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 A grandfather whose failing heart has been replaced by a battery-operated pump; a salesman who found himself a kidney donor on social media; a college student who survived a near fatal overdose and returned home,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.
May 15 @ 6:00 pm
May 31 @ 6:00 pm
What makes a university great? Its faculty? Its students? Its curriculum? All three to be sure. But also its architecture. Great buildings inspire. They transform how we think, how we see, how we learn—how we act. No one who enters the cathedral of Chartres is the same person coming out.
Too often architectural critics focus on theory and analysis of a building rather than the visceral experience of seeing it and being in it. Van Doren is more interested in the stories, in how Yale’s buildings made people feel, not just the academic origins of their style or where their bricks were made. What was it like to live in them, to study in them? What did people remember?
Painter Adam Van Doren speaks to Yale alumni as diverse as actor Sam Waterston, writers Christopher Buckley and David McCullough, Yale librarian Judith Schiff, former NFL great Calvin Hill, architect Cesar Pelli among others, and illustrates his book in gorgeous watercolor paintings of the buildings of Yale that interest him most.
June 4 @ 6:00 pm
New York Times bestselling author Lauren Weisberger returns with a novel starring one of her favorite characters from The Devil Wears Prada—Emily Charlton, first assistant to Miranda Priestly, now a highly successful image consultant who’s just landed the client of a lifetime. Welcome to Greenwich, CT, where the lawns and the women are perfectly manicured, the Tito’s and sodas are extra strong, and everyone has something to say about the infamous new neighbor. Let’s be clear: Emily Charlton, Miranda Priestly’s ex-assistant, does not do the suburbs. She’s working in Hollywood as an image consultant to the stars, but recently, Emily’s lost a few clients. She’s hopeless with social media. The new guard is nipping at her heels. She needs a big opportunity, and she needs it now.