New CLSC Selections Announced: World of Wonders & Mexican WhiteBoy

The Department of Education has announced several new selections for the 2024 Chautauqua Literary and Scientific Circle and CLSC Young Readers programs. 


World of Wonders by Aimee Nezhukumatathil, with CLSC badgeWorld of Wonders: In Praise of Fireflies, Whale Sharks, and Other Astonishments, by Aimee Nezhukumatathil, is a Week Seven CLSC Selection.


As a child, Nezhukumatathil called many places home: the grounds of a Kansas mental institution, where her Filipina mother was a doctor; the open skies and tall mountains of Arizona, where she hiked with her Indian father; and the chillier climes of western New York and Ohio. But no matter where she was transplanted—no matter how awkward the fit or forbidding the landscape—she was able to turn to our world’s fierce and funny creatures for guidance. 


“What the peacock can do,” she tells us, “is remind you of a home you will run away from and run back to all your life.” The axolotl teaches us to smile, even in the face of unkindness; the touch-me-not plant shows us how to shake off unwanted advances; the narwhal demonstrates how to survive in hostile environments. Even in the strange and the unlovely, Nezhukumatathil finds beauty and kinship. For it is this way with wonder: it requires that we are curious enough to look past the distractions in order to fully appreciate the world’s gifts. 


Aimee Nezhukumatathil is the author of the New York Times best-selling illustrated collection of nature essays, World of Wonders: In Praise of Fireflies, Whale Sharks & Other Astonishments. She also wrote four previous poetry collections including Oceanic. Her most recent chapbook is Lace & Pyrite, a collaboration of epistolary garden poems with the poet Ross Gay. Honors include a poetry fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Pushcart Prize, a Mississippi Arts Council grant, and being named a Guggenheim Fellow in poetry. She is poetry editor for Sierra magazine, the story-telling arm of The Sierra Club. She is professor of English and Creative Writing in the University of Mississippi’s MFA program and her forthcoming book of food essays is called Bite By Bite (Ecco, May 2024). 


 Mexican Whiteboy, by Matt de la Pena, with CLSC badgeMexican WhiteBoy, by Matt de le Peña, is a dual CLSC and Young Reader Selection for Week Seven.


Danny’s tall and skinny with arms long enough to give his pitch a power so fierce any college scout would sign him on the spot. A 95-mph fastball, but the boy’s not even on a team. Every time he gets up on the mound, he loses it. But at private school, they don’t expect much else from him. Danny’s brown. Half-Mexican brown. And growing up in San Diego that close to the border means everyone else knows exactly who he is before he even opens his mouth. Before they find out he can’t speak Spanish, and before they realize his mom has blonde hair and blue eyes, they’ve got him pegged. 

Danny’s convinced it’s his whiteness that sent his father back to Mexico. And that’s why he’s spending the summer with his dad’s family. Only, to find himself, he might just have to face the demons he refuses to see right in front oh his face. And open up to a friendship he never saw coming. 

An ALA-YALSA Best Book for Young Adults (Top 10 Pick) and a Junior Library Guild Selection, Mexican WhiteBoy serves as a joint selection for the CLSC and the CLSC Young Readers program. His picture book, Milo Imagines the World, also serves as an Early Reader selection for Week Seven. 


Matt de la Peña is the New York Times Bestselling, Newbery Medal-winning author of seven young adult novels (including Mexican WhiteBoy, We Were Here, and Superman: Dawnbreaker) and six picture books (including Milo Imagines the World and Last Stop on Market Street). In 2016 he was awarded the NCTE Intellectual Freedom Award. Matt received his MFA in creative writing from San Diego State University and his BA from the University of the Pacific where he attended school on a full basketball scholarship. In 2019 Matt was given an honorary doctorate from UOP. de la Peña currently lives in Southern California. He teaches creative writing and visits schools and colleges throughout the country. 


Celebrating the awe this world inspires in all things big and small, the wonder literature encourages us to pursue in our everyday lives as we seek to build a greater understanding of our shared humanity, and the significance of our shared reading experiences, Aimee Nezhukumatathil and Matt de la Peña will be featured together in conversation during our Week Seven CLSC Lecture on August 8, 2024, in the Hall of Philosophy. 

