Reading Series 2023-2024

The Bryn Mawr Reading Series brings major American and international writers in all literary genres to engage with students and the Philadelphia area community.

For more information, visit the Reading Series page on the BMC website, where you can also sign up for the Arts at Bryn Mawr mailing list.

Kairos

Kairos
$25.95

by Jenny Erpenbeck

Wednesday, September 27

Jenny Erpenbeck (the author of Go, Went, Gone and Visitation) is an epic storyteller and arguably the most powerful voice in contemporary German literature. Erpenbeck's new novel Kairos--an unforgettably compelling masterpiece--tells the story of the romance begun in East Berlin at the end of the 1980s when nineteen-year-old Katharina meets by chance a married writer in his fifties named Hans. Their passionate yet difficult long-running affair takes place against the background of the declining GDR, through the upheavals wrought by its dissolution in 1989 and then what comes after. In her unmistakable style and with enormous sweep, Erpenbeck describes the path of two lovers, as Katharina grows up and tries to come to terms with a not always ideal romance, even as a whole world with its own ideology disappears. As the Times Literary Supplement writes: "The weight of history, the particular experiences of East and West, and the ways in which cultural and subjective memory shape individual identity has always been present in Erpenbeck's work. She knows that no one is all bad, no state all rotten, and she masterfully captures the existential bewilderment of this period between states and ideologies."

In the opinion of her superbly gifted translator Michael Hofmann, Kairos is the great post-Unification novel. And, as The New Republic has commented on his work as a translator: "Hofmann's translation is invaluable--it achieves what translations are supposedly unable to do: it is at once 'loyal' and 'beautiful.'"

ISBN/SKU: 
9780811229340
Publication Date: 
June 6, 2023

Go Went Gone

Go Went Gone
$16.95

by Jenny Erpenbeck

Wednesday, September 27

Go, Went, Gone is the masterful new novel by the acclaimed German writer Jenny Erpenbeck, "one of the most significant German-language novelists of her generation" (The Millions). The novel tells the tale of Richard, a retired classics professor who lives in Berlin. His wife has died, and he lives a routine existence until one day he spies some African refugees staging a hunger strike in Alexanderplatz. Curiosity turns to compassion and an inner transformation, as he visits their shelter, interviews them, and becomes embroiled in their harrowing fates. Go, Went, Gone is a scathing indictment of Western policy toward the European refugee crisis, but also a touching portrait of a man who finds he has more in common with the Africans than he realizes. Exquisitely translated by Susan Bernofsky, Go, Went, Gone addresses one of the most pivotal issues of our time, facing it head-on in a voice that is both nostalgic and frightening.
ISBN/SKU: 
9780811225946
Publication Date: 
September 26, 2017

End of Days

End of Days
$16.95

by Jenny Erpenbeck

Wednesday, September 27

Winner of the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize and the Hans Fallada Prize, The End of Days, by the acclaimed German writer Jenny Erpenbeck, consists essentially of five "books," each leading to a different death of the same unnamed female protagonist. How could it all have gone differently?--the narrator asks in the intermezzos. The first chapter begins with the death of a baby in the early twentieth-century Hapsburg Empire. In the next chapter, the same girl grows up in Vienna after World War I, but a pact she makes with a young man leads to a second death. In the next scenario, she survives adolescence and moves to Russia with her husband. Both are dedicated Communists, yet our heroine ends up in a labor camp. But her fate does not end there....

A novel of incredible breadth and amazing concision, The End of Days offers a unique overview of the twentieth century.

ISBN/SKU: 
9780811225137
Publication Date: 
February 8, 2016

Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake

Patricular Sadness of Lemon Cake
$18.00

by Aimee Bender

Wednesday, November 8

On the eve of her ninth birthday, unassuming Rose Edelstein bites into her mother's homemade lemon-chocolate cake and discovers she has a magical gift: she can taste her mother's emotions in the slice. To her horror, she finds that her cheerful mother tastes of despair. Soon, she's privy to the secret knowledge that most families keep hidden: her father's detachment, her mother's transgression, her brother's increasing retreat from the world. But there are some family secrets that even her cursed taste buds can't discern.

ISBN/SKU: 
9780385720960
Publication Date: 
April 19, 2011
Author: 
Publisher: 

Jennifer Chan is Not Alone

Jennifer Chan is Not Alone
$8.96

by Tae Keller

Wednesday, November 29

In her first novel since winning the Newbery Medal for When You Trap a Tiger, Tae Keller offers a gripping and emotional story about friendship, bullying, and the possiblity that there's more in the universe than just us.

Sometimes middle school can make you feel like you're totally alone in the universe . . . but what if we aren't alone at all?

Thanks to her best friend, Reagan, Mallory Moss knows the rules of middle school. The most important one? You have to fit in to survive. But then Jennifer Chan moves in across the street, and that rule doesn't seem to apply. Jennifer doesn't care about the laws of middle school, or the laws of the universe. She believes in aliens--and she thinks she can find them.

