Readings: New Fiction

Liam Callanan’s novel Paris by the Book tells the story of a missing person, a grieving family, and a curious clue: a half-finished manuscript set in Paris. Angie Kim’s novel Miracle Creek takes place in small-town Virginia, where a group of people utilize a hyperbaric chamber to try to cure a range of conditions from infertility to autism. …

The Power of the Press

In They Will Have to Die Now, Mosul and the Fall of the Caliphate James Verini takes us into the heart of the conflict against the most lethal insurgency of our time. Andy Greenberg’s Sandworm: A New Era of Cyberwar and the Hunt for the Kremlin’s Most Dangerous Hackers chronicles the desperate hunt to identify and track an elite team of Russian agents bent on digital sabotage. …

Water is Life

John M. Dunn’s  Drying Up: The Fresh Water Crisis in Florida, is a timely introduction to a problem that is forecast to escalate dramatically. Lynne Buchanan’s Florida’s Changing Waters not only showcases the beauty, diversity, and complexity of Florida’s waters, but also documents the negative effects of agricultural and industrial pollution. …

Hollywood Lives, Real and Imagined

Illuminating the love story of Tennessee Williams and his longtime partner Frank Merlo, Christopher Castellani’s  Leading Men is a glittering novel of desire and ambition, set against the glamorous literary circles of 1950s Italy. Rocky Lang’s Letters from Hollywood: Inside the Private World of Classic American Moviemaking reproduces in scores of insightful pieces of correspondence from some of the most notable film industry names of all time. …

On Literature

Daniel Mendelsohn casts an eye at literature, film, television, and the personal essay in Ecstasy and Terror: From the Greeks to Game of Thrones. In All the Lives We Ever Lived: Seeking Solace in Virginia Woolf, author Katharine Smyth braids memoir, literary criticism, and biography. Jess Row’s White Flights, featuring seven wide-ranging, erudite, …

Readings From Fiction

Ruchika Tomar’s debut novel, A Prayer for Travelers, explores the complicated legacy of the American West and the trauma of female experience.  Juliet Grames’s novel The Seven or Eight Deaths of Stella Fortuna is a family saga about sisterhood, secrets, Italian immigration, the American dream, and one woman’s fight against her own fate. In The Gone Dead from Chanelle Benz, …

U.S. Poet Laureate Joy Harjo: A Reading and Conversation

Joy Harjo reads from her latest book, An American Sunrise, and discusses her role as the 23rd Poet Laureate of the United States, and the first Native American to hold the position. In conversation with Library of Congress Head of Poetry and Literature Center Robert Casper. …

Readings From Three Novels

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Leonard Pitts Jr.’s  novel The Last Thing You Surrender tells a tale of race and war, as it follows three characters from the Jim Crow South facing the enormous changes World War II triggers in the United States. William Kent Krueger’s Ordinary Grace tells the story of a young man, a small town, and murder in the summer of 1961. …

Nonfiction readings

The Book of Delights is Ross Gay’s collection of short lyric essays, reminding us of the purpose and pleasure of praising, extolling, and celebrating ordinary wonders. My Parents: An Introduction / This Does Not Belong to You is two books in one in a flip dos-à-dos format: the story of Aleksandar Hemon’s parents’ immigration from Sarajevo to Canada and a book of short memories of the author’s childhood in Sarajevo. …

Three Novels: A Reading

Cathleen Schine’s novel The Grammarians is a comic love letter to sibling rivalry and the beauty, mischief, and occasional treachery of language. Sarah Blake’s novel, The Guest Book, tells the story of a family and a country that buries its past in quiet, until the present calls forth a reckoning.  Roxana Robinson’s Dawson’s Fall, a novel that draws on the lives of her great-grandparents, …

Trials & Tribulations: Readings

In The Last Trial, Scott Turow brings back defense lawyer Sandy Stern, now 85,  to take one last case. In Chris Pavone’s new thriller, The Paris Diversion, American expat Kate Moore is back to discover that a massive terror attack across Paris is not what it seems. In Susan Isaac’s Takes One to Know One, …

