March 8 @ 6:00 pm
A beautiful meditation on the joys of being a grandparent and a practical guide to help you and your adult children make the most of your relationship with a grandchild.
For many grandparents, a grandchild offers a second chance to become the parent they didn’t have the time or the energy to be when raising their own children. Being a grandparent, family relationships expert Jane Isay argues, is the opportunity to turn missed opportunities into delight. Drawing on her personal experience, dozens of interviews, and the latest findings in psychology, Isay shows how a grandparent can use his or her unique perspective and experience to create a deep and lasting bond that will echo throughout a grandchild’s life. She explores the realities of today’s multigenerational families, identifying problems and offering solutions to enhance love, trust, and understanding between grandparents, parents, and grandchildren. She also offers a wealth of practical advice, from when to get involved, when to stay away, and how to foster a strong relationship when you’re separated by long distance. Unconditional Love advocates for honest conversation, thinking in the long run and healing breaches in order to be together, understanding that most of us try to do our best and need to be forgiven if we fail. Isay argues that secrets and surprises may tilt the boat but won’t necessarily sink it and that grandparents and their grown children are happier when they give each other the benefit of the doubt. Most importantly, she writes, the advent of grandchildren offers families the opportunity for healing and redemption—if we seize the moment. In lovely prose and through delightful stories, Isay shows us how we can.
March 13 @ 6:00 pm
Laura hails from the Upper East Side of Manhattan, born into old money, drifting aimlessly into her early thirties. One weekend in 1981 she meets Jefferson. The two sleep together. He vanishes. And Laura realizes she’s pregnant. Enter: Emma.
Despite her progressive values, Laura raises Emma by herself in the same blue-blood world of private schools and summer homes she grew up in, buoyed by a host of indelible characters, including her eccentric mother, who informs her society friends and Emma herself that she was fathered by a Swedish sperm donor; her brother, whose childhood stutter reappears in the presence of their forbidding father; an exceptionally kind male pediatrician; and her overbearing best friend, whose life has followed the Park Avenue script in every way except for childbearing. Meanwhile, the apple falls far from the tree with Emma, who begins to question her environment in a way her mother never could. Told in vignettes that mine the profound from the mundane, with meditations on everything from sex and death to insomnia and the catharsis of crying on the subway, a textured portrait emerges of a woman struggling to understand herself, her daughter, and the changing landscape of New York City in the eighties and nineties. Laura & Emma is an acutely insightful exploration of class and family warfare from a new author whose offbeat sensibility, understated wit, and stylish prose celebrate the comedy and pathos that make us human.
March 14 @ 6:00 pm
The New York Times bestselling author delivers the second installment in her clever romp of a mystery series combining social comedy and dark-hearted murder—a novel set at a girls’ boarding school in a picturesque Hudson River town with more than its share of secrets. Since retiring as head of a famous New York City private school, Maggie Detweiler is busier than ever. Chairing a team to evaluate the faltering Rye Manor School for girls, she will determine whether, in spite of its fabled past, the school has a future at all. At a reception for the faculty and trustees to “welcome” Maggie’s team, no one seems more keen for all to go well than Florence Meagher, a star teacher who is loved and respected in spite of her affliction—that she can never stop talking. Two days later, Florence’s body is found in the campus swimming pool.
What on earth is going on in this idyllic town? Is this a run-of-the-mill marital murder? Or does it have something to do with the school board treasurer’s real estate schemes? And what is up with the vicious cyber-bullying that’s unsettled everyone, or with the disturbed teenaged boy whom Florence had made a pet of? And is it possible that someone killed Florence just so she’d finally shut up?
March 27 @ 6:00 pm
A critical care doctor’s breathtaking stories about what it means to be saved by modern medicine
Modern medicine is a world that glimmers with new technology and cutting-edge research. To the public eye, medical stories often begin with sirens and flashing lights and culminate in survival or death. But these are only the most visible narratives. As a critical care doctor treating people at their sickest, Daniela Lamas is fascinated by a different story: what comes after for those whose lives are extended by days, months, or years as a result of our treatments and technologies?
In You Can Stop Humming Now, Lamas explores the complex answers to this question through intimate accounts of patients and their families. A grandfather whose failing heart has been replaced by a battery-operated pump; a salesman who found himself a kidney donor on social media; a college student who survived a near fatal overdose and returned home, alive but not the same; and a young woman navigating an adulthood she never thought she’d live to see — these moving narratives paint a detailed picture of the fragile border between sickness and health.
Riveting, gorgeously told, and deeply personal, You Can Stop Humming Now is a compassionate, uncompromising look at the choices and realities that many of us, and our families, may one day face.
