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Sing for Your Life
Daniel Bergner

Ryan Speedo Green had a tough upbringing in southeastern Virginia: his family lived in a trailer park and later a bullet-riddled house across the street from drug dealers. His father was absent; his mother was volatile and abusive.

At the age of twelve, Ryan was sent to Virginia’s juvenile facility of last resort. He was placed in solitary confinement. He was uncontrollable, uncontainable, with little hope for the future.

In 2011, at the age of twenty-four, Ryan won a nationwide competition hosted by New York’s Metropolitan Opera, beating out 1,200 other talented singers. Today, he is a rising star performing major roles at the Met and Europe’s most prestigious opera houses.

SING FOR YOUR LIFE chronicles Ryan’s suspenseful, racially charged and artistically intricate journey from solitary confinement to stardom. Daniel Bergner takes readers on Ryan’s path toward redemption, introducing us to a cast of memorable characters–including the two teachers from his childhood who redirect his rage into music, and his long-lost father who finally reappears to hear Ryan sing. Bergner illuminates all that it takes–technically, creatively–to find and foster the beauty of the human voice. And Sing for Your Life sheds unique light on the enduring and complex realities of race in America.

October – Hillbilly Elegy, by J. D. Vance

November – The House on Mango Street, by Sandra Cisneros

January – Faithful, by Alice Hoffman

February – A Gentleman in Moscow, by Armor Towles

March – The Forest Lover, by Susan Vreeland

April – The Museum of Extraordinary Things, by Alice Hoffman

May – My Grandmother Asked me to Tell you She’s Sorry, by Fredrik Backman






2006: The Chautauqua Rising
Jack Cashill

Western New York State is a land of rolling hills, gleaming lakes, and independent minded towns. For over 150 years it has been a flashpoint of free though and social change. Historians know it as the ‘burned over district’, a land of the tent gatherings and camp meetings and spontaneous combustions of faith and hope; a land where sectarianism, spiritualism, millenarianism and old-fashioned libertarianism have raged like wild fire. It is against this backdrop that young TJ Conlon returns to his native Chautauqua Country in March of 2006 — a solemn homecoming to mourn his father” death from an apparent suicide. Assuming control of the family” chain of small newspapers, TJ reluctantly confronts the forces that swirl throughout the country and his life. America of 2006 is entirely recognisable. Tyranny has not swept the land. It has crept in on little cat’s feet. The agents of oppression have quietly altered the American landscape. Few people even notice. As the mystery of his father’s death unravels around him, TJ begins a journey of spiritual and political awakening. The journey lands him squarely in the middle of the greatest conflagaration Western NY will ever see, a phenomenon CNN comes to call ‘The Chautauqua Rising’. The rising unites a disparate group of old-order Amish, Seneca Indians, traditional Catholics and independent hill people. The movement is inspired by Siona Wallace, a folk singer with a troubled past, and guided by the unseen hand of the elusive John Freeman. The flames of the Chautauqua fire have once again been fanned. But whose purpose and what end the rising will serve remains to be seen. 2006 is closer than you think.


September — Islam: A Short History, by Karen Armstrong

October — The Underground Railroad, by Colson Whitehead

November — Undecided Classic

December — Rosemary, the Hidden Kennedy Daughter, by Kate Clifford

13th Book — Under the Sea-Wind, by Rachel Carson






Ann Patchett 

The acclaimed, bestselling author—winner of the PEN/Faulkner Award and the Orange Prize—tells the enthralling story of how an unexpected romantic encounter irrevocably changes two families’ lives.

One Sunday afternoon in Southern California, Bert Cousins shows up at Franny Keating’s christening party uninvited. Before evening falls, he has kissed Franny’s mother, Beverly—thus setting in motion the dissolution of their marriages and the joining of two families.

Spanning five decades, Commonwealth explores how this chance encounter reverberates through the lives of the four parents and six children involved. Spending summers together in Virginia, the Keating and Cousins children forge a lasting bond that is based on a shared disillusionment with their parents and the strange and genuine affection that grows up between them.

When, in her twenties, Franny begins an affair with the legendary author Leon Posen and tells him about her family, the story of her siblings is no longer hers to control. Their childhood becomes the basis for his wildly successful book, ultimately forcing them to come to terms with their losses, their guilt, and the deeply loyal connection they feel for one another.

Told with equal measures of humor and heartbreak, Commonwealth is a meditation on inspiration, interpretation, and the ownership of stories. It is a brilliant and tender tale of the far-reaching ties of love and responsibility that bind us together.