On many 2018 best book lists (including the Morning News Tournament of Books, which our book club members are always enthusiastic about!), America is Not the Heart “is a sprawling, soulful debut about three generations of women in one family struggling to balance the promise of the American dream and the unshakeable grip of history. With exuberance, grit, and sly tenderness, here is a family saga; an origin story; a romance; a narrative of two nations and the people who leave one home to grasp at another.”
Third Thursday Book Club selections are 15% off.
Award-winning author Irina Reyn explores what it means to be a mother in a world where you can't be with your child. Irina will be in conversation with Pittsburgh writer Clare Beams.
Starred reviews from Library Journal and Publishers Weekly
Walsh's debut collection of poetry explores the impacts of extractive industries on rural communities and the environment, particularly in Appalachia, while also celebrating the persistent beauty of the natural world and human love. Ryan will be in conversation with West Virginia writer and essayist Ann Pancake!
"Ryan Walsh’s poetry makes plain that the hurt earth, which includes the people hurt by the earth’s hurting, resides in our imaginations and bodies. But by naming that sorrow, by turning it over, he makes a garden. And with that garden he feeds us.”
— Ross Gay
For our nonfiction pick this month, we’ll read Jessi Klein’s hilariously candid memoir about modern femininity and trying to find her place in the world as “are-you-a-lesbian-or-what tom man.”
* All proceeds from Feminist Book Club support Planned Parenthood.
Authors Jane Bernstein and Charlotte Glynn read from their new children’s book. Based on a true story, Gina From Siberia addresses displacement, family, and the meaning of home. All little minnows welcome!
Author Anastasia Higginbotham reads her children’s book Not My Idea: A Book About Whiteness , a picture book that invites white children and parents to become curious about racism, accept that it's real, and cultivate justice. All little minnows welcome!
NAMED ONE OF SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL'S BEST BOOKS OF 2018.
What happens when fossil fuels run out? How do communities and cultures survive? Told through interviews and photographs collected during the making of the documentary film After Coal, this book considers the resonances between Appalachia and Wales in the realms of labor, environment, and movements for social justice. This event is free and will be moderated by Angela Wiley, producer of the After Coal film.
“Milkman vibrates with the anxieties of our own era, from terrorism to sexual harassment to the blinding divisions that make reconciliation feel impossible. . . . It’s as though the intense pressure of this place has compressed the elements of comedy and horror to produce some new alloy.”―The Washington Post
Winner of The Man Booker Prize.
Third Thursday Book Club selections are 15% off.
All are welcome! We switch off fiction and non-fiction every other month. This month we’re reading VOX, a dystopian story that’s been likened to The Handmaid’s Tale. It imagines a future where women are only allowed to speak 100 words per day (most adults currently average about 16,000). TImely, no?
*Since 11/6 is election night, this meeting has been moved to 10/30. Proceeds benefit Planned Parenthood.
Thomas Page McBee’s Lambda award-winning memoir, Man Alive, was named a best book of 2014 by NPR Books, BuzzFeed, Kirkus, and Publisher's Weekly. His groundbreaking new book, Amateur: A True Story About What Makes a Man, is a reported memoir about learning how to box—and eventually become the first trans man to fight in Madison Square Garden—in order to understand masculinity’s tie to violence. A wide-ranging exploration of gender in our society, Amateur is ultimately a story of hope, as McBee traces a new way forward, a new kind of masculinity, inside the ring and outside of it. Join us for a reading, discussion, Q&A, and book signing!
"McBee takes us in his capable hands and shows us what it takes to become a man who is gloriously, gloriously alive.”—Roxane Gay
California poets Marsha de la O and Phil Taggart join Pittsburgh poet Toi Derricotte for a star-studded reading and book signing! Event is free and open to the public.
Join us for a celebration of new literature out of Appalachia! From WVU Press comes new books of short stories by Natalie Sypolt (The Sound of Holding Your Breath) and Laura Leigh Morris (Jaws of Life).
Please join us for a double book release celebration reading! Featuring Sherrie Flick's new story collection Thank Your Lucky Stars (Autumn House Press) and Maria Romasco Moore's Ghostographs: An Album (Rose Metal Press). The authors will read from their books, answer questions, and sign books with panache. There will be drinks and snacks!
Contemporary fiction book club. All are welcome, no RSVP necessary. Spooky reads for October—join us for Baby Teeth, a super buzzed-about book by local author Zoje Stage, featuring a not-so-sweet child and her quickly-unraveling mother. Lots of Pittsburgh references make it extra fun. “We Need to Talk About Kevin meets Gone Girl meets The Omen...a twisty, delirious read that will constantly question your sympathies for the two characters as their bond continues to crumble.”―Entertainment Weekly
*Book club picks are 15% off!
A family-friendly evening with Daniel Salmieri, writer and illustrator of the fabulous book Bear and Wolf. Daniel Salmieri is an award winning illustrator from Brooklyn, NY. He has illustrated three New York Times best sellers, including your little minnow’s favorite—Dragons Love Tacos. This will be a ton of fun!
