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An Evening with Vegas Tenold
Feb
27
7:00 PM19:00

An Evening with Vegas Tenold

The Midtown Scholar Bookstore is pleased to welcome award-winning journalist Vegas Tenold to Harrisburg as he presents his new book, Everything You Love Will Burn: Inside the Rebirth of White Nationalism in America. This event is free and open to the public. 

“A penetrating portrait of the men and women who are trying to instill fear and terror in our community. Vegas Tenold has done a great service by exposing their toxic ideologies in this must-read book.” —Ibram X. Kendi, National Book Award–winning author of Stamped from the Beginning

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About the Book:

Six years ago, Vegas Tenold embedded himself among the members of three of America’s most ideologically extreme white nationalist groups-the KKK, the National Socialist Movement, and the Traditionalist Workers Party. At the time, these groups were part of a disorganized counterculture that felt far from the mainstream.

But since then, all that has changed. Racially-motivated violence has been on open display at rallies in Charlottesville, Berkeley, Pikesville, Phoenix, and Boston. Membership in white nationalist organizations is rising, and national politicians, including the president, are validating their perceived grievances.

Everything You Love Will Burn offers a terrifying, sobering inside look at these newly empowered movements, from their conventions to backroom meetings with Republican operatives. Tenold introduces us to neo-Nazis in Brooklyn; a millennial Klanswoman in Tennessee; and a rising star in the movement, nicknamed the “Little Führer” by the Southern Poverty Law Center, who understands political power and is organizing a grand coalition of far-right groups to bring them into the mainstream.

Everything You Love Will Burn takes readers to the dark, paranoid underbelly of America, a world in which the white race is under threat and the enemy is everywhere.

About the Author: 

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Vegas Tenold is an award-winning journalist. He has covered the far right in America for years, as well as human rights in Russia, conflict in central Africa and the Middle East, and national security. A graduate of Columbia University’s School of Journalism, his work has appeared in publications including the New York TimesRolling StoneNew Republic, and Al Jazeera America. He was born and raised in Norway, and lives in Brooklyn.

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An Evening of Poetry with Todd Boss and Marci Nelligan
Mar
1
7:00 PM19:00

An Evening of Poetry with Todd Boss and Marci Nelligan

Join us for an evening celebrating the spoken word with acclaimed poets Todd Boss and Marci Nelligan! Both poets will read from their latest collections, Tough Luck and Ghost Manada.

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At the center of Todd Boss’s Tough Luck is a poem about the ill-fated I-35W Bridge in Minneapolis and its disastrous collapse, which killed 13 people and injured 145. The freighted, swiftly moving poems in Tough Luck crisscross the chasm between peril and safety as if between opposing riverbanks, revealing a frequently heart-stopping view of the muscled waters below. Marriage, family, home―all come crashing down, but Boss rebuilds with his trademark musicality and “a reverent gusto for representing the tactile aspects of human life.”

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Marci Nelligan’s Ghost Manada is a book of insistent absence in conversation with her own shade songs. The book is an intertext of experimental lyrics speaking to and through Cormac McCarthy’s Blood Meridian and the spirt of Emily Dickinson. Nelligan dives into the wreck of an American mythos of unforgiving darkness, and if that were not enough, she also finds her name does not appear there. “As in this telling, woman lurk in thresholds, part captive, part threat.” Ultimately, these affecting meditations do not wait “for the ire to eat up all the air.” This is the space of the book, one that wasn’t there before Nelligan created it.

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Todd Boss is the author of the poetry collections Yellowrocket and Pitch, both honored by the Midwest Bookseller’s Choice Award. He is the founding artistic director of Motionpoems, a film company in Minneapolis.

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Marci Nelligan is the author of The Ghost Manada (Black Radish, 2016), Infinite Variations (Black Radish, 2011) and numerous chapbooks, and the co-editor of Intersections, an interdisciplinary book on Jane Jacobs. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Boog CityJacket, the Denver QuarterlyThe New Orleans Review, How2, Fledgling Rag, and other journals. She lives in Lancaster, PA with her husband and two daughters, and runs an arts-in-education partnership between Millersville University and the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts.

