New CLSC Selection Announced: How Far the Light Reaches

How Far the Light Reaches by Sabrina Imbler, with CLSC badgeChautauqua Institution's Department of Education has announced How Far the Light Reaches: A Life in Ten Sea Creatures, by Sabrina Imbler, as a Chautauqua Literary and Scientific Circle selection for Week Eight of the 2024 Summer Assembly Season.


A queer, mixed-race writer working in a largely white, male field, science and conservation journalist Sabrina Imbler has always been drawn to the mystery of life in the sea, and particularly to creatures living in hostile or remote environments. Each essay in their debut collection profiles one such creature, including: the mother octopus who starves herself while watching over her eggs, the Chinese sturgeon whose migration route has been decimated by pollution and dams, the bizarre, predatory Bobbitt worm (named after Lorena), the common goldfish that flourishes in the wild, and more.  


Imbler discovers that some of the most radical models of family, community, and care can be found in the sea, from gelatinous chains that are both individual organisms and colonies of clones to deep-sea crabs that have no need for the sun, nourished instead by the chemicals and heat throbbing from the core of the Earth. Exploring themes of adaptation, survival, sexuality, and care, and weaving the wonders of marine biology with stories of their own family, relationships, and coming of age, How Far the Light Reaches Winner of the Los Angeles Times Book Prize in Science & Technology and a Finalist for the Lambda Literary Award is a shimmering, otherworldly debut that attunes us to new visions of our world and its miracles.    


Sabrina Imbler is a staff writer at the worker-owned site Defector, where they cover creatures and the natural world. Their first full-length book, How Far the Light Reaches, won a Los Angeles Times book prize in science and technology. Their chapbook, Dyke (geology), was published by Black Lawrence Press, and was selected for the National Book Foundation Science + Literature Program. Sabrina lives in Brooklyn with their partner, cats Melon and Sesame, and a school of fish. 

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How Far the Light Reaches: A Life in Ten Sea Creatures By Sabrina Imbler Cover Image
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How Far the Light Reaches: A Life in Ten Sea Creatures By Sabrina Imbler Cover Image

2024 Chautauqua Prize Shortlist

2024 Chautauqua FinalistsChautauqua Institution has announced 7 exceptional books as the 2024 finalists for The Chautauqua Prize, now in its 13th year.  Awarded annually since 2012, The Chautauqua Prize draws upon Chautauqua Institution’s considerable literary legacy to celebrate a book that provides a richly rewarding reading experience and to honor the author for a significant contribution to the literary arts.  Read the full announcement on

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!)

Chain Gang All Stars: A Novel By Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah Cover Image
ISBN: 9780593469316
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Vintage - January 23rd, 2024

Chain Gang All Stars: A Novel By Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah Cover Image
ISBN: 9780593317334
Availability: Not on our shelves, but we can order this for you!
Published: Pantheon - May 2nd, 2023

The Reformatory: A Novel By Tananarive Due Cover Image
ISBN: 9781982188344
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: S&S/Saga Press - October 31st, 2023

Some People Need Killing: A Memoir of Murder in My Country By Patricia Evangelista Cover Image
ISBN: 9780593133132
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Random House - October 17th, 2023

Enter Ghost By Isabella Hammad Cover Image
ISBN: 9780802163301
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Grove Press - April 9th, 2024

Enter Ghost By Isabella Hammad Cover Image
ISBN: 9780802162380
Availability: Not on our shelves, but we can order this for you!
Published: Grove Press - April 4th, 2023

This Other Eden: A Novel By Paul Harding Cover Image
ISBN: 9781324074526
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: W. W. Norton & Company - December 19th, 2023

This Other Eden: A Novel By Paul Harding Cover Image
ISBN: 9781324036296
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: W. W. Norton & Company - January 24th, 2023

White Cat, Black Dog: Stories By Kelly Link, Shaun Tan (Illustrator) Cover Image
By Kelly Link, Shaun Tan (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9780593449974
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Random House Trade Paperbacks - October 24th, 2023

Half-Life of a Secret: Reckoning with a Hidden History By Emily Strasser Cover Image
ISBN: 9780813197197
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: University Press of Kentucky - April 4th, 2023

SKU: 2024PrizeFinalists

New CLSC Selection Announced: Future Tense

Future Tense by Martha Brockenbrough with CLSC BadgeChautauqua Institution's Department of Education has announced Future Tense: How We Made Artificial Intelligence--and How it Will Change Everything, by Martha Brockenbrough, as a Chautauqua Literary and Scientific Circle selection for Week Two of the 2024 Summer Assembly Season.

Human history has always been shaped by technology, but AI is like no technology that has come before it. Unlike the wheel, combustion engines, or electricity, AI does the thing that humans do best: think. While AI hasn’t reproduced the marvelously complex human brain, it has been able to accomplish astonishing things. AI has defeated our players at games like chess, Go, and Jeopardy!. It’s learned to recognize objects and speech. It can create art and music. It’s even allowed grieving people to feel as though they were talking with their dead loved ones. 
On the flip side, it’s put innocent people in jail, manipulated the emotions of social media users, and tricked people into believing untrue things. 
In Future Tense, acclaimed author and teacher Martha Brockenbrough guides readers through the development of this world-changing technology, exploring how AI has touched every corner of our world, including education, healthcare, work, politics, war, international relations, and even romance. This is essential reading for anyone who wants to understand how artificial intelligence got here, how to make the best use of it, and how we can expect it to transform our lives. 


Martha Brockenbrough graduated from Stanford University, where she studied English and Classics and was the editor in chief of the Stanford Daily. She has worked as a journalist, a teacher, the editor of, a question writer for Cranium and Trivial Pursuit, and now teaches at Vermont College of Fine Arts, where she served as co-chair of the Writing for Children Young Adults department. A lifelong Seattle resident, Martha has written two books for adults and 24 books for young readers. 

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Future Tense: How We Made Artificial Intelligence—and How It Will Change Everything By Martha Brockenbrough Cover Image

Hours for Monday April 8th

Display of moon products at Chauatuqua Bookstore 

We are open Monday April 8th, but will be closed between 2:45 and 3:45 to view the eclipse.

It sounded as if the Streets were running
And then—the Streets stood still—
Eclipse—was all we could see at the Window
And Awe—was all we could feel.

By and by—the boldest stole out of his Covert
To see if Time was there—
Nature was in an Opal Apron,
Mixing fresher Air.

-Emily Dickinson



2024 Chautauqua County Book Read

Apple: Skin to Core by Eric Gansworth, with CLSC badgeThe Institution has partnered with the YWCA of Jamestown and 20+ other local organizations to offer the Third Annual Chautauqua County Book Read.

Apple: Skin to Core by Eric Gansworth has been selected as the 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 link. register via this link. Each participant is also encouraged to attend one book discussion group between April 15 - 26, 2024. 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 


Additionally, participants are invited to attend a live lecture on Thursday, August 1st  with the author, Eric Gansworth, at 3:30pm at the Hall of Philosophy 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. Information on how to order complimentary gate and parking passes for this event will be posted in the coming weeks at 


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.

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Apple: (Skin to the Core) By Eric Gansworth Cover Image
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Apple: (Skin to the Core) By Eric Gansworth Cover Image

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