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World of Wonders: In Praise of Fireflies, Whale Sharks, and Other Astonishments By Aimee Nezhukumatathil, Fumi Nakamura (Illustrator) Cover Image
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Mexican WhiteBoy By Matt de la Peña Cover Image

New CLSC Selection Announced: Lost Children Archive

Lost Children Archive by Valeria Luiselli, with CLSC badgeChautauqua Institution's Department of Education has announced Lost Children Archive, by Valeria Luiselli, as a Chautauqua Literary and Scientific Circle selection for Week Four of the 2024 Summer Assembly Season.

In Valeria Luiselli’s fiercely imaginative follow-up to the American Book Award-winning Tell Me How It Ends, an artist couple set out with their two children on a road trip from New York to Arizona in the heat of summer. As the family travels west, the bonds between them begin to fray: a fracture is growing between the parents, one the children can almost feel beneath their feet.

Through ephemera such as songs, maps and a Polaroid camera, the children try to make sense of both their family’s crisis and the larger one engulfing the news: the stories of thousands of kids trying to cross the southwestern border into the United States but getting detained—or lost in the desert along the way. A breath-taking feat of literary virtuosity, Lost Children Archive is timely, compassionate, subtly hilarious, and formally inventive—a powerful, urgent story about what it is to be human in an inhuman world.

Valeria Luiselli was born in Mexico City and grew up in Costa Rica, South Korea, South Africa and India. An acclaimed writer of both fiction and nonfiction, she is the author of Sidewalks, Faces in the Crowd, The Story of My Teeth, and Tell Me How It Ends (An Essay in Forty Questions). Her most recent novel, Lost Children Archive was an international critical and commercial success. It was a New York Times 10 Best Books of 2019, won the Rathbone Folio Prize 2020, the Dublin Award 2021, the Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction, and was nominated for the Women’s Prize for Fiction, and the Booker Prize 2019 among others. In 2019 she was awarded a MacArthur Genius Grant for “challenging conventional notions of authorship in fiction, essays, and inventive hybrids of the two that pose profound questions about the various ways we piece together stories and document the lives of others.” Her work is published in more than thirty languages. She is a professor at Bard College.

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Lost Children Archive: A novel By Valeria Luiselli Cover Image

New CLSC Selection Announced: The First Ladies

The First Ladies by Marie Benedict, Victoria Christopher Murray, with CLSC badgeChautauqua Institution's Department of Education has announced The First Ladies: A Novel, by Marie Benedict and Victoria Christopher Murray, as a Chautauqua Literary and Scientific Circle selection for Week One of the 2024 Summer Assembly Season.

The daughter of formerly enslaved parents, Mary McLeod Bethune refuses to back down as white supremacists attempt to thwart her work. She marches on as an activist and an educator, and as her reputation grows she becomes a celebrity, revered by titans of business and recognized by U.S. Presidents. Eleanor Roosevelt herself is awestruck and eager to make her acquaintance. Initially drawn together because of their shared belief in women’s rights and the power of education, Mary and Eleanor become fast friends confiding their secrets, hopes and dreams—and holding each other’s hands through tragedy and triumph. 


When Franklin Delano Roosevelt is elected president, the two women begin to collaborate more closely, particularly as Eleanor moves toward her own agenda separate from FDR, a consequence of the devastating discovery of her husband’s secret love affair. Eleanor becomes a controversial First Lady for her outspokenness, particularly on civil rights. And when she receives threats because of her strong ties to Mary, it only fuels the women’s desire to fight together for justice and equality. 


This is the story of two different, yet equally formidable, passionate, and committed women, and the way in which their singular friendship helped form the foundation for the modern civil rights movement. 


Marie Benedict is a lawyer with more than ten years’ experience as a litigator. She found her calling unearthing the hidden historical stories of women. Her mission is to excavate from the past the most important, complex and fascinating women of history and bring them into the light of present-day where we can finally perceive the breadth of their contributions as well as the insights they bring to modern day issues. A graduate of Boston College and the Boston University School of Law, she is the New York Times and USAToday bestselling author of The Only Woman in the Room, The Mystery of Mrs. Christie, Carnegie’s Maid, The Other Einstein, and Lady Clementine. All have been translated into multiple languages. She lives in Pittsburgh with her family. 