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An Afternoon with Keisha Blain
Mar
3
3:30 PM15:30

An Afternoon with Keisha Blain

The Midtown Scholar Bookstore is pleased to welcome Historian Keisha Blain to Harrisburg as she presents her new book, Set the World on Fire: Black Nationalist Women and the Global Struggle for Freedom.

This event is free and open to the public.

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About the Book:

In 1932, Mittie Maude Lena Gordon spoke to a crowd of black Chicagoans at the old Jack Johnson boxing ring, rallying their support for emigration to West Africa. In 1937, Celia Jane Allen traveled to Jim Crow Mississippi to organize rural black workers around black nationalist causes. In the late 1940s, from her home in Kingston, Jamaica, Amy Jacques Garvey launched an extensive letter-writing campaign to defend the Greater Liberia Bill, which would relocate 13 million black Americans to West Africa.

Gordon, Allen, and Jacques Garvey—as well as Maymie De Mena, Ethel Collins, Amy Ashwood, and Ethel Waddell—are part of an overlooked and understudied group of black women who take center stage in Set the World on Fire, the first book to examine how black nationalist women engaged in national and global politics from the early twentieth century to the 1960s. Historians of the era generally portray the period between the Garvey movement of the 1920s and the Black Power movement of the 1960s as an era of declining black nationalist activism, but Keisha N. Blain reframes the Great Depression, World War II, and the early Cold War as significant eras of black nationalist—and particularly, black nationalist women's—ferment.

In Chicago, Harlem, and the Mississippi Delta, from Britain to Jamaica, these women built alliances with people of color around the globe, agitating for the rights and liberation of black people in the United States and across the African diaspora. As pragmatic activists, they employed multiple protest strategies and tactics, combined numerous religious and political ideologies, and forged unlikely alliances in their struggles for freedom. Drawing on a variety of previously untapped sources, including newspapers, government records, songs, and poetry, Set the World on Fire highlights the flexibility, adaptability, and experimentation of black women leaders who demanded equal recognition and participation in global civil society.

About the Author:

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Keisha Blain is one of the leaders of the African American Intellectual History Society (AAIHS), a scholarly organization founded in 2014 to foster dialogue about researching, writing, and teaching black thought and culture. She is the senior editor of Black Perspectives, a popular academic blog published by AAIHS. She teaches at the University of Pittsburgh. 

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An Evening with Sands Hall
Apr
10
7:00 PM19:00

An Evening with Sands Hall

The Midtown Scholar Bookstore is pleased to welcome author Sands Hall to Harrisburg as she presents her new memoir, Flunk. Start.: Reclaiming My Decade Lost in Scientology. 

This event is free and open to the public. Book signing to take place after the talk. 

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About the Book:

In Flunk. Start., Sands Hall chronicles her slow yet willing absorption into the Church of Scientology. Her time in the Church, the late 1970s, includes the secretive illness and death of its founder, L. Ron Hubbard, and the ascension of David Miscavige. Hall compellingly reveals what drew her into the religion—what she found intriguing and useful—and how she came to confront its darker sides.

As a young woman from a literary family striving to discover her own way as an artist, Hall ricochets between the worlds of Shakespeare, avant-garde theater, and soap opera, until her brilliant elder brother, playwright Oakley Hall III, falls from a bridge and suffers permanent brain damage. In the secluded canyons of Hollywood, she finds herself increasingly drawn toward the certainty that Scientology appears to offer.

In this candid and nuanced memoir, Hall recounts her spiritual and artistic journey with a visceral affection for language, delighting in the way words can create a shared world. However, as Hall begins to grasp how purposefully Hubbard has created the unique language of Scientology—in the process isolating and indoctrinating its practitioners—she confronts how language can also be used as a tool of authoritarianism.

Hall is a captivating guide, and Flunk. Start. explores how she has found meaning and purpose within that decade that for so long she thought of as lost; how she has faced the “flunk” represented by those years, and has embraced a way to “start” anew.

About the Author: 

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SANDS HALL is the author of the novel, Catching Heaven, a Willa Award Finalist for Best Contemporary Fiction, and a Random House Reader’s Circle selection; and of a book of writing essays and exercises, Tools of the Writer’s Craft. She teaches at the Iowa Summer Writing Festival, the Community of Writers, Squaw Valley, and is a Teaching Professor at Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, PA. Hall lives in Nevada City.