Robert W. Fieseler’s Tinderbox: the Untold Story of the Up Stairs Lounge Fire and the Rise of the Gay Liberation reconstructs the 1973 fire that devastated New Orleans’ subterranean gay community. Buried for decades, the Up Stairs Lounge tragedy has only recently emerged as a catalyzing event of the gay liberation movement.
We are thrilled to host Amber Tamblyn at White Whale! In addition to being a lauded actress and director, Amber became a powerful voice of the #MeToo movement after writing a widely shared opinion piece in The New York Times. She will read from her novel, ANY MAN, a provocative and haunting story of a violent sexual predator who, in the form of a woman who assaults men, is the personification of a culture responsible for re-traumatizing, disbelieving, and silencing the stories and voices of her victims. Q&A and book signing to folow. This event is free and open to the public, though please be advised that it is not appropriate for children. * Photo ops will be restricted to those who purchase the book.
Our White Whale family is a small one, which makes it a particular thrill to host a book launch for one of our own. On Friday the 13th, we celebrate Tyler Crumrine's release party for ADVENTURE HOOKS, an RPG prose-poetry project (yes you heard right). In addition to the reading, he will be improvising BESPOKE ADVENTURES for the audience and handing out FREE HANDMADE RPG ZINES featuring characters and artwork inspired by the text! It's going to be a little bit weird and a lotta bit fun.
One day, Jesse Donaldson wakes up in Portland, Oregon, and asks his wife to uproot their life together and move to his native Kentucky. As he searches for the reason behind this sudden urge, Donaldson examines both the place where he was born and the life he’s building. The result is a hybrid—part memoir, part meditation on nostalgia, part catalog of Kentucky history and myth. Organized according to Kentucky geography, with one passage for each of the commonwealth’s 120 counties, ON HOMESICKNESS examines whether we can ever return to the places we’ve called home, and was one of our favorite reads of last year.
We have an extra special storytime coming up! Author/illustrator David Covell reads from his new book about the joy of getting outdoors. "Hey, you! Sky's blue!" a girl shouts as she runs by the window of a boy bent over his digital device. Intrigued, the boy runs out after her, leaving his shoes (and phone) behind, and into a world of sunshine, dewey grass, and warm sand. Filled with the pleasures of being alive in the natural world, Run Wild is an exquisite and kid-friendly reminder of how wonderful life can be beyond doors and screens. He'll be joined by children from the Center for Imagination's storytelling workshop. Bring your little minnows for some family fun!
Raw, beautiful, and redemptive, Kelly Sundberg writes about the abuse she endured in her marriage in "Goodbye, Sweet Girl: A Story of Domestic Violence and Survival." Her memoir has been compared to The Glass Castle and The Liar's Club for its honesty, and Roxane Gay calls it "gripping...shimmering...open hearted." Sundberg will also be teaching a workshop about writing through trauma at Creative Nonfiction the following day, June 16.
Join Girls Write Pittsburgh and facilitators Tara McElfresh and Sheena Carroll for a pop-up workshop on developing characters! This workshop will involve imagery and word exercises, culminating in a vision board that writers can use to better understand and develop their characters. Girls Write Pittsburgh is a local organization dedicated to inspiring teens girls to find their voices through writing. This pop-up workshop is free and open to all self-identified girls between the ages of 13 to 18.
Explorers Dave and Amy Freeman are currently towing a canoe while bicycling 1,750 miles from Ely, MN to Washington D.C. to raise awareness of the threat from sulfide-ore copper mining proposed in the Boundary Waters watershed. They'll be stopping at our store to promote their award-winning book, A Year in the Wilderness. From listening to a wolf pack run through their campsite as the lakes were freezing around them in the late fall to watching the loons return as the ice melted in the spring, the Freemans’ engaging presentation will transport you into the Wilderness and inspire you to help protect this national treasure for future generations. Come ask questions, support the cause, and sign their petition/canoe.
""For explicitly feminist writing, turn to Rebecca Traister’s canny, insightful “All the Single Ladies,” a book to match your taste for journalistic prose and your desire to read about a range of female life. Traister’s appraisal of unmarried women in “intellectual and public realms” — that is, their friendships, their solitude, their economic gains and shortfalls and their sexuality — rooted in both contemporary and historical research, will inspire you to seek out more stories. This is just the beginning."—New York Times
This month, Laser Cat presents Deena November and Joan E. Bauer. Deena November's most recent book of poetry, Mean Mama, was just published by Main Street Rag, and she runs the Staghorn Poetry Series readings and workshops. Joan E. Bauer is the author of The Almost Sound of Drowning (Main Street Rag, 2008). She co-hosts and curates the Hemingway Summer Poetry Series with Jimmy Cvetic.
While coping with the sudden death of her best friend and mentor, a woman inherits the Great Dane he left behind. In her grief, she becomes obsessed with the dog's care and becomes a shut-in with him. A moving meditation on grief, hope, and the love we find in animal companionship.