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Author Readings

P.E. Moskowitz | The Case Against Free Speech

Saturday, August 24th | 6pm

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.

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.


Michele Gelfund | Rule Makers, Rule Breakers

Saturday, August 31st | 6pm

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


Bassey Ikpi | I’m Telling the Truth But I’m Lying

Thursday, September 5th | 7pm | Ware Center, 42 N Prince St, Lancaster, PA

In I’m Telling the Truth, but I’m Lying, Bassey Ikpi explores her life—as a Nigerian-American immigrant, a black woman, a slam poet, a mother, a daughter, an artist—through the lens of her mental health and diagnosis of bipolar II and anxiety. Her remarkable memoir in essays implodes our preconceptions of the mind and normalcy as Bassey bares her own truths and lies for us all to behold with radical honesty and brutal intimacy. 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.

This event is proudly presented by Fear No Lit, the Midtown Scholar Bookstore, and the Ware Center at Millersville University.


Shoba Sivaprasad Wadhia | Banned

Saturday, September 7th | 6pm

Within days of taking office, President Donald J. Trump published or announced changes to immigration law and policy.

These changes have profoundly shaken the lives and well-being of immigrants and their families, many of whom have been here for decades, and affected the work of the attorneys and advocates who represent or are themselves part of the immigrant community. The story of immigration and the role immigrants play in the United States is significant. The government has the tools to treat those seeking admission, refuge, or opportunity in the United States humanely. Banned offers a passionate reminder of the responsibility we all have to protect America’s identity as a nation of immigrants.

This event is proudly presented by Penn State Harrisburg’s Diversity and Educational Equity Committee and the Midtown Scholar Bookstore.


Sean Carroll | Something Deeply Hidden

Wednesday, September 11th | 7pm

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

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. 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.


James Poniewozik | Audience of One

Saturday, September 14th | 6pm

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


John Leland | Happiness is a Choice You Make

Saturday, September 21st | 6pm

An extraordinary look at what it means to grow old and a heartening guide to well-being, Happiness Is a Choice You Make weaves together the stories and wisdom of six New Yorkers who number among the “oldest old”―those eighty-five and up. Happiness Is a Choice You Make is an enduring collection of lessons that emphasizes, above all, the extraordinary influence we wield over the quality of our lives. With humility, heart, and wit, Leland has crafted a sophisticated and necessary reflection on how to “live better”―informed by those who have mastered the art.


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?


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.