October 24, 2017 @ 6:00 pm
Into the life of the author, a novel appears, as if by chance, and changes everything. As a child in a music class where a remarkable teacher watches over a classmate marked for tragedy, the author comes across Willa Cather’s novel, Lucy Gayheart, and is prepared by fiction for an actual death by drowning of someone near her. Later, recently married and living in a newly independent Nigeria, a teacher now herself, she assigns Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart to her students and is instructed by them in the violent legacy of colonialism, and visits an old slave port where she is made aware of her own benighted American innocence. In Nigeria, too, she is given A Portrait of a Lady and deeply ponders her own new marriage through the lens of Isabel Archer’s cautionary fate, remembers her adolescent fear that reading might be a way of avoiding experience. Afterward, spending a year in northern France, she puts Madame Bovary resolutely aside to discover in Bernanos’ Diary of a Country Priest a detailed guide to the town where she is living, the poverty and suffering hidden within its walls. The memoir closes with a tender account of the author’s friendship with the writer Diana Trilling, whose failing sight inspires a plan to read aloud Proust’s masterwork, an undertaking that requires six years to complete. Faced with Diana’s approaching death and the mysteries of her own life, the author wonders whether reading, after all, may not be experience at its most ardent, its most transforming.
November 16, 2017 @ 6:00 pm
January 9 @ 6:00 pm
From New York Times bestselling author, Lauren Willig, comes this scandalous novel set in the Gilded Age, full of family secrets, affairs, and even murder.
Annabelle and Bayard Van Duyvil live a charmed life in New York: he’s the scion of an old Knickerbocker family, she grew up in a Tudor manor in England, they had a whirlwind romance in London, they have three year old twins on whom they dote, and he’s recreated her family home on the banks of the Hudson and renamed it Illyria. Yes, there are rumors that she’s having an affair with the architect, but rumors are rumors and people will gossip. But then Bayard is found dead with a knife in his chest on the night of their Twelfth Night Ball, Annabelle goes missing, presumed drowned, and the papers go mad. Bay’s sister, Janie, forms an unlikely alliance with a reporter to uncover the truth, convinced that Bay would never have killed his wife, that it must be a third party, but the more she learns about her brother and his wife, the more everything she thought she knew about them starts to unravel. Who were her brother and his wife, really? And why did her brother die with the name George on his lips?
January 23 @ 6:00 pm
Please join us to celebrate the launch of Leslie Cohen’s debut novel This Love Story will Self-Destruct
This is the classic tale of boy meets girl: Girl…goes home with someone else.
Meet Eve. She’s a dreamer, a feeler, a careening well of sensitivities who can’t quite keep her feet on the ground, or steer clear of trouble. She’s a laugher, a crier, a quirky and quick-witted bleeding-heart-worrier.
Meet Ben. He’s an engineer, an expert at leveling floors who likes order, structure, and straight lines. He doesn’t opine, he doesn’t ruminate, he doesn’t simmer until he boils over.
So naturally, when the two first cross paths, sparks don’t exactly fly. But then they meet again. And again. And then, finally, they find themselves with a deep yet fragile connection that will change the course of their relationship—possibly forever.
Follow Eve and Ben as they navigate their twenties on a winding journey through first jobs, first dates, and first breakups; through first reunions, first betrayals and, maybe, first love. This is When Harry Met Sally re-imagined; a charming tale told from two unapologetically original points of view. With an acerbic edge and heartwarming humor, debut novelist Leslie Cohen takes us on a tour of what life looks like when it doesn’t go according to plan, and explores the complexity, chaos, and comedy in finding a relationship built to last.
January 25 @ 6:00 pm
In the space of a few torrid months on the Iowa prairie, Phillipa Maakestad—long-married theater professor and mother of an unstable daughter—grapples with a life turned upside down. After falling headlong into a passionate affair during a semester spent teaching in Ohio, Phillipa returns home to Iowa for her daughter Ginny’s wedding. There, Phillipa must endure (among other things) a wedding-day tornado, a menace of a mother-in-law who may or may not have been a Nazi collaborator, and the tragicomic revenge fantasies of her heretofore docile husband. Naturally, she does what any newly liberated woman would do: she takes a match to her life on the prairie and then steps back to survey the wreckage. Set in the seething political climate of a contentious election, Thisbe Nissen’s new novel is sexy, smart, and razor-sharp—a freight train barreling through the heart of the land and the land of the heart.
February 13 @ 6:00 pm
In the well-heeled milieu of New York’s Upper East Side, coolly elegant Philippa Lye is the woman no one can stop talking about. Despite a shadowy past, Philippa has somehow married the scion of the last family-held investment bank in the city. And although her wealth and connections put her in the center of this world, she refuses to conform to its gossip-fueled culture. Then, into her precariously balanced life, come two women: Gwen Hogan, a childhood acquaintance who uncovers an explosive secret about Philippa’s single days, and Minnie Curtis, a newcomer whose vast fortune and frank revelations about a penurious upbringing in Spanish Harlem put everyone on alert. When Gwen’s husband, a heavy-drinking, obsessive prosecutor in the US Attorney’s Office, stumbles over the connection between Philippa’s past and the criminal investigation he is pursuing at all costs, this insulated society is forced to confront the rot at its core and the price it has paid to survive into the new millennium.
Macy has written a modern-day HOUSE OF MIRTH, not for the age of railroads and steel but of hedge funds and overnight fortunes, of scorched-earth successes and abiding moral failures. A brilliant portrait of love, betrayal, fate and chance, MRS marries razor-sharp social critique and page-turning propulsion into an unforgettable tapestry of the way we live in the 21st Century.
March 7 @ 6:00 pm
Tracing the careers of hip-hop’s three most dynamic stars, this deeply reported history brilliantly examines the entrepreneurial genius of the first musician tycoons: Diddy, Dr. Dre, and Jay-Z
Being successful musicians was simply never enough for the three kings of hip-hop. Diddy, Dr. Dre, and Jay-Z lifted themselves from childhood adversity into tycoon territory, amassing levels of fame and wealth that not only outshone all other contemporary hip-hop artists, but with a combined net worth of well over $2 billion made them the three richest American musicians, period. Yet their fortunes have little to do with selling their own albums: between Diddy’s Ciroc vodka, Dre’s $3 billion sale of his Beats headphones to Apple, and Jay-Z’s Tidal streaming service and other assets, these artists have transcended pop music fame to become lifestyle icons and moguls.
Hip-hop is no longer just a musical genre; it’s become a way of life that encompasses fashion, film, food, drink, sports, electronics and more – one that has opened new paths to profit and to critical and commercial acclaim. Thanks in large part to the Three Kings-who all started their own record labels and released classic albums before moving on to become multifaceted businessmen-hip-hop has been transformed from a genre spawned in poverty into a truly global multibillion-dollar industry.
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?