"The present generation sees everything clearly, it is amazed and laughs at the folly of its ancestors...and self-confidently enters on a fresh set of errors at which their descendants will laugh again later on.”

-Nikolai Gogol, Dead Souls

July 15th - 21st -- Join us for CHQ 2018 Week 4: Russia and the West

A quarter-century has passed since the collapse of the Soviet Union — and the promise of new relationship with the West — yet we find ourselves at what some consider the brink of a new Cold War. What has happened to damage relations between Russia and the West over 25 years, how have power dynamics changed in the age of digital and information warfare, and what must we understand about the recent history of Vladimir Putin’s Russia and its relationship with the West and the world? Building upon the work of the Chautauqua Conferences on U.S.-Soviet Relations of the 1980s and 1990s, we reaffirm our need for a deeper cultural understanding of Russia, its history and its people.

Check out the titles below as well as our collection of Week 4 Speaker Books.


Who Lost Russia?: How the World Entered a New Cold War Cover Image
The Invention of Russia: The Rise of Putin and the Age of Fake News Cover Image
Living in . . . Russia (Living In...) Cover Image
Russian Roulette: The Inside Story of Putin's War on America and the Election of Donald Trump Cover Image
Lenin on the Train Cover Image
The Road to Unfreedom: Russia, Europe, America Cover Image
Russia Reconsidered: Putin, Power, and Pragmatism Cover Image
The Golden Treasure Trove of the Russian Museum Cover Image

"It is a happy talent to know how to play. Some men must always work if they would be respectable; for the moment they trifle, they are silly. Others show most talent when they trifle."

- Ralph Waldo Emerson

July 8th - 14th -- Join us for CHQ 2018 Week 3: The Art of Play

Play is critically important in the social and emotional development of a child, but research also tells us that play shouldn’t end when we grow up. This week, we take a multigenerational approach to play, to the act of instructive fun. How does play help people of all ages build community, keep our minds sharp and strengthen the relationships with those we love? From the free-spirited, free-form play of youth to the intellectual challenge of puzzles and games to the creative problem-solving exhibited in board rooms, we examine the science behind the importance of play, the changing culture of play and gaming, and the innovative work aimed at improving our personal and professional lives through play.

Check out the titles below as well as our collection of Week 3 Speaker Books.


Children at Play: An American History Cover Image
Outside the Lines, Too: An Inspired and Inventive Coloring Book by Creative Masterminds Cover Image
Living Out Loud: Activities to Fuel a Creative Life Cover Image
Wonderland: How Play Made the Modern World Cover Image
Wreck This Journal (Paper Bag): To Create Is to Destroy Cover Image
The Encyclopedia of Immaturity: How to Never Grow Up: The Complete Guide Cover Image
101 Things for Kids to Do Outside Cover Image
The Snowy Day Cover Image

“American history is a quagmire, and the more one knows, the quaggier the mire gets.”

-Sarah Vowell, The Partly Cloudy Patriot

July 1st - 7th -- Join us for CHQ 2018 Week 2: American Identity

Who are we as Americans? Everyone has their own definition of the American identity, and most agree it’s being lost. A recent poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research found that 71 percent of Americans feel the United States is losing its national identity — that is, the beliefs and values the country represents. During this week, we reach across the aisles of both politics and faith. We examine how we’ve defined American identity throughout our history and the stories we’ve told to shape that identity; the political, economic and social factors that shape our contemporary definitions; and what these different national identities — at times in conflict with one another — mean for our democracy and the prosperity of all Americans. We’ll consider whether a new foundation of American identity is necessary — or even possible.

Check out the titles below as well as our collection of Week 2 Speaker Books.


Real American: A Memoir Cover Image
America the Ingenious: How a Nation of Dreamers, Immigrants, and Tinkerers Changed the World Cover Image
#notyourprincess: Voices of Native American Women Cover Image
It Occurs to Me That I Am America: New Stories and Art Cover Image
A People's History of the United States Cover Image
How to Slowly Kill Yourself and Others in America Cover Image
Americanah Cover Image
How Artists See America: East South Midwest West Cover Image

"Fairy tales are more than true: not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten."

-Neil Gaiman, Coraline

June 24th - 30th -- Join us for CHQ 2018 Week 1: The Life of the Written Word

Language is a living and dynamic thing, passed along through writing. Words and the act of writing can erase or reclaim history, identity. We write to communicate our truths, and we read to understand, to gain new perspectives, new knowledge, and new empathy. For these reasons, the literary arts find themselves at the forefront of cultural, political, and artistic conversations in the U.S. and around the world. As the line between writer and reader is blurred, we recognize that human beings are storytellers as well as story readers. In this weeklong festival, Chautauqua builds upon its traditions as a literary community, and we hold up the power of language and pledge to be responsible stewards of that power.