Victoria Christopher Murray is an acclaimed author with more than one million books in print. She has written more than thirty novels, including Stand Your Ground, a NAACP Image Award Winner for Outstanding Fiction and a Library Journal Best Book of the Year and New York Times Instant Best Sellers, The Personal Librarian and The First Ladies. Both novels, Victoria co-wrote with Marie Benedict. Over her career, Victoria has received numerous awards including the Phyllis Wheatley Trailblazer Award, the Delta Sigma Theta Osceola Award for Excellence in the Arts, Go On Girl Book Club Author of the Year, eleven African American Literary Awards and five NAACP Image Award nominations. In 2016, she won the Image Award for Outstanding Literature for her social commentary novel, Stand Your Ground. A native New Yorker, Victoria Christopher Murray attended Hampton University where she majored in Communication Disorders. After graduating, Victoria attended New York University’s Stern Business School where she received her MBA in Marketing. 

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The First Ladies By Marie Benedict, Victoria Christopher Murray Cover Image

Sleigh rides are back!

Rides are expected eveWintry, horse and sleigh related products sold at Chautauqua Bookstorery Saturday and Sunday in January and February, provided by Stateline Draft Horse Club.

Rides will begin at 1pm, leaving from the parking lot next to the Bookstore roughly every half-hour.  The last ride leaves around 3pm.  The wagons are uncovered, 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 after noon.

We hope to see you here!

Christmas Shipping Notification

Please be aware that as we come closer to Christmas we cannot guarantee arrival dates, and at this point in time, we do not expect orders placed now to arrive before Christmas.  We do not offer rushed shipping on web orders.  Orders placed late in the day will have to be shipped the following day. 

Happy Holidays, and Happy Reading!

Nostalgic Christmas Morning


Still Looking for the Perfect Gift?

Chautauqua Institution Gift Cards may be used in person at the following locations:

  • The Chautauqua Institution Ticket Office (in person or by calling 716-357-6250)
  • Visitors Center in Bestor Plaza
  • Chautauqua Golf Club
  • Chautauqua Health & Fitness Center
  • Dining Locations include:
    • Heirloom Restaurant, The Lobby Lounge at the Athenaeum Hotel, 3 Taps & The A Truck, Brick Walk Cafe, Afterwords Wine Bar, The Gallery Café, and Youth Activities Center
  • Shopping Locations include:
    • Plaza Market, The Gallery Store, Strohl Art Center, Fowler-Kellogg Art Center, Chautauqua Golf Club Pro Shop, and Chautauqua Bookstore

Please note that the Bookstore is only able to accept gift cards as payment in-store, and cannot accept them as payment through this website.

Chautauqua Gift Card
Purchase Gift Cards here.

Thanksgiving Notices

arrangement of calendars, puzzles, and boxed cards (item categories receiving weekend discounts)

We will be closed Thursday, November 23rd for Thanksgiving.

We hope to see you this weekend for our in-store Black Friday deals!  From Friday November 24th through Sunday November 26th, jigsaw puzzles, boxed holiday cards, and calendars will be 25% off, and books will be 20% off, with select bestsellers 40% off.

Although these item discounts are not available to online orders, all web orders will qualify for free shipping from Thanksgiving through the end of November -- we hope you'll take advantage of the complimentary shipping, and help us make sure your order gets to you in plenty of time for the holidays.

Happy Reading!

Cuba’s Kaleidoscope

Since Christopher Columbus declared Cuba part of the Spanish Empire in 1492, the island has served as a way station of New World wealth on its way across the Atlantic, a playground of American mob bosses and literati, and a tropical outpost of communism. The story of its past is told in the streets of its soulful cities, where Russian-made Ladas buzz alongside classic American cars, and majestic façades now stand in various states of decay or restoration. Amid this tableau that seems frozen in time, Cuban creativity is alive and thriving. Join Chautauqua Institution for an in-depth exploration of contemporary Cuba, hearing the unique perspectives of artists and entrepreneurs, farmers and dancers, urban planners and political experts. During five fascinating days in and around Havana, visit family homes as well as important historic sites, enjoy private performances by renowned musicians and dance companies, and meet artists in their studios. Through panel discussions with local experts and interactions with everyday Cubans, gain insights into a rich and storied culture and the challenges and joys of life in Cuba.

