Chautauqua Institution is a community that values and celebrates reading, and since 1994, the CLSC Young Readers program has engaged young Chautauquans and community members in the enjoyment of good reading. Each summer, a selection of books are chosen for their quality, the variety of their styles and subjects, and their appeal to young readers. While aimed at 9- to 14-year-olds, these books will also delight younger and older readers.
New for the 2022 Summer Assembly, we’ve expanded the Young Readers selections to include titles for early readers and their families. Weekly book discussions and themed activities will be held at 1 p.m. Sundays on the Hultquist Center porch. We encourage all families and kids to join us at these sessions whether you’ve finished reading the week’s book or are waiting to get started.
Chautauqua Institution has announced All the Frequent Troubles of Our Days: The True Story of the American Woman at the Heart of the German Resistance to Hitler (Little, Brown and Company) by Rebecca Donner as the 2022 winner of The Chautauqua Prize.
Awarded annually since 2012, The Chautauqua Prize celebrates a book of fiction or literary/narrative nonfiction that provides a richly rewarding reading experience and to honor the author for a significant contribution to the literary arts. As author of this year’s winning book, Donner receives $7,500, and will be presented with the Prize during a celebratory event and public reading at 3:30 p.m. EDT Friday, Aug. 5, 2022, in Chautauqua’s Hall of Philosophy.
“I am immeasurably grateful to Chautauqua Institution for this honor,” Donner said. “During this fraught time in the world, with authoritarianism worryingly on the rise, the story of Mildred Harnack’s audacious opposition to Hitler is more relevant and urgent than ever.”
All the Frequent Troubles of Our Days: The True Story of the American Woman at the Heart of the German Resistance to Hitler is Donner’s chronicle of the extraordinary life and brutal death of her great-great-aunt Mildred Harnack, the American leader of one of the largest underground resistance groups in Germany during World War II — the only American in the leadership of the German resistance, in fact, yet almost unknown until now. Donner draws on her extensive archival research as well as newly uncovered documents in her family archive, fusing elements of biography, real-life political thriller, and scholarly detective story. Prize readers lauded Donner’s prescient use of the present tense in this “stunning” book of history and biography, calling it a “striking triumph.” “Through exhaustive research and terrific narrative, she breathes new life into biography, creating a book that reads like a suspense drama … and transcends history with a powerful message for our times,” according to one reader. “Explorations into individual courage, the fragility of democracy, the lure of demagoguery, the consequences of economic insecurity, … could hardly be more urgent.”
Sony Ton-Aime, Chautauqua Institution’s Michael I. Rudell Director of Literary Arts, who holds the endowed position named for the man who initially inspired and supported The Chautauqua Prize, described All the Frequent Troubles of Our Days as “one of those rare books that is both extremely important and offers an engaging reading experience.”
“It is truly the kind of book that The Chautauqua Prize was founded to elevate,” Ton-Aime said. “With dazzling prose and innovative storytelling, it reimagines history writing and, frankly, raises the bar for all future historians. Mildred Harnack’s extraordinary life was indeed a saga, and Rebecca Donner, in this epic telling, did it justice.”
Chautauqua Institution's Department of Education has announced Great Circle by Maggie Shipstead as a Chautauqua Literary and Scientific Circle selection for Week Six of the 2022 Summer Assembly Season: “After Dark: The World of Nighttime.”
Great Circle is a “masterclass in historical fiction” according to The Telegraph. In effortless and dazzling prose, Maggie Shipstead weaves together an expansive story that covers more than a century.
After being rescued as infants from a sinking ocean liner in 1914, Marian and Jamie Graves are raised by their dissolute uncle in Missoula, Montana. There–after encountering a pair of barnstorming pilots passing through town in beat-up biplanes–Marian commences her lifelong love affair with flight. At fourteen she drops out of school and finds an unexpected and dangerous patron in a wealthy bootlegger who provides a plane and subsidizes her lessons, an arrangement that will haunt her for the rest of her life, even as it allows her to fulfill her destiny: circumnavigating the globe by flying over the North and South Poles.