April 4 @ 6:00 pm
Acclaimed biographer John Loughery tells the story of John Hughes, son of Ireland, friend of William Seward and James Buchanan, founder of St. John’s College (now Fordham University), builder of Saint Patrick’s Cathedral on Fifth Avenue, pioneer of parochial-school education, and American diplomat. As archbishop of the Archdiocese of New York in the 1840 and 1850s and the most famous Roman Catholic in America, Hughes defended Catholic institutions in a time of nativist bigotry and church burnings and worked tirelessly to help Irish Catholic immigrants find acceptance in their new homeland. His galvanizing and protecting work and pugnacious style earned him the epithet Dagger John. When the interests of his church and ethnic community were at stake, Hughes acted with purpose and clarity.
In Dagger John, Loughery reveals Hughes’s life as it unfolded amid turbulent times for the religious and ethnic minority he represented. Hughes the public figure comes to the fore, illuminated by Loughery’s retelling of his interactions with, and responses to, every major figure of his era, including his critics (Walt Whitman, James Gordon Bennett, and Horace Greeley) and his admirers (Henry Clay, Stephen Douglas, and Abraham Lincoln). Loughery peels back the layers of the public life of this complicated man, showing how he reveled in the controversies he provoked and believed he had lived to see many of his goals achieved until his dreams came crashing down during the Draft Riots of 1863 when violence set Manhattan ablaze.
April 16 @ 6:00 pm
The sensational new story collection from one of our sharpest, most original, and daringly cinematic stylists, National Book Award finalist and O Henry Prize winner Christine Schutt.
In one eponymous novella and ten stories, Pure Hollywood brings us into private worlds of corrupt familial love, intimacy, longing, and danger. From an alcoholic widowed actress living in desert seclusion to a young mother whose rejection of her child has terrible consequences, from a newlywed couple who ignore the violent warnings of a painter burned by love to an eerie portrait of erotic obsession, each story is an imagistic snapshot of what it means to live and learn, love and hurt.
With Pure Hollywood Christine Schutt gives us sharply suspenseful and masterfully dark interior portraits of ordinary lives, infused with her signature observation and surprise. Timeless, incisive, and precise, these tales are a rush of blood to the head, portals through which we open our eyes and see the world anew.
May 2 @ 6:00 pm
An American writer joins her husband, a contractor/consultant working in Iraq, to live in Amman, Jordan, and keeps a diary of day-to-day events. Out of this emerge so many stories of the pain and frustration of a forgotten world, which precedes the Iraq war, dating from a half-century earlier—the Palestinians who fled Israel in the ’48 and ’67 wars. In both cases — whether the Iraqi war or the Israeli-Palestinian conflict — she finds herself squarely within the enemy camp and seeks to find out why that is, delving into the history and layering it within the quotidian.
May 8 @ 6:00 pm
As much as we may enjoy Swan Lake or The Nutcracker, for many of us ballet is a foreign language. It communicates through movement, not words, and its history lies almost entirely abroad-in Russia, Italy, and France. In Celestial Bodies, dance critic Laura Jacobs makes the foreign familiar, providing a lively, poetic, and uniquely accessible introduction to the world of classical dance. Combining history, interviews with dancers, technical definitions, descriptions of performances, and personal stories, Jacobs offers an intimate and passionate guide to watching ballet and understanding the central elements of choreography.
Beautifully written and elegantly illustrated with original drawings, Celestial Bodies is essential reading for all lovers of this magnificent art form.
May 10 @ 6:00 pm
Winthrop tells the arresting tale—from multiple points of view—of a community locked in struggle with itself. Set during the hours leading up to the scheduled execution of a young black man for the alleged rape of a white woman in 1943 small-town Louisiana, Winthrop expertly captures the intimacy and tension of a town, its people, and its injustices.
On the eve of his execution by electric chair, eighteen-year-old Willie Jones sits in his cell in New Iberia awaiting his end. Across the state, a flatbed truck driven by a convict and his keeper carries the executioner’s chair from its home at the state penitentiary in Angola. On a nearby highway, Willie’s father Frank is hauling a gravestone for his son in a wagon pulled by his aged, fading mule. In his office the District Attorney who prosecuted Willie reckons with the sentencing and his own conscience, while at a gas station at the crossroads outside of town, married couple Ora and Dale grapple with their grief and their secrets.As the members of the township reflect on the implications of Willie’s upcoming execution, an intricately layered portrait of a community emerges, bearing the deep stain of the color line. Moving from voice to voice, Winthrop elegantly conveys both the ugly realities and the touching intimacies of a small town and its residents. The Mercy Seat is a brutally smart and tender novel from one of our most acute literary observers.