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An Afternoon with Andrea Pitzer
Feb
17
3:30 PM15:30

An Afternoon with Andrea Pitzer

The Midtown Scholar Bookstore is pleased to welcome author and journalist Andrea Pitzer to Harrisburg as she discusses her new book, One Long Night: A Global History of Concentration Camps. A haunting history of modernity’s greatest tragedy, One Long Night offers "a potent, powerful history of cruelty & dehumanization," and has been named one of Smithsonian Magazine’s Ten Best History books for 2017.

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About the Book:

A groundbreaking, haunting, and profoundly moving history of modernity's greatest tragedy: concentration camps. 

For over 100 years, at least one concentration camp has existed somewhere on Earth. First used as battlefield strategy, camps have evolved with each passing decade, in the scope of their effects and the savage practicality with which governments have employed them. Even in the twenty-first century, as we continue to reckon with the magnitude and horror of the Holocaust, history tells us we have broken our own solemn promise of "never again."

In this harrowing work based on archival records and interviews during travel to four continents, Andrea Pitzer reveals for the first time the chronological and geopolitical history of concentration camps. Beginning with 1890s Cuba, she pinpoints concentration camps around the world and across decades. From the Philippines and Southern Africa in the early twentieth century to the Soviet Gulag and detention camps in China and North Korea during the Cold War, camp systems have been used as tools for civilian relocation and political repression. Often justified as a measure to protect a nation, or even the interned groups themselves, camps have instead served as brutal and dehumanizing sites that have claimed the lives of millions.

Drawing from exclusive testimony, landmark historical scholarship, and stunning research, Andrea Pitzer unearths the roots of this appalling phenomenon, exploring and exposing the staggering toll of the camps: our greatest atrocities, the extraordinary survivors, and even the intimate, quiet moments that have also been part of camp life during the past century. 

About the Author:

Andrea Pitzer is the author of The Secret History of Vladimir Nabokov. Her writing has appeared in USA Today, Slate, Lapham’s Quarterly, and McSweeney’s, among other publications. In 2009, she founded Nieman Storyboard, the narrative nonfiction site of the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard University. She lives in Falls Church, Virginia.

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Feb
16
7:00 PM19:00

Third in the Burg with The Flat Wheels

The Midtown Scholar Bookstore is pleased to welcome folk rock band, The Flat Wheels, for February's Third in the Burg!

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The Flat Wheels are a Folk Rock band born in the hills of Perry County, Pennsylvania. Their sound is derived from a melting pot of influences that is continually mixed by all five members of the band. Classic Country and Bluegrass blended with Contemporary Pub-Rock/Indie sounds takes your ears for a ride in the country through modern day Americana.

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Storytime with Amy June Bates
Feb
10
11:00 AM11:00

Storytime with Amy June Bates

Acclaimed illustrator and children’s author Amy June Bates joins us for a special storytime with her daughter and co-author, Juniper Bates! Their new children’s book, The Big Umbrella, offers a timely and timeless picture book about acceptance. 

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About the Book: 

In the tradition of Alison McGhee’s Someday, beloved illustrator Amy June Bates makes her authorial debut alongside her eleven-year-old daughter.

By the door there is an umbrella. It is big. It is so big that when it starts to rain there is room for everyone underneath. It doesn’t matter if you are tall. Or plaid. Or hairy. It doesn’t matter how many legs you have.

Don’t worry that there won’t be enough room under the umbrella. Because there will always be room.

Lush illustrations and simple, lyrical text subtly address themes of inclusion and tolerance in this sweet story that accomplished illustrator Amy June Bates cowrote with her daughter, Juniper, while walking to school together in the rain.

About the Authors:

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Amy June Bates has illustrated many picture books, including Sweet Dreams and That’s What I’d Do, both by singer-songwriter Jewel; Hillary Rodham Clinton by Kathleen Krull; and The Brothers Kennedy, also by Kathleen Krull. She lives in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, with her husband and three children.

Juniper Bates was in sixth grade when she and her mom, Amy June Bates, came up with the idea for The Big Umbrella while sharing an umbrella in a rainstorm. Juniper loves music, skiing, books, and puddles she can jump in. Juniper lives in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, with their family and dog, Rosebud.