Learn more about Chautauqua Travels: Cuba's Kaleidoscope

Chautauqua Bookstore is proud to offer the following reading list to engage travelers in this forthcoming trip as part of the Chautauqua Travels program. 

Recommended Reading:

Cuba (Winner of the Pulitzer Prize): An American History By Dr. Ada Ferrer Cover Image
ISBN: 9781501154560
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Scribner - June 28th, 2022

The Old Man and the Sea: The Hemingway Library Edition By Ernest Hemingway Cover Image
ISBN: 9781476787855
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Scribner - July 19th, 2022

Worm: A Cuban American Odyssey By Edel Rodriguez Cover Image
ISBN: 9781250753977
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Metropolitan Books - November 7th, 2023

First 2024 CLSC Selections Announced!

The Devil's Element by Dan Egan

The Devil’s Element: Phosphorus and a World Out of Balance by Dan Egan is a selection for Week Three: What We Got Wrong: Learning from our mistakes.

The story of phosphorus spans the globe and vast tracts of human history. Phosphorus has played a critical role in some of the most lethal substances on earth: firebombs, rat poison, nerve gas. But it’s also the key component of one of the most vital: fertilizer, which has sustained life for billions of people. As Egan harrowingly reports, our overreliance on this vital crop nutrient is today causing toxic algae blooms and “dead zones” in waterways from the coasts of Florida to the Mississippi River basin to the Great Lakes and beyond. Egan also explores the alarming reality that diminishing access to phosphorus poses a threat to the food system worldwide—which risks rising conflict and even war.

Horse by Geraldine BrooksHorse by Geraldine Brooks is a selection for Week Five: Our Greatest Challenges (That We Can Actually Do Something About).

Kentucky, 1850. An enslaved groom named Jarret and a bay foal forge a bond of understanding that will carry the horse to record-setting victories across the South. When the nation erupts in civil war, an itinerant young artist who has made his name on paintings of the racehorse takes up arms for the Union. On a perilous night, he reunites with the stallion and his groom, far from the glamor of any racetrack. 

 New York City, 1954. Martha Jackson, a gallery owner noted for taking risks, becomes obsessed with a nineteenth-century equestrian oil painting of mysterious provenance.

 Washington, DC, 2019. Jess, a Smithsonian scientist from Australia, and Theo, a Nigerian-American art historian, find themselves unexpectedly connected through their shared interest in the horse—one studying the stallion’s bones for clues to his power and endurance, the other uncovering the lost history of the unsung Black horsemen who were critical to his racing success.


Dances by Nicole CuffyDances: A Novel by Nicole Cuffy is a selection for Week Nine: Rising Together: Our Century of Creativity and Collaboration with Wynton Marsalis.

At twenty-two years old, Cece Cordell reaches the pinnacle of her career as a ballet dancer when she’s promoted to principal at the New York City Ballet. She’s instantly catapulted into celebrity, heralded for her “inspirational” role as the first Black ballerina in the famed company’s history.   Haunted by the feeling that she doesn’t belong, she begins to unravel the loose threads of her past. Cece is faced with a choice that has the potential to derail her career and shatter the life she’s cultivated for herself, sending her on a pilgrimage to both find her brother and reclaim the parts of herself lost in the grinding machinery of the traditional ballet world.

Apple: (Skin to the Core) by Eric GansworthApple: (Skin to the Core) by Eric Gansworth is a combined CLSC and Young Reader selection for Week Six: Exploring the Transformative Power of Music with Renee Fleming.

In Apple: (Skin to the Core), Eric Gansworth tells his story, the story of his family—of Onondaga among Tuscaroras—of Native folks everywhere. From the horrible legacy of the government boarding schools, to a boy watching his siblings leave and return and leave again, to a young man fighting to be an artist who balances multiple worlds. Eric shatters that slur and reclaims it in verse and prose and imagery that truly lives up to the word heartbreaking.





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The Devil's Element: Phosphorus and a World Out of Balance By Dan Egan Cover Image
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Horse: A Novel By Geraldine Brooks Cover Image
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Dances: A Novel By Nicole Cuffy Cover Image
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Apple: (Skin to the Core) By Eric Gansworth Cover Image