There’s a story that won’t let go of me. Some days, this book takes the form of a novel. On other days, it has flirted with being a collection of linked short stories and at times, it feels like it wants to be a memoir.
You won’t find this book on our shelves here at the Library (yet) because I’ve written and rewritten this story for … well, let’s just say it has been a few years. Like most things in our lives, it is a SomedayMaybeLifeIsntGettingAnyShorter work in progress.
One of my very favorite poems is “Lucky Life” by Gerald Stern, born and raised in Pittsburgh and now living in Lambertville, New Jersey. It is somewhat embarrassing for me to have discovered this well-known poem only two years ago – I mean, it was published in 1977 – but discover it I did, last year, while spending some time down at my beloved Jersey shore. It found me at exactly the most perfect time, as if he was writing directly to me. I thought about it during our vacation this year and I’ve thought about it again, several times over the course of what has been a rather challenging month, personally-speaking.
Widely regarded as an influential work of literature, James Baldwin’s The Fire Next Time gives voice to the personal nature of injustice while sounding an alarm about the intensity of race relations in the United States. Although it has been 54 years since its publication, Baldwin’s work has particular urgency and resonance in the aftermath of the murders of Trayvon Martin, Tamir Rice, Mike Brown, Sandra Bland. Given the current political climate in the United States, The Fire Next Time is especially relevant.
One of the many things I love about CLP – Main (oh, let me count the ways …) is how we feature new short story collections in their own special place. I adore short stories. Adore them. Alas, from talking with my bookish friends, I know that sentiment isn’t shared by every reader: they’re very much of a you-either-like-’em-or-you-don’t kind of genre. Here’s why I love them, along with some of my favorites.
The Things They Carried is an incredibly powerful book, one that should — yes, absolutely — be required reading for every American.
Sure, the Pittsburgh Marathon is still six months away (and there’s still The Season of Pumpkin Spice Everything, the upcoming holidays, and the doldrums of a ‘Burgh winter to get through), but we’re already forming our team of participants who have committed to run and raise money for the Library.
When I read Two Boys Kissing three years ago, I knew I was holding a banned book. A reader gets an immediate sense of what acclaimed young adult author David Levithan’s novel is about; however, as with so many great books, Two Boys Kissing is much more than its title and cover.
At The Labs @ CLP, young people in the Pittsburgh region have many opportunities to collaborate with each other and pursue individual interests in a variety of areas include writing, music, filmmaking, animation, photography, robotics and design.
Citizen by Claudia Rankine is a book that’s difficult to talk about, yet one that has the potential to serve as the gateway to some of our most important conversations. For just as Rankine isn’t defined as simply a poet, a playwright, an artist or an essayist, Citizen is a book that defies being boxed in by a single genre. Is it a poem? An essay? A meditation or prayer?
Come celebrate the grand reopening of CLP – Knoxville with us on Saturday, June 25! Enjoy the ribbon cutting ceremony at 10:15, and then take a tour or enjoy one of the many activities that will available.