CLSC Announcements: One Hundred Saturdays & The Lincoln Highway

The Department of Education has announced One Hundred Saturdays: Stella Levi and the Search for a Lost World by Michael Frank, as a Chautauqua Literary and Scientific Circle selection for Week One of the 2023 Summer Assembly Season: “On Friendship.”

One Hundred Saturdays by Michael Frank with CLSC badgeOne Hundred Saturdays is the remarkable story of ninety-nine-year-old Stella Levi whose conversations with the writer Michael Frank over the course of six years bring to life the vibrant world of Jewish Rhodes, the deportation to Auschwitz that extinguished ninety percent of her community, and the resilience and wisdom of the woman who lived to tell the tale.

 Probing and courageous, candid and sly, Stella is a magical modern-day Scheherazade whose stories reveal what it was like to grow up in an extraordinary place in an extraordinary time—and to construct a life after that place has vanished. One Hundred Saturdays is a portrait of one of the last survivors drawn at nearly the last possible moment, as well as an account of a tender and transformative friendship that develops between storyteller and listener as they explore the fundamental mystery of what it means to collect, share, and interpret the deepest truths of a life deeply lived.

 Michael Frank is the author of What Is Missing, a novel, and The Mighty Franks, a memoir, which was awarded the 2018 JQ Wingate Prize and was named one of the best books of the year by The Telegraph and The New Statesman.  One Hundred Saturdays received the Jewish Book Council’s Natan Notable Book Award and was one of the Wall Street Journal’s top ten books of 2022.  Frank is a 2020 Guggenheim Fellow and lives with his family in New York City and Camogli, Italy. 

The Department of Education has also announced The Lincoln Highway  by Amor Towles as both a Chautauqua Lecture Series confirmation and Chautauqua Literary and Scientific Circle selection for Week Five: “Infrastructure: Building and Maintaining the Physical, Social and Civic Underpinnings of Society.”The Lincoln Highway by Amor Towles with CLSC badge

Amor Towles’ beloved novels — translated into more than 30 languages — have each been New York Times bestsellers, collectively selling more than 6 million copies. His latest, 2021’s The Lincoln Highway, debuted at No. 1 on The New York Times bestseller list, was a “Today Show” Read with Jenna Book Club Pick, one of The New York Times’ 100 Notable Books of 2021 and a Washington Post Best Book of the Year. A propulsive, road-trip novel set in 1950s America, it is this book that Towles returns to the grounds to discuss in a joint Chautauqua Lecture Series and Chautauqua Literary and Scientific Circle presentation, uplifting the legacy of the first transcontinental highway in the United States and its place in both our country’s legacy and its infrastructure. 

Having worked as an investment professional for over 20 years, Towles published his first novel, Rules of Civility, in 2011. Named by The Wall Street Journal as one of the best books of 2011, its French translation received the 2012 Prix Fitzgerald. His second novel, A Gentleman in Moscow, which was a CLSC selection in 2018 and saw Towles take the podium at the Hall of Philosophy that summer, was named one of the best books of 2016 by the Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, the Philadelphia Inquirer, the San Francisco Chronicle, and NPR. Both Bill Gates and President Barack Obama included A Gentleman in Moscow and The Lincoln Highway on their annual book recommendation lists.  

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One Hundred Saturdays: Stella Levi and the Search for a Lost World By Michael Frank, Maira Kalman (Illustrator) Cover Image
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The Lincoln Highway: A Novel By Amor Towles Cover Image

New CLSC Selection Announced: Under the Skin

photo of book "Under the Skin" with CLSC badge

Chautauqua Institution's Department of Education has announced Under the Skin: The Hidden Toll of Racism on American Lives and on the Health of Our Nationby Linda Villarosa, as a Chautauqua Literary and Scientific Circle selection for Week Four of the 2023 Summer Assembly Season: “The State of Believing.”

Named a best book of 2022 by 6 publications, including NPR, the Washington Post, and the New York Times, Under the Skin is “perhaps the most important and thought-provoking publication of the year,” (Oprah Daily).

 Under the Skin is a landmark book that tells the full story of racial health disparities in America by revealing the toll racism takes on individuals and public health. Villarosa lays bare the forces in the American health-care system and in American society that cause Black people to “live sicker and die quicker” compared to their white counterparts. Study after study of medical settings show worse treatment and outcomes for Black patients. Black people live in dirtier, more polluted communities due to environmental racism and neglect from all levels of government. And, most powerfully, Villarosa describes the new understanding that coping with the daily scourge of racism ages Black people prematurely.

