Midtown Scholar Bookstore-Cafe
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Author Readings

Eleanor Gordon-Smith | Stop Being Reasonable

Wednesday, October 23rd | 7pm

A thought-provoking exploration of how people really change their minds, and how persuasion is possible.

In Stop Being Reasonable, Eleanor Gordon-Smith weaves a narrative that illustrates the limits of human reason. She chronicles the lives of people who radically altered their beliefs about the things that matter most--from the woman who realized her husband harbored a terrible secret; to the man who left the cult he had been raised in since birth; to the reality TV contestant who, having impersonated someone else for a month, discovered he could no longer return to his former identity. What made them change course? How should their reversals affect how we think about our own beliefs? And in an increasingly divided world, what do they teach us about how we might change the minds of others?


John Witherow | The Gap: Fort Indiantown

Thursday, October 24th | 7pm

A childhood fantasy fulfilled, a lifelong goal accomplished.

Fresh from rotary-wing flight school, 22-year-old Lieutenant Mark Ashford arrives for his first duty assignment at Fort Indiantown Gap, Pennsylvania, wanting nothing more than to master the art of flight. But he learns quickly that he’s in the awkward position of overseeing pilots with vastly superior skills and experience. Resolved to learn more about his belligerent subordinate, Mark uncovers a decades-old secret from the Vietnam War’s brutal helicopter assault on innocent villagers. At the same time, he is tasked with supporting the DEA with aerial reconnaissance in search of a hidden cache of marijuana. The Gap is a coming-of-age story that poses questions about the wisdom of the current drug war while employing themes from another lost war.


The Strange Careers of the Jim Crow North

Saturday, October, 26th | 6pm

With Say Burgin, Peter Levy, Kris Burrell, Crystal Moten, and Laura Warren Hill

Did American racism originate in the liberal North? Jim Crow was not a regional sickness, it was a national cancer. Even at the high point of twentieth century liberalism in the North, Jim Crow racism hid in plain sight. Perpetuated by colorblind arguments about “cultures of poverty,” policies focused more on black criminality than black equality. Procedures that diverted resources in education, housing, and jobs away from poor black people turned ghettos and prisons into social pandemics. Americans in the North made this history. The book ultimately dispels the myth that the South was the birthplace of American racism, and presents a compelling argument that American racism actually originated in the North.



Julia Mallory | Survivor’s Guilt

Wednesday, October 30th | 7pm

Who gets to grieve and for how long? What do we do when people defy our expectations around what they should do with their sadness?

Survivor’s Guilt is a monumental meditation on grief and the aftermath of loss. Born from the author’s lived experience with personal tragedy – her 17 year old son Julian was shot and killed in 2017, three weeks after his birthday, this collection is also an archive of survivorship. Survivor’s Guilt wrestles with the curious reality that parenting while Black has never been a neutral existence.



Stephen Fried | Rush

Wednesday, November 6th | 7pm

The monumental life of Benjamin Rush, medical pioneer and one of our most provocative and unsung Founding Fathers.

By the time he was thirty, Dr. Benjamin Rush had signed the Declaration of Independence, edited Common Sense, toured Europe as Benjamin Franklin’s protégé, and become John Adams’s confidant, and was soon to be appointed Washington’s surgeon general. And as with the greatest Revolutionary minds, Rush was only just beginning his role in 1776 in the American experiment. Rush reveals his singular life and towering legacy, installing him in the pantheon of our wisest and boldest Founding Fathers.


Henry Hemming | Agents of Influence

Saturday, November 9th | 5pm

The astonishing story of the British spies who set out to draw America into World War II.

As World War II raged into its second year, Britain sought a powerful ally to join its cause--but the American public was sharply divided on the subject. The Canadian-born MI6 officer William Stephenson, with his knowledge and influence in North America, was chosen to change their minds by any means necessary. In this extraordinary tale of foreign influence on American shores, Henry Hemming shows how Stephenson came to New York--hiring Canadian staffers to keep his operations secret--and flooded the American market with propaganda supporting Franklin Roosevelt and decrying Nazism.


Liz Moore | Long Bright River

Friday, January 17th | 7pm

Two sisters travel the same streets,though their lives couldn't be more different. Then one of them goes missing.

In a Philadelphia neighborhood rocked by the opioid crisis, two once-inseparable sisters find themselves at odds. One, Kacey, lives on the streets in the vise of addiction. The other, Mickey, walks those same blocks on her police beat. They don't speak anymore, but Mickey never stops worrying about her sibling. Alternating its present-day mystery with the story of the sisters' childhood and adolescence, Long Bright River is at once heart-pounding and heart-wrenching: a gripping suspense novel that is also a moving story of sisters, addiction, and the formidable ties that persist between place, family, and fate.


Stephanie Land | Maid

Wednesday, January 22nd | 7pm

Evicted meets Nickel and Dimed in Stephanie Land's memoir about working as a maid, a beautiful and gritty exploration of poverty in America.

At 28, Stephanie Land's plans of breaking free from the roots of her hometown in the Pacific Northwest to chase her dreams of attending a university and becoming a writer, were cut short when a summer fling turned into an unexpected pregnancy. She turned to housekeeping to make ends meet, and with a tenacious grip on her dream to provide her daughter the very best life possible, Stephanie worked days and took classes online to earn a college degree, and began to write relentlessly. Maid explores the underbelly of upper-middle class America and the reality of what it's like to be in service to them.


Emma Copley Eisenberg | The Third Rainbow GIrl

Tuesday, February 25th | 7pm

A stunningly written investigation of the murder of two young women--showing how a violent crime casts a shadow over an entire community.

In the early evening of June 25, 1980 in Pocahontas County, West Virginia, two middle-class outsiders named Vicki Durian, 26, and Nancy Santomero, 19, were murdered in an isolated clearing. They were hitchhiking to a festival known as the Rainbow Gathering but never arrived; they traveled with a third woman however, who lived. For thirteen years, no one was prosecuted for the "Rainbow Murders," though deep suspicion was cast on a succession of local residents in the community, depicted as poor, dangerous, and backward. In The Third Rainbow Girl, Emma Eisenberg follows the threads of this crime through the complex history of Appalachia, forming a searing and wide-ranging portrait of America--its divisions of gender and class, and of its violence.