UPDATE: Registration for the 2022 Battle of the Books is full.
Competitive readers, it is time to wipe off your reading glasses, sharpen your pencils and put on the coffee: Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh is pleased to announce that Adult Battle of the Books, the book-based trivia showdown, will return for 2022. Created by the career bookworms at CLP just for you, our book-loving city of literary champions. Teams of 3-5 readers have the summer to carefully read these ten titles before we gather in September for three rounds of trivia questions about the people, places, and plots of those books, all while enjoying delicious food and beverages sold by our host Threadbare Cider House.
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In 1982 in a southern city, David and Sarah, two freshmen at a highly competitive performing arts high school, thrive alongside their school peers in a rarified bubble, devoting themselves to their studies – to music, to movement, to Shakespeare and, particularly, to classes taught by the magnetic acting teacher Mr. Kingsley. It is in these halls that David and Sarah fall innocently and powerfully into first love. And also where, as this class of students rises through the ranks of high school, the outside world of family life and economic status, of academic pressure and the future, does not affect them – until it does, in a sudden spiral of events that brings a startling close to the first part of this novel. This title is also available as eBook from Overdrive/Libby, as eAudio from Overdrive/Libby, and as eAudio from Hoopla.
On a summer’s day in 1596, a young girl in Stratford-upon-Avon takes to her bed with a sudden fever. Her twin brother, Hamnet, searches everywhere for help. Why is nobody at home? Their mother, Agnes, is over a mile away, in the garden where she grows medicinal herbs. Their father is working in London. Neither parent knows that Hamnet will not survive the week. Hamnet is a novel inspired by the son of a famous playwright: a boy whose life has been all but forgotten, but whose name was given to one of the most celebrated plays ever written. This title is also available as eBook from Overdrive/Libby and as eAudio from Overdrive/Libby.
Short stories explore the raw and tender places where Black women and girls dare to follow their desires and pursue a momentary reprieve from being good. The nine stories in this collection feature four generations of characters grappling with who they want to be in the world, caught as they are between the church’s double standards and their own needs and passions. You can also check out this title as eAudio on OverDrive/Libby or as eAudio on Hoopla.
Anjali Sachdeva’s debut collection spans centuries, continents, and a diverse set of characters but is united by each character’s epic struggle with fate- A workman in Andrew Carnegie’s steel mills is irrevocably changed by the brutal power of the furnaces; a fisherman sets sail into overfished waters and finds a secret obsession from which he can’t return; an online date ends with a frightening, inexplicable disappearance. Her story “Pleiades” was called “a masterpiece” by Dave Eggers. Sachdeva has a talent for creating moving and poignant scenes, following her highly imaginative plots to their logical ends, and depicting how one small miracle can affect everyone in its wake. This title is also available as eBook from Overdrive/Libby and as eAudio from Overdrive/Libby.
Shuggie Bain is the unforgettable story of young Hugh “Shuggie” Bain, a sweet and lonely boy who spends his 1980s childhood in run-down public housing in Glasgow, Scotland. Thatcher’s policies have put husbands and sons out of work, and the city’s notorious drugs epidemic is waiting in the wings. A stunning debut novel by a masterful writer telling the heart-wrenching story of a young boy and his alcoholic mother, whose love is only matched by her pride. This title is also available as eBook from Overdrive/Libby, as eAudio from Overdrive/Libby, as eBook from Hoopla, and as eAudio from Hoopla.
For Damon Young, existing while Black is an extreme sport. The act of possessing black skin while searching for space to breathe in America is enough to induce a ceaseless state of angst where questions such as “How should I react here, as a professional black person?” and “Will this white person’s potato salad kill me?” are forever relevant. “What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Blacker” chronicles Young’s efforts to survive while battling and making sense of the various neuroses his country has given him. You can also check out this title as eAudio on Hoopla, as eAudio on OverDrive/Libby or as eBook on OverDrive/Libby.