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An Evening with George Saunders
Feb
9
7:00 PM19:00

An Evening with George Saunders

The Midtown Scholar Bookstore is honored to welcome 2017 Man Booker Prize Winner and #1 New York Times Bestselling Author George Saunders to Harrisburg as he presents his new award-winning novel, Lincoln in the Bardo. Please join us for an evening to remember! Saunders will read from his novel and answer questions from the audience. Book signing to follow the discussion.

To purchase your book and ticket, visit: www.midtownscholar.com/event-tickets/an-evening-with-george-saunders

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About the Book:

The long-awaited first novel from the author of Tenth of December: a moving and original father-son story featuring none other than Abraham Lincoln, as well as an unforgettable cast of supporting characters, living and dead, historical and invented

February 1862. The Civil War is less than one year old. The fighting has begun in earnest, and the nation has begun to realize it is in for a long, bloody struggle. Meanwhile, President Lincoln’s beloved eleven-year-old son, Willie, lies upstairs in the White House, gravely ill. In a matter of days, despite predictions of a recovery, Willie dies and is laid to rest in a Georgetown cemetery. “My poor boy, he was too good for this earth,” the president says at the time. “God has called him home.” Newspapers report that a grief-stricken Lincoln returns, alone, to the crypt several times to hold his boy’s body.

From that seed of historical truth, George Saunders spins an unforgettable story of familial love and loss that breaks free of its realistic, historical framework into a supernatural realm both hilarious and terrifying. Willie Lincoln finds himself in a strange purgatory where ghosts mingle, gripe, commiserate, quarrel, and enact bizarre acts of penance. Within this transitional state—called, in the Tibetan tradition, the bardo—a monumental struggle erupts over young Willie’s soul.

Lincoln in the Bardo is an astonishing feat of imagination and a bold step forward from one of the most important and influential writers of his generation. Formally daring, generous in spirit, deeply concerned with matters of the heart, it is a testament to fiction’s ability to speak honestly and powerfully to the things that really matter to us. Saunders has invented a thrilling new form that deploys a kaleidoscopic, theatrical panorama of voices to ask a timeless, profound question: How do we live and love when we know that everything we love must end?

About the Author:

George Saunders is the author of nine books, including Tenth of December, which was a finalist for the National Book Award, and won the inaugural Folio Prize (for the best work of fiction in English) and the Story Prize (best short story collection). He has received MacArthur and Guggenheim Fellowships, the 2017 Man Booker Prize, the PEN/Malamud Prize for excellence in the short story, and was recently elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. In 2013, he was named one of the world’s 100 most influential people by Time magazine. He teaches in the Creative Writing Program at Syracuse University.

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Jan
19
7:00 PM19:00

Third in the Burg with Ian Fitzgerald

The Midtown Scholar Bookstore is pleased to welcome singer-songwriter Ian Fitzgerald for January's Third in the Burg!

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Hailed as "the songwriter's songwriter" by the Newport Folk Festival, Ian Fitzgerald has been criss-crossing the country over the past several years singing what he's written for audiences of all stripes.  Based in Providence, RI, Ian performs both as a solo act and as the leader of Ian Fitzgerald & Something Else, the group formed in 2017 to bring full-band arrangements of his songs to the stage.  Those songs come from the five albums of original material he has released, including his latest effort You Won't Even Know I'm Gone.

After having picked up the guitar in his late teens with the simple goal of learning to play the songs of others that had become so integral to his life, Ian began in his early twenties to write songs of his own.  Ian's first attempts at songwriting coincided with a deepening appreciation of early folk music, which helped establish the path he would follow with his own work.  After three albums in quick succession, Ian evaluated what he'd learned about the songwriting and record-making processes and applied those lessons to his two most recent albums, No Time To Be Tender and You Won't Even Know I'm Gone.  The result has been a growing recognition of Ian's work and songwriting ability, including a full touring schedule that has seen him perform in 39 states over the past two years; performances at the Newport Folk Festival in 2015 and 2016; and shows opened for Iris DeMent, Joan Shelley, Willy Mason, Darlingside, The Ballroom Thieves, and many more.  Ian hopes to begin work on his next album in 2018.

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