Category Archives: Food for Thought

NEA Big Read Grant

The Public Library of Youngstown & Mahoning County (PLYMC) with Lit Youngstown received a grant of $15,000 to host the NEA Big Read in Mahoning County. An initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest, the NEA Big Read broadens our understanding of our world, our communities, and ourselves through the joy of sharing a good book.

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Our selected book is Into the Beautiful North by Luis Alberto Urrea, also the September book in our Food for Thought book discussion series. Mr. Urrea will visit the Valley this fall, and there will be many activities relating to the book and its themes in a month-long calendar of events.  Numerous electronic and hard copies will be available at the public library and branches, and at the two Barnes & Noble bookstores. The Youngstown Rotary will stock each of their Little Free Libraries with a copy, as well.

NEA Big ReadWe are so grateful to the professional, hardworking staff at the public library for their partnership, to the NEA and Arts Midwest for selecting our proposal (one of only two in Ohio and 78 nationwide), and to the many community partners who agreed to host an event during our Big Read. We’ll share the calendar as soon as the ink dries.

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Food for Thought: Humankind in the Natural World

After a summer hiatus, Food for Thought book discussion will start up in September with a series on being in the natural world. Each series’s books represents a cross-section of genres and contemporary voices, and this round we will read novels, nonfiction, and collections of poetry and short stories.

Food for Thought will meet the 2nd Wednesday from 6:00-7:00 at Cultivate Café, 901 Elm St., by Wick Park. Cultivate closes at 6:00, so if you’d like a bite to eat, please arrive early.

The books will be available from the YSU Barnes & Noble and we’ll find out which are at the public library, and which are available from the press.

September (Fiction, Novel) Into the Beautiful North by Luis Alberto Urrea
October (Nonfiction) Katrina: After the Flood by Gary Rivlin
November (Fiction, Novel) The Overstory by Richard Powers
December (Poetry) Oceanic by Aimee Nezhukumatathil
January (Fiction, Short Stories) For a Little While by Rick Bass
February (Nonfiction) The Uninhabitable Earth by David Wallace-Wells
March (Fiction, Novel) Unsheltered by Barbara Kingsolver
April (Nonfiction) The Hidden Half of Nature: The Microbial Roots of Life and Health by David R. Montgomery, Anne Biklé
May (Nonfiction) Bringing Nature Home by Douglas Tallamy

When we read a book, we want to talk about it! If you feel that way, too, hope you’ll join us.

Food for Thought: Founding Mothers: The Women Who Raised Our Nation

Cokie Roberts spoke to a packed house at Stambaugh Auditorium last year, and we have cokie_mothersselected her book to conclude our series of titles by recent author visitors to the Valley. About Founding Mothers, the Washington Post writes, “Just because the founding mothers were unappreciated in their own time doesn’t mean we have to continue the trend.”

You can find copies of the book at the Mahoning and Trumbull County libraries, YSU Maag Library via OhioLink, and at the YSU Barnes & Noble.

Food for Thought book discussion will be hosted by our community partner Cultivate Cafe, 901 Elm St., on Wednesday, May 8, from 6:00-7:00 pm. If you would like to order a bite to eat, please arrive well before the counter closes at 6:00. Haven’t read the book yet? No worries. Join us.

We will take the summer off and resume this fall with a series on humankind and the natural world.

Food for Thought: Unforgettable

Scott Simon was a recent speaker at St. John’s Episcopal Church, and we have selected his scottsimonbook2book as part of our series of titles by recent author visitors to the Valley. About Unforgettable, the New York Times writes, “Scott Simon, host of NPR’s “Weekend Edition Saturday,” proves to be an able guide to