In addition to being a CLSC Selection, Under the Skin has been selected in collaboration with Chautauqua’s African American Heritage House as the Mirror Project Reading Circle selection for April 2023, and the Chautauqua County Book Read selection in partnership with Chautauqua’s IDEA office, the YWCA of Jamestown, and other local organizations. More information about the county wide book read will be available at around mid-February. All Chautauquans are invited to participate in either book read options as both in-person and online discussion groups will be available.

 Author and New York Times Magazine journalist, Linda Villarosa is the author of 2023 CLSC selection, Under the Skin: The Hidden Toll of Racism on American Lives and on the Health of Our Nation, which was named one of the New York Times 10 Best Books of 2022. As a contributor to The New York Times’ Pulitzer Prize-winning 1619 Project and The 1619 Project: A New Origin Story, she traced the race-based physiological myths that have endured since slavery and continue to plague medicine today. A former executive editor of Essence Magazine, Villarosa is a member of the Association of LGBTQ Journalists (NLGJA) Hall of Fame, and has been recognized with numerous awards from organizations including the American Medical Writers’ Association, the New York Association of Black Journalists, the National Women’s Political Caucus, and many others. Villarosa is a graduate of the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at CUNY, was a finalist for the National Magazine Award. She teaches journalism, English and Black Studies at the City College of New York.

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Under the Skin: The Hidden Toll of Racism on American Lives and on the Health of Our Nation By Linda Villarosa Cover Image

Weekend Sleigh Rides

Sleigh (or wagon) rides are back!

Rides are expected every Saturday and Sunday in January and February, beginning on New Year's Eve, December 31.

Rides will begin at 1pm, leaving from the parking lot next to the Bookstore roughly every half-hour.  The last ride leaves around 3pm.  Rides are approximately 40 minutes long, so please dress for the weather.  Rides may be cancelled due to rain, ice, or unsafe temperatures.

There are no reservations.  Tickets are $5 for adults and $3 for children, and may be purchased at the Bookstore on the day.  We do not start selling tickets until rides for the day are confirmed, which is sometimes when the horses arrive!

We hope to see you there!

Snow Horses: A First Night Story By Patricia MacLachlan, Micha Archer (Illustrator) Cover Image

New CLSC Selection Announced: The Wild Fox of Yemen

Chautauqua Institution's Department of Education has announced The Wild Fox of Yemen, by Threa Almontaser, as a Chautauqua Literary and Scientific Circle selection for Week Nine of the 2023 Summer Assembly Season: “The Global South: Expanding the Scope of Geopolitical Understanding.”

 The winner of the Walt Whitman Award of the Academy of American Poets, The Wild Fox of Yemen won both the 2021 Maya Angelou Book Award and the 2021 Brooklyn Public Library Literary Prize, among other distinctions. photo of book 'The Wild Fox of Yemen' with CLSC badge

 Threa Almontaser’s debut collection of poems asks how mistranslation can be a form of self-knowledge and survival. A love letter to the country and people of Yemen, a portrait of young Muslim womanhood in New York after 9/11, and an extraordinarily composed examination of what it means to carry in the body the echoes of what came before, Almontaser’s polyvocal collection sneaks artifacts to and from worlds, repurposing language and adapting to the space between cultures. 

During a week when we will turn our focus to the global south for what we have too often overlooked or misunderstood from these parts of the world, we will consider, through The Wild Fox of Yemen and Almontaser’s presentation, the role of language and what might lay beyond the limits of the American imagination.

 Threa Almontaser is the author of the debut poetry collection The Wild Fox of Yemen (CLSC 2023), nominated for the National Book Awards and winner of the Walt Whitman Award from the Academy of American poets, the Maya Angelou Book Award, the Brooklyn Public Library Literary Prize, and the Arab American Book Award. She is a recipient of writing fellowships from Duke University and the Fulbright Program. She earned her MFA from North Carolina State University and teaches English to immigrants and refugees in her area. 

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The Wild Fox of Yemen: Poems By Threa Almontaser Cover Image

Bookstore News

photo of childrens toys and books from Chautauqua Bookstorephoto of gift and book assortment  We will be closed on Thursday November 24th for Thanksgiving. 

Chautauqua Bookstore is also once again a drop off for Toys for Tots.  Please bring your unwrapped gifts by Dec. 10. Any toys or books purchased at the Bookstore to be left as a donation will be 25% off.

New CLSC Selection Announced: American Midnight

(book photo) American Midnight by Adam Hochschild with CLSC badgeThursday, August 17th 2023 @ 3:30 pm - 4:30 pm

A National Bestseller and a New Yorker “Best Books of 2022”, American Midnight is the latest book by legendary historian Adam Hochschild.

In American Midnight, the author of King Leopold’s Ghost turns his attention to a period often overlooked in the history of the United States, the years between 1917 to 1921, when the foundations of American democracy were threatened by war, pandemic, and violence fueled by battles over race, immigration, and the rights of labor.