Then Jennifer goes missing. Using clues from Jennifer's journals, Mallory goes searching. But the closer she gets to answers, the more Mallory has to confront why Jennifer might have run . . . and face the truth within herself.

Tae Keller lights up the sky with this insightful story about shifting friendships, right and wrong, and the power we all hold to influence and change one another. No one is ever truly alone.

ISBN/SKU: 
9780593310557
Publication Date: 
May 2, 2023
Author: 
Publisher: 

Science of Breakable Things

Science of Breakable Things
$8.96

by Tae Keller

Wednesday, November 29

Natalie's uplifting story of using the scientific process to "save" her mother from depression is what Booklist calls "a winning story full of heart and action."

Eggs are breakable. Hope is not.

When Natalie's science teacher suggests that she enter an egg drop competition, Natalie thinks that this might be the perfect solution to all of her problems. There's prize money, and if she and her friends wins, then she can fly her botanist mother to see the miraculous Cobalt Blue Orchids--flowers that survive against impossible odds. Natalie's mother has been suffering from depression, and Natalie is sure that the flowers' magic will inspire her mom to love life again. Which means it's time for Natalie's friends to step up and show her that talking about a problem is like taking a plant out of a dark cupboard and giving it light. With their help, Natalie begins an uplifting journey to discover the science of hope, love, and miracles.

A vibrant, loving debut about the coming-of-age moment when kids realize that parents are people, too. Think THE FOURTEENTH GOLDFISH meets THE THING ABOUT JELLYFISH.

NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY NPR * KIRKUS REVIEWS * THE CHICAGO PUBLIC LIBRARY *

"Natalie's Korean heritage is sensitively explored, as is the central issue of depression."
--Publishers Weekly

"A compassionate glimpse of mental illness accessible to a broad audience."
--Kirkus Reviews, STARRED REVIEW

"Holy moly!!! This book made me feel."
--Colby Sharp, editor of The Creativity Project, teacher, and cofounder of Nerdy Book Club

ISBN/SKU: 
9781524715694
Publication Date: 
May 21, 2019
Author: 
Publisher: 

When You Trap a Tiger

When You Trap a Tiger
$8.96

by Tae Keller

Wednesday, November 29

WINNER OF THE NEWBERY MEDAL - WINNER OF THE ASIAN/PACIFIC AMERICAN AWARD FOR CHILDREN'S LITERATURE - #1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

Would you make a deal with a magical tiger? This uplifting story brings Korean folklore to life as a girl goes on a quest to unlock the power of stories and save her grandmother.

Some stories refuse to stay bottled up...

When Lily and her family move in with her sick grandmother, a magical tiger straight out of her halmoni's Korean folktales arrives, prompting Lily to unravel a secret family history. Long, long ago, Halmoni stole something from the tigers. Now they want it back. And when one of the tigers approaches Lily with a deal--return what her grandmother stole in exchange for Halmoni's health--Lily is tempted to agree. But deals with tigers are never what they seem! With the help of her sister and her new friend Ricky, Lily must find her voice...and the courage to face a tiger.

Tae Keller, the award-winning author of The Science of Breakable Things, shares a sparkling tale about the power of stories and the magic of family.

"If stories were written in the stars ... this wondrous tale would be one of the brightest." --Booklist, Starred Review

ISBN/SKU: 
9781524715731
Publication Date: 
January 3, 2023
Author: 
Publisher: 

Tocqueville

Tocqueville
$16.00
"When I first read Khaled Mattawa's Tocqueville some years ago, it rewired my brain and pummeled my heart. A daring meditation on what it means to be a poet and a citizen at the center of American empire, Tocqueville was an astonishing departure from Mattawa's previous lyrically driven work, declaring that it no longer suffices to sing-- even to sing of dark times, as Bertolt Brecht proposed. Reading these poems today, in this timely second edition, we become witnesses to our implicatedness, the vulnerable privilege of a first world existence on a planet in political, economic, and ecological crisis."--Philip Metres
"Khaled Mattawa continues to write a global poetry . . . his voice clearly evolved into one of daring necessity that does not demand national identity." --Bloomsbury Review
"Mattawa's Tocqueville is not a mere revision of that historical document, but poetry based on motion, where narrative doesn't construct a story--it is more a screenplay that metamorphoses into a democratic account, a lyric slide show that disrupts conventional time into 'the befores that follow the first before.' Tocqueville is a major present in (and to) American poetry." --Fady Joudah, Ploughshares
"A poetry in which politics are considered through both potent emotion and exacting investigation, a work haunting in its scope and, most of all, in its critical self-awareness."--Hilary Plum, Kenyon Review
ISBN/SKU: 
9781936970612
Publication Date: 
April 15, 2019