A century later, Hadley Baxter is cast to play Marian in a film that centers on Marian’s disappearance in Antarctica. Vibrant, canny, disgusted with the claustrophobia of Hollywood, Hadley is eager to redefine herself after a romantic film franchise has imprisoned her in the grip of cult celebrity. Her immersion into the character of Marian unfolds, thrillingly, alongside Marian’s own story, as the two women’s fates–and their hunger for self-determination in vastly different geographies and times–collide. Epic and emotional, meticulously researched and gloriously told, Great Circle is a monumental work of art, and a tremendous leap forward for the prodigiously gifted Maggie Shipstead.
Chautauqua Institution has announced ten exceptional books as the 2022 finalists for The Chautauqua Prize, now in its eleventh year. Read the full announcement on chq.org.
Congratulations to all the finalists!
(A note to CLSC members: remember that while the prize-winning selection counts toward graduation requirements, the rest of the list will not. We're excited about all of them, though, and you should read them anyway!)
Chautauqua Institution has announced “Jean” by Stephanie Nina Pitsirilos as the winner of the 2022 Chautauqua Janus Prize.
As the author selected from five finalists by guest judge Aisha Sabatini Sloan, Pitsirilos will receive $5,000 and will give a public lecture and reading at a celebratory event 5 p.m. EDT Wednesday, Aug. 10, 2022, in the parlor of the Athenaeum Hotel as part of the Chautauqua Institution’s 2022 Summer Assembly.
A prose and comic book writer with work in numerous anthologies and a 2021 Broken Pencil finalist zinester, Pitsirilos has been called a new voice “transforming the genres” of science fiction and fantasy, and “revitalizing the short comic form.” She holds degrees from the University of Michigan and Columbia University. She’s also a board member of Graphic Mundi (Penn State University Press) and a submissions panelist for CEX Publishing.
“Jean,” which first appeared in Speculative Fiction for Dreamers: A Latinx Anthology (Mad Creek Books, 2021) is “a bold and masterful rearranging of genres, part speculative fiction, part family memoir, that uses comic book pop culture to tell a deeply moving story of intergenerational trauma in the United States,” said Sony Ton-Aime, the Michael I. Rudell Director of Literary Arts at Chautauqua Institution.
“This, right here,” Ton-Aime said, “is the kind of writing that the Chautauqua Janus Prize was founded to find and celebrate.”
It’s a sentiment that Pitsirilos shares.
“When I saw that there was a prize echoing the Sankofa — a bird that brings the past to the present as it moves to the future — a prize that welcomes new voices, but with a Roman name … I felt welcome to submit,” Pitsirilos said. “Receiving the Chautauqua Janus Prize is an affirmation of intuition, of breaking the rules. It celebrates that I’m carving a road for myself and my art of storytelling with the support of readers, editors and institutions. It’s a call for my longer works to be given their place."
The 2022 American Indian Youth Literature Picture Book Honor and 2022 Robert F. Sibert Honor Book, We Are Still Here!: Native American Truths Everyone Should Know by Traci Sorell, presents historical and contemporary laws, policies, struggles, and victories in Native Life, each with the powerful refrain, We Are Still Here, of twelve Native American kids. It is illustrated by Frane Lessac.
Too often, Native American history is treated as a finished chapter instead of relevant and ongoing. We Are Still Here! offers readers everything they never learned in school about Native American people’s past present, and future. Precise, lyrical writing present topics including: forced assimilation (such as boarding schools), land allotment and Native tribal reorganization, termination (the US government not recognizing tribes as nations), Native Urban relocation (from reservations), self-determination (tribal self-empowerment), Native civil rights, the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA), religious freedom, economic development (including casino development), Native language revival efforts, cultural persistence, and nationhood.
We Are Still Here! is appropriate for readers aged 7 to 10 years old.
Traci Sorell writes fiction and nonfiction books as well as poems for children. A former federal Indian law attorney and policy advocate, she is an enrolled citizen of the Cherokee Nation and lives in northeastern Oklahoma where her tribe is located.
In addition to her CLSC Young Readers presentation, Ms. Sorell will visit the Prendergast Library on June 30th for a meeting with our community.
This presentation is made possible in part by a grant from Elise M. Besthoff Charitable Foundation, Inc.
The YWCA of Jamestown and Chautauqua Institution have announced a new, county-wide initiative – The Chautauqua County Book Read. Caste: The Origins of our Discontent by Isabel Wilkerson is the selected common read book. The purpose of this shared book read is to engage Chautauqua County residents, businesses, nonprofits and organizations to help heal our divides and propel participants to be engaged citizens working towards a more inclusive and just society.