Hochschild brings alive through intensive research the horrifying yet inspiring four years following the U.S. entry into the First World War, spotlighting forgotten repression while celebrating an unforgettable set of Americans who strove to fix their fractured country – and showing how their struggle still guide us today.

Adam Hochschild writes frequently about issues of human rights and social justice. The latest of his eleven books is American Midnight: The Great War, a Violent Peace, and Democracy’s Forgotten Crisis (2023 CLSC). King Leopold’s Ghost: A Story of Greed, Terror and Heroism in Colonial Africa was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, as was To End All Wars: A Story of Loyalty and Rebellion, 1914-1918. His Bury the Chains: Prophets and Rebels in the Fight to Free an Empire’s Slaves was a finalist for the National Book Award and won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize and the PEN USA Literary Award. He has also written for the New Yorker, the Atlantic, the Nation, and many other magazines, and teaches at UC Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism.

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American Midnight: The Great War, a Violent Peace, and Democracy's Forgotten Crisis By Adam Hochschild Cover Image

Chautauqua is Reading Rushdie Together

header image: Reading Rushdie Together

We are keeping Sir Salman Rushdie in our thoughts as we continue to read and share his work. Starting on October 1, 2022, we invite you to read with us his novel, Midnight's Children. Each day, we will read together 10 pages and reflect on them.  Each day around noontime Chautauqua Literary Arts social media pages will post a sentence or short reflection on the passage read to which we ask that you add your voice. Ask your family, friends, and colleagues to join as well.


Midnight's Children: A Novel (Modern Library 100 Best Novels) By Salman Rushdie Cover Image

First 2023 CLSC Announcements

Two CLSC selections for 2023 have been announced!

photograph of Damnation Spring by Ash Davidson, with CLSC selection badgeThe Week Seven selection is Damnation Spring by Ash Davidson (Simon & Schuster).

Colleen and Rich Gundersen are raising their young son, Chub, on the rugged California coast. It’s 1977, and life in this Pacific Northwest logging town isn’t what it used to be. For generations, the community has lived and breathed timber; now, that way of life is threatened. Told in prose as clear as a spring-fed creek, Damnation Spring is an intimate, compassionate portrait of a family whose bonds are tested and a community clinging to a vanishing way of life. An extraordinary story of the transcendent, enduring power of love —between husband and wife, mother and child, and longtime neighbors. An essential novel for our times.

The Week Six selection is The Ministry for the Future by Kim Stanley Robinson (Hatchette Book Group). photo of The Ministry for the Future by Kim Stanley Robinson, with CLSC selection badge

The Ministry for the Future is a masterpiece of the imagination, using fictional eyewitness accounts to tell the story of how climate change will affect us all. Its setting is not a desolate, post-apocalyptic world but a future almost upon us. Chosen by Barack Obama as one of his favorite books of the year, this extraordinary novel from visionary science fiction writer Kim Stanley Robinson will change how you think about the climate crisis. 

CLSC Season Theme 2023: Imagination

Imagination is essential to storytelling and to our experiences of reading and learning. To imagine evokes the individual and the collective and invites all its users to be absorbed in creativity, resourcefulness, possibility, and insightfulness. Imagination encourages us to speculate, to conceptualize our past and present, and offer alternative futures as universes full of life and potential. To imagine, we must reflect on our history and epistemologies – how we know what we know – to consider our present as an assemblage of what could have been and what could be. When considering imagination, it’s essential to ask: What possibilities does individual and collective imagining hold for our world? How do we inspire imagination? How and why do we convey our imaginings to one another? Whose imagination becomes reality and why? Can imagination go too far? How do we promote imaginations that are more encompassing in their reaches, instead of those that benefit only a select few? The power of imagination is represented in various forms, such as stories, performances, campaigns, propaganda, national places, and societal norms. This year, the CLSC will explore imaginings old and new: from the muffled and the bold, to the comforting and the unsettling, the local and universal, and more.

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Damnation Spring By Ash Davidson Cover Image
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The Ministry for the Future: A Novel By Kim Stanley Robinson Cover Image
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Damnation Spring By Ash Davidson Cover Image
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The Ministry for the Future: A Novel By Kim Stanley Robinson Cover Image

Rebecca Donner’s ‘All The Frequent Troubles Of Our Days’ Wins 2022 Chautauqua Prize

Chimage: All the Frequent Troubles of Our Days photo cardautauqua 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.”

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All the Frequent Troubles of Our Days: The True Story of the American Woman at the Heart of the German Resistance to Hitler By Rebecca Donner Cover Image
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All the Frequent Troubles of Our Days: The True Story of the American Woman at the Heart of the German Resistance to Hitler By Rebecca Donner, Rebecca Donner (Read by) Cover Image