A List of Ten

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If you’re an avid reader and follower of all things literary at CLP, you probably know that Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh is a supporter of the Pittsburgh Arts and Lectures Ten Evenings series. I have been fortunate to attend many of these lectures and through these lectures have broadened my reading list immensely. Although my go-to genres of choice are usually historic fiction and non-fiction, I have had no trouble digging in to some other literary styles I would have been less likely to read if it weren’t for hearing the works discussed by the authors themselves. Many of the works of the authors represented at recent Ten Evenings lectures were also chosen as a theme for this past summer’s Adult Battle of the Books, and so may seem familiar to many of you. I’ve compiled a list of some of my favorites – either authors who really stood out in their lecturing style, or whose books I really enjoyed, or in those wonderful instances when both aspects magically came together. I hope that you, too, will enjoy the following books, or at least the experience of broadening your reading horizons. These titles, and more, are available in multiple formats through our library’s catalog!

 

God: A Human History

A concise and highly readable history of humanity’s understanding of God from the bestselling author of Zealot.

Alexander Hamilton

Chernow’s biography is not just a portrait of Hamilton, but the story of America’s birth seen through its most central figure. At a critical time to look back to our roots, Alexander Hamilton will remind readers of the purpose of our institutions and our heritage as Americans.

An American Marriage

This stirring love story is a profoundly insightful look into the hearts and minds of three people who are at once bound and separated by forces beyond their control. An American Marriage is a masterpiece of storytelling, an intimate look deep into the souls of people who must reckon with the past while moving forward–with hope and pain–into the future.

Pachinko

Richly told and profoundly moving, Pachinko is a story of love, sacrifice, ambition, and loyalty. From bustling street markets to the halls of Japan’s finest universities to the pachinko parlors of the criminal underworld, Lee’s complex and passionate characters-strong, stubborn women, devoted sisters and sons, fathers shaken by moral crisis-survive and thrive against the indifferent arc of history.

These Truths: A History of the United States

The American experiment rests on three ideas–“these truths,” Jefferson called them–political equality, natural rights, and the sovereignty of the people. And it rests, too, on a fearless dedication to inquiry, Lepore argues, because self-government depends on it. But has the nation, and democracy itself, delivered on that promise?

Circe

Madeline Miller retells the classic tale from the Odyssey from Circe’s perspective.

M Train

From the National Book Award-winning author of Just Kids : an unforgettable odyssey of a legendary artist, told through the prism of the cafés and haunts she has worked in around the world. It is a book Patti Smith has described as “a roadmap to my life.”

Just Mercy : a story of justice and redemption

Just Mercy is at once an unforgettable account of an idealistic, gifted young lawyer’s coming of age, a moving window into the lives of those he has defended, and an inspiring argument for compassion in the pursuit of true justice.

Olive, Again

Whether with a teenager coming to terms with the loss of her father, a young woman about to give birth during a hilariously inopportune moment, a nurse who confesses a secret high school crush, or a lawyer who struggles with an inheritance she does not want to accept, the unforgettable Olive will continue to startle us, to move us, and to inspire us–in Strout’s words–“to bear the burden of the mystery with as much grace as we can.”

Olive Kitteridge

Olive Kitteridge is a grouchy former teacher who keeps those around her feeling intimidated, put off, or antsy. Elizabeth Strout has brilliantly given us a 360 degree external view of this iceberg while matching it with Olive’s own straightforward view of life. Strout’s acute precision in looking at the mundane moments that make up our lives is memorable.