Those interested in participating are invited to register via this registration link. Each participant is also encouraged to attend one book discussion group between May 16-27. In-person and online book discussion groups will be offered. Information on the times and locations of the book discussions is available via the registration link and at https://www.ywcajamestown.com/chqbookread
Additionally, participants are invited to attend a live lecture on Thursday, July 21 with the author, Isabel Wilkerson, at 10:45 a.m. at the Amphitheater on the Chautauqua Institution grounds. This day has been designated as “Chautauqua County Day” at the Institution, and all Chautauqua County residents are eligible for free admission and parking. Tickets for this day will be available beginning June 1 by calling the Chautauqua Institution Ticket Office at 716-357-6250. Free parking is only available with ticket orders made by July 11. This offer may not be combined with a long-term ticket. For more information on this day, please visit: https://chq.org/event/chautauqua-county-day/
Books do not need to be purchased to take part in the program, but please note that many of the Chautauqua-Cattaraugus Library System libraries already have a limited supply of this book.
Chautauqua Institution's Department of Education has announced the following Chautauqua Literary and Scientific Circle selections for 2022:
Ledger by Jane Hirshfield is a Chautauqua Literary and Scientific Circle selection for Week One of the 2022 Summer Assembly Season: “What Should Be America’s Role in the World?”
Naomi Shihab Nye calls Ledger, “some of the most important poetry in the world today.” It is a pivotal book of personal, ecological, and political reckoning tuned toward issues of consequence to all who share this world’s current and future fate. Ledger’s pages hold the most important work yet by Jane Hirshfield, one of our most celebrated contemporary poets. From the already much-quoted opening lines of despair and defiance (“Let them not say: we did not see it. / We saw”), Hirshfield’s poems inscribe a registry, both personal and communal, of our present-day predicaments.
Jane Hirshfield, in poems described by The Washington Post as belonging “among the modern masters” and by The New York Times as “passionate and radiant,” addresses the urgent immediacies of our time. Ranging from the political, ecological, and scientific to the metaphysical, personal, and passionate, Hirshfield praises the radiance of particularity and reckons the consequence of the daily.
Jane Hirshfield was awarded the 70th Academy Fellowship for distinguished poetic achievement by The Academy of American Poets. She was elected a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets, and has been elected into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. In 2017, in conjunction with reading to an estimated 50,000 people on the Washington Mall at the first March For Science, she co-founded Poets For Science, housed with the Wick Poetry Center at Kent State University. Hirshfield has taught at Stanford University, UC Berkeley, Bennington College, and elsewhere. An intimate and profound master of her art, her frequent appearances at universities, writers’ conferences, symposia and festivals in this country and abroad are highly acclaimed. Her poems and essays have been translated into over a dozen languages and her work has been set by numerous composers, including John Adams and Philip Glass.
The Department of Education has also announced Outlawed by Anna North as a Chautauqua Literary and Scientific Circle selection for Week Five of the 2022 Summer Assembly Season: “The Vote and Democracy.”
An instant New York Times bestseller, Indie Next selection, and a Washington Post Best of the Year, Outlawed is terrifying, wise, tender, and thrilling,” according to R.O. Kwon, and is “The Handmaid’s Tale meets Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid…” said Maureen Corrigan.
Featuring an irresistibly no-nonsense, courageous, and determined heroine, Outlawed dusts off the myth of the old West and reignites the glimmering promise of the frontier with an entirely new set of feminist stakes. Anna North has crafted a pulse-racing, page-turning saga about the search for hope in the wake of death, and for truth in a climate of small-mindedness and fear.
Anna North is the author of three novels: Outlawed, America Pacifica, and The Life and Death of Sophie Stark. Published in 2021, Outlawed was a New York Times bestseller and Reese’s Book Club and Belletrist pick. In addition to her fiction writing, she is also a senior correspondent at Vox, covering American work and family life. Previously, she was a writer and editor at the New York Times, Salon, BuzzFeed and Jezebel. She grew up in Los Angeles, graduated from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop in 2009, and now lives in Brooklyn.