Check out the titles below, as well as our collection of Week 1 Speaker Books.

The Word Collector Cover Image
The Forgotten Founding Father: Noah Webster's Obsession and the Creation of an American Culture Cover Image
Remarkable Books: The World's Most Beautiful and Historic Works Cover Image
Black Ink: Literary Legends on the Peril, Power, and Pleasure of Reading and Writing Cover Image

The Chautauqua Janus Prize

Chautauqua Institution is delighted to announce Atlas of the Body (Black Lawrence Press) by Nicole Cuffy as the 2018 winner of The Chautauqua Janus Prize.

The Chautauqua Janus Prize, awarded for the first time in 2018, celebrates an emerging writer’s single work of short fiction or nonfiction for daring formal and aesthetic innovations that upset and reorder literary conventions, historical narratives, and readers’ imaginations. In addition to receiving a $2,500 award, the winner will give a lecture on the grounds during the summer season and appear in a forthcoming issue of the literary journal Chautauqua. The prize is funded by a generous donation from Barbara and Twig Branch.

Named for Janus, the Roman god who looks to both the past and the future, the prize will honor writing with a command of craft that renovates our understandings of both.


Atlas of the Body Cover Image

The CHQ Season is almost here, and the Bookstore is expanding its hours

Monday, June 18th: 8am-7pm
Tuesday, June 19th: 8am-7pm
Wednesday, June 20th: 8am-8pm
Thursday, June 21st: 8am-9pm
Friday, June 22nd: 7am-9pm

The Bookstore's Full Season Hours of 7am-9pm will continue until the close of the CHQ Season in August.


June 14th is GIVE BIG CHQ

Chautauqua Institution joins more than 60 local nonprofit organizations in the region's first 24-hour online fundraising event, GIVE BIG CHQ. Sponsored by the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation, #GiveBigCHQ celebrates the spirit of giving, and participating nonprofits have the opportunity to leverage the generosity of its supporters with $15,000 being offered in cash prizes throughout a 24-hour window.

[Edit: Thank you everyone for your support.  Chautauqua Institution raised 139% of its goal to to support its partnership with local schools and educators to offer free arts experiences for students throughout the year.  Check out the links below for more information on the results of the event for all participating organizations.]

More information on GiveBigCHQ

Donate to GiveBigCHQ [and see donation results]


2018 Winner of The Chautauqua Prize Announced

Chautauqua Institution has announced the 2018 winner of The Chautauqua Prize.  The Fact of a Body: a murder and a memoir by Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich is, in the words of Chautauqua Institution President Michael E. Hill, "a difficult and necessary book...By bringing this book into the center of a conversation, we can learn valuable lessons from one another about healing, empathy, and bearing witness."

Part reportage and part memoir, The Fact of a Body: A Murder and a Memoir follows a young law student through her early career as she digs into both her own past, and the past of a convicted murderer. In a book 10 years in the making, Marzano-Lesnevich shows how the law is more personal than we would like to believe, creating a “gripping” story of “great importance.” Readers called it “an extraordinary memoir” that is “brave and intimate.”

The Chautauqua Prize, this year awarded for the seventh time, is an annual prize that celebrates a book of fiction or literary/narrative nonfiction that provides a richly rewarding reading experience and honors the author for a significant contribution to the literary arts.

This year's author reading will take place August 3rd at 3:30 in the Hall of Philosophy.

Week 9 CLSC Selection Announced

Stanton's Horse Soldiers is the dramatic account of a small band of Special Forces soldiers who secretly entered Afghanistan following 9/11 and rode to war on horses against the Taliban. Outnumbered forty to one, they pursued the enemy army across the mountainous Afghanistan terrain and, after a series of intense battles, captured the strategically essential city of Mazar-i-Sharif. Then the action took a wholly unexpected turn. Deeply researched and beautifully written, Stanton’s account was recently adapted into the 2018 Jerry Bruckheimer feature film 12 Strong.

Doug Stanton is the author of the New York Times bestsellers In Harm’s Way: The Sinking of the USS Indianapolis and the Extraordinary Story of Its Survivors and Horse Soldiers: The Extraordinary Story of a Band of US Soldiers Who Rode to Victory in Afghanistan. His most recent book is The Odyssey of Echo Company The 1968 Tet Offensive and the Epic Battle to Survive the Vietnam War.

The CLSC presentation for Horse Soldiers will take place in the Hall of Philosophy at 3:30 on Thursday, August 23rd 2018.

