his new book, Something Deeply Hidden: Quantum Worlds and the Emergence of Spacetime. This event is free and open to the public.

About the Book:

Something Deeply Hidden begins with the news that physics is in a crisis. Quantum mechanics underlies all of modern physics but major gaps in the theory have been ignored since 1927. Science popularizers keep telling us how weird it is, how contradictory, how impossible it is to understand. Academics discourage students from working on the "dead end" of quantum foundations. Putting his professional reputation on the line, Carroll says that crisis can now come to an end. We just have to accept that there is more than one of us in the universe. There are many, many Sean Carrolls. Many of every one of us.

The Many Worlds Theory of quantum behavior says that every time there is a quantum event, a world splits off with everything in it the same, except in that other world the quantum event didn't happen. As you read this, you are splitting into multiple copies of yourself thousands of times per second. Step-by-step in Carroll's uniquely lucid way, he sets out the major objections to this utterly mind-blowing notion until his case is inescapably established.

The holy grail of modern physics is reconciling quantum mechanics with Einstein's general relativity—his theory of curved spacetime. Carroll argues that our refusal to face up to the mysteries of quantum mechanics has blinded us, and that spacetime and gravity naturally emerge from a deeper reality called the wave function. No book for a popular audience has attempted to make this radical argument. We're on the threshold of a new way of understanding the cosmos.

About the Author:

Sean Carroll is a theoretical physicist at the California Institute of Technology. His research focuses on fundamental issues in quantum mechanics, gravitation, statistical mechanics, and cosmology. He has wide-ranging interests, including in philosophy, complexity theory, and information.

Carroll is an active science communicator, and has been blogging regularly since 2004. His textbook "Spacetime and Geometry" has been adopted by a number of universities for their graduate courses in general relativity. He is a frequent public speaker, and has appeared on TV shows such as The Colbert Report and Through The Wormhole with Morgan Freeman. He has produced a set of lectures for The Teaching Company on dark matter and dark energy, and another on the nature of time. He has served as a science consultant for films such as Thor and TRON: Legacy, as well as for TV shows such as Fringe and Bones.

sc-rp-2 (1).jpg
View Event →
An Evening with James Poniewozik
Sep
14
6:00 PM18:00

An Evening with James Poniewozik

An incisive cultural history that captures a fractious nation through the prism of television and the rattled mind of a celebrity president.

41P0WGgk68L._SX327_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg

About the Book:

Television has entertained America, television has ensorcelled America, and with the election of Donald J. Trump, television has conquered America. In Audience of OneNew York Times chief television critic James Poniewozik traces the history of TV and mass media from the Reagan era to today, explaining how a volcanic, camera-hogging antihero merged with America’s most powerful medium to become our forty-fifth president.

In the tradition of Neil Postman’s masterpiece Amusing Ourselves to DeathAudience of One shows how American media have shaped American society and politics, by interweaving two crucial stories. The first story follows the evolution of television from the three-network era of the 20th century, which joined millions of Americans in a shared monoculture, into today’s zillion-channel, Internet-atomized universe, which sliced and diced them into fractious, alienated subcultures. The second story is a cultural critique of Donald Trump, the chameleonic celebrity who courted fame, achieved a mind-meld with the media beast, and rode it to ultimate power.

Braiding together these disparate threads, Poniewozik combines a cultural history of modern America with a revelatory portrait of the most public American who has ever lived. Reaching back to the 1940s, when Trump and commercial television were born, Poniewozik illustrates how Donald became “a character that wrote itself, a brand mascot that jumped off the cereal box and entered the world, a simulacrum that replaced the thing it represented.” Viscerally attuned to the media, Trump shape-shifted into a boastful tabloid playboy in the 1980s; a self-parodic sitcom fixture in the 1990s; a reality-TV “You’re Fired” machine in the 2000s; and finally, the biggest role of his career, a Fox News–obsessed, Twitter-mad, culture-warring demagogue in the White House.

Poniewozik deconstructs the chaotic Age of Trump as the 24-hour TV production that it is, decoding an era when politics has become pop culture, and vice versa. Trenchant and often slyly hilarious, Audience of One is a penetrating and sobering review of the raucous, raging, farcical reality show―performed for the benefit of an insomniac, cable-news-junkie “audience of one”―that we all came to live in, whether we liked it or not.

About the Author:

James Poniewozik has been the chief television critic of the New York Times since 2015. He was previously the television and media critic for Time magazine and media columnist for Salon. He lives in Brooklyn.

View Event →

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.

Cep cover image.jpg

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.

Cep_9781101947869_ap2_r1.jpg
View Event →
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.

red state revolt cover.jpg

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.

unnamed.jpg
View Event →
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."

Hausmann Ant Vax S19.jpg

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.

View Event →
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.

Range high res.jpg


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.

David Epstein (c) Deb Lindsey.jpg
View Event →
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

9781556594861_FC_Brown-saveforweb.jpg

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.

jb-6.jpg
View Event →
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.

Undocumented.jpeg

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

View Event →
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.

Book signing will immediately follow discussion. Books must be purchased through the Midtown Scholar Bookstore to gain entrance to the signing line. Books purchased in-store will be the only items available to be signed. One photo per-person will be allowed, and photos will only be permitted for attendees who purchase the book.

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.

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 →
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.

7147gTWambL.jpg

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.

z_EnxB4z_400x400.jpg

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.

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 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 →
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.

red state revolt cover.jpg

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.

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 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 →