Chautauqua Institution's Department of Education has announced the following Chautauqua Literary and Scientific Circle selections for 2022:
Erica Chenoweth Civil Resistance: What Everyone Needs to Know
Week Three — “The Future of Human Rights” 3:30 p.m. Thursday, July 14, 2022 – Hall of Philosophy
In Civil Resistance: What Everyone Needs to Know, Erica Chenoweth — one of the world's leading scholars on the topic — explains what civil resistance is, how it works, why it sometimes fails, how violence and repression affect it, and the long-term impacts of such resistance. Featuring both historical cases of civil resistance and more contemporary examples such as the Arab Awakenings and various ongoing movements in the United States, this book provides a comprehensive yet pithy overview of this enormously important subject.
Erica Chenoweth is the Frank Stanton Professor of the First Amendment at Harvard Kennedy School and a Susan S. and Kenneth L. Wallach Professor at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Studies at Harvard University. At Harvard, they direct the Nonviolent Action Lab, an innovation hub that provides empirical evidence in support of movement-led political transformation. Chenoweth has authored or edited nine books and dozens of articles on mass movements, nonviolent resistance, political violence, revolutions and state repression. Their work has been honored with the 2013 Grawemeyer Award for Ideas Improving World Order, the 2012 best book award from the American Political Science Association, and the Karl Deutsch Award, which the International Studies Association gives annually to the scholar under 40 who has made the greatest impact on the field of international politics or peace research. They hold a Ph.D. and an M.A. in political science from the University of Colorado and a B.A. in political science and German from the University of Dayton.
Ryan Busse Gunfight: My Battle Against the Industry that Radicalized America
Week Eight — “New Profiles in Courage” 3:30 p.m. Thursday, August 18, 2022 – Hall of Philosophy
For 30 years, Ryan Busse chased his childhood dream and built a successful career selling millions of firearms for one of America’s most popular gun companies. He is an avid hunter, outdoorsman, and conservationist — all things that the firearms industry was built on.
In Gunfight, Busse argues that the gun industry has abandoned its self-imposed decency in favor of hardline conservatism and McCarthyesque internal policing, sowing irreparable division in our politics and society. America's gun industry has shifted from prioritizing safety and ethics to one that is addicted to fear, conspiracy, intolerance, and secrecy. He recounts his personal transformation and shows how authoritarianism spreads in the guise of freedom, how voicing one's conscience becomes an act of treason in a culture that demands sameness and loyalty.
Ryan Busse is a former firearms executive who helped build one of the world’s most iconic gun companies and was nominated multiple times by industry colleagues for the prestigious Shooting Industry Person of The Year Award. Busse is an environmental advocate who served in many leadership roles for conservation organizations, including as an advisor for the United States Senate Sportsmen’s Caucus and the Biden Presidential Campaign. He remains a proud outdoorsman, gun owner, father, and resident of Montana.
The Department of Education has announced Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City by Matthew Desmond as the 2022 Chautauqua Literary and Scientific Circle selection for Week Seven: “More Than Shelter: Redefining the American Home.” We are so pleased Desmond will be joining us Tuesday, August 9, 2022 for a dual Chautauqua Lecture Series and Chautauqua Literary and Scientific Circle presentation.
MacArthur “Genius” Matthew Desmond’s Pulitzer Prize-winning bestseller Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City draws on years of embedded fieldwork and painstakingly gathered data to transform our understanding of inequity and economic exploitation in America. In addition to the Pulitzer, Evicted — a landmark work of scholarship and reportage — won the National Books Critics Circle Award, the Andrew Carnegie Medal, the PEN/John Kenneth Galbraith Award, the Heartland Prize, and more, and was named one of the Best Books of 2016 by nearly three dozen media outlets. In 2018, he received the Stowe Prize for Writing to Advance Social Justice, awarded by the Harriet Beecher Stowe Center to authors whose work shines a light on critical social issues. Desmond is the Maurice P. During Professor of Sociology at Princeton University, where he is also the founder and principal investigator of the Eviction Lab, which in 2018 published the first-ever national dataset of evictions in America, collecting millions of data points going back to 2000.
Desmond is a former member of the Harvard Society of Fellows, and was formerly the John L. Loeb Associate Professor of the Social Sciences at Harvard University. He is also the author of the award-winning book On the Fireline: Living and Dying with Wildland Firefighters, the coauthor of two books on race, and the editor of a collection of studies on severe deprivation in America. His work has been supported by the Ford, Russell Sage, and National Science Foundations.
Desmond received his Bachelor of Science degree in communications and justice studies from Arizona State University and his doctorate in sociology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.