10 Reasons You’ll Love a Summer Job at Chautauqua Bookstore


  1. We’re a hop, skip, and a jump (almost literally) from a beautiful lakeside park – the lunch break location of your dreams.
  2. Employees get a free CHQ gate pass – so you can attend world-class lectures & performances all summer long.
  3. Booksignings!  At the height of the summer season, we can have 3-4 signings per day.
  4. Flexible hours.  During the summer, we’re open 14 hours a day, 7 days a week – which gives more opportunities to find a schedule that works for you.
  5. The bibliosmia!  The Bookstore might be 100+ years old, but nothing beats that new-book smell.
  6. Your bookshelves are calling – shhhh – there’s an employee discount.
  7. Our association with the Chautauqua lecture platform and programs gives the opportunity to discover great books on interesting subjects (and occasionally meet the authors).
  8. Two words: Candy Bucket.
  9. Your fellow employees. (Trust me; we’re pretty great.)
  10. We appreciate you!  With our full gamut of book and non-book departments, we welcome diverse skill sets, interests, and experience in our staff.

[Edit: our seasonal positions are just about full.  Feel free to check in.]

We hire a number of seasonal employees to help with our busy summer season, with positions geared towards customer service, accounting, and stockroom operations.

Several positions run spring through fall, while the majority are based around our 9-week summer Season.  All positions include a free gate pass to Chautauqua Institution and its general programming.

We welcome your interest and expertise.

Chautauqua Bookstore employees c. 1930.


Week 6 CLSC Selection Announced

Award-winning journalist Jessica Bruder will present Nomadland: Surviving America in the 21st Century during Week Six: The Changing Nature of Work.

For Nomadland, Bruder spent three years on the road following the stories of a new, low-cost labor pool, "workampers," -- transient laborers made up largely of older Americans affected by the Great Recession.

The CLSC presentation will take place at 3:30 Thursday, August 2nd, 2018 at the Hall of Philosophy.

New CLSC selection announced

Call Me Zebra - a Week 5 CLSC Selection Call Me Zebra by Azareen Van der Vliet Oloomi is the Week 5 CLSC Selection.  Van der Vliet Oloomi's second novel follows the experiences of Zebra as she backtracks through the places her family of "anarchists, atheists, and autodidacts," has lived on their path from Iran to America.  Looking for answers both for her personal past and her forthcoming manifesto, Zebra's take on the world and her experiences grants access to a unique narrative.

Van der Vliet Oloomi is the winner of a 2015 Whiting Writers’ Award, a National Book Foundation “5 Under 35” honoree, and the recipient of a MacDowell Fellowship and a Fulbright Fellowship in Fiction.  She currently teaches in the M.F.A. Program in Creative Writing at the University of Notre Dame.  She will present her novel July 26th, 2018 at 3:30 in the Hall of Philosophy (Week 5 theme: The Ethics of Dissent).


Just Announced! New CLSC Selections

The Chautauqua Institution's Department of Education has just announced two new 2018 selections for the Chautauqua Literary and Scientific Circle. 

Prairie Fires is a Week 2 CLSC SelectionWeek 2 selection Prairie Fires: The American Dreams of Laura Ingalls Wilder by Caroline Fraser is a compelling social history of Wilder's life and times. 

Fraser is the author of two other books, God's Perfect Child: Living and Dying in the Christian Science Church and Rewilding the World: Dispatches from the Conservation Revolution, and edited the Library of America edition of the Little House Books.

The CLSC presentation will take place Thursday, July 5, 2018 at 3:30 in the Hall of Philosophy during the week on American Identity.Week 3 CLSC Selection: The Changeling

The Changeling, a novel by Victor LaValle, melds age-old myth with today's reality, and is this years Week 3 CLSC selection. 

LaValle is an Associate Professor at Columbia University, and has written six other works of fiction.

The CLSC presentation for The Changeling will take place Thursday, July 12, 2018 at 3:30 in the Hall of Philosophy.



Week 4 CLSC Selections Available

Two CLSC Selections have been announced for Week 4 (2018).

Other Russias by graphic artist and activist Victoria Lomasko is a collection of graphic journalism and an extraordinary portrait of Russia in the Putin years.  Lomasko is a graduate of the Moscow State University of Printing Arts, and now works as a graphic artist, with a particular focus on graphic reportage.

The CLSC Presentation for Other Russias will take place on Tuesday, July 17, 2018 at 3:30.

The second Week 4 selection, A Gentleman in Moscow, is a novel about a man sentenced to house arrest during some of the most tumultuous decades in Russian history. 

Author Amor Towles' presentation will take place Thursday, July 19th, also at 3:30.