Two Novels: A Reading

In her debut novel, A Woman Is No Man, Palestinian-American author Etaf Rum offers an intimate glimpse into a controlling and closed cultural world. In Thirty Umrigar’s The Secrets Between Us: A Novel, a former servant struggles against the circumstances of class and misfortune to forge a new path for herself and her granddaughter in modern India. …

Awakenings, A Reading

Megan Phelps-Roper’s memoir Unfollow tells a tale of her moral awakening, from spokesperson of her grandfather’s Westboro Baptist Church, best known for picketing funerals of U.S. service members, to compassionate, empathetic skeptic. Memoir of a Race Traitor, back in print after more than a decade, chronicles Mab Segrest’s antiracist, antihomophobic activism in the 80s, and what has transpired with the far right since the book’s publication. …

How Life is Lived: Readings

Gene Weingarten’s One Day: The Extraordinary Story of an Ordinary 24 Hours in America asks and answers the question of whether there is even such a thing as “ordinary” when discussing the daily challenge of being human. In Dad’s Maybe Book Tim O’Brien shares wisdom from a life in letters, lessons learned in wartime, and the challenges, …

In Their Own Words: A Reading

Amanda Yates Garcia’s Initiated, is both a memoir and a manifesto on witchcraft, peppered with mythology, tales of the goddesses and magical women throughout history, it stands squarely at the intersection of witchcraft and feminism. In her memoir Ordinary Girls, Jaquira Diaz writes of growing up caught between extremes in housing projects in Miami Beach and Puerto Rico. …

The Language of Women: A Poetry Reading

In Hybrida, Tina Chang contemplates raising a mixed-race child during an era of political upheaval in the United States. All Its Charms chronicles Keetje Kuipers’ decision to become a single mother by choice and marry the woman she loves. Deborah Landau observes how fear of annihilation expands beyond the self to an imperiled planet on which all inhabitants are Soft Targets. …

Three Novels: A Reading

Monique Truong’s novel The Sweetest Fruits is an ingenious retelling of the many lives of Greek-Irish globetrotting writer Lafcadio Hearn, through the voices of the women who knew him best. Curdella Forbes’s novel, A Tall History of Sugar, tells the story of Moshe Fisher, a Jamaican man who was “born without skin,” so that no one can tell to which race he belongs. …

In The Face Evil: Helping Others, a Reading

Julia Flynn Siler’s The White Devil’s Daughters: The Women Who Fought Slavery in San Francisco’s Chinatown is a revelatory history of the trafficking of young Asian girls in San Francisco during the first hundred years of Chinese immigration. In The Plateau, Maggie Paxson sets out to explore why people in this region in Southern France have a tradition, …

Four Florida Poets: A Reading

In Exoskeletal, C. M. Clark compiles a hypothetical Silk Road of tweets, memes, and other viral oddities to shape a new archeology. M.J. Fievre addresses the emotional contradictions of depression, anxiety, grief, and loss in Happy, Okay? Oscar Fuentes’ Welcome Home imagines the journey that brings each person to the 1Hotel South Beach. Key West Nights &

Three Novels, a Reading

Mary Beth Keane’s Ask Again, Yes is a profoundly moving novel about two neighboring families in a suburban town, the friendship between their children, and a tragedy that reverberates over four decades. In Black Light, Kimberly King Parsons’s collection of short stories, she explores first love and self-loathing, addiction, marriage and more, with raw, poetic ferocity. …

Readings From Two Novels

In Break the Bodies, Haunt the Bones by Micah Dean Hicks, when new arrivals to fictional Swine Hill begin scoring precious jobs at the last factory in town, both the living and the dead are furious. In Stephen Chbosky’s horror novel Imaginary Friend, a single mother and her son are caught in the middle of a war playing out between good and evil, …

Readings From Nonfiction

In Go Ahead in the Rain: Notes to A Tribe Called Quest, Hanif Abdurraqib traces the seminal rap group’s creative career. In his smart and funny memoir, What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Blacker, Damon Young explores the ever-shifting definitions of what it means to be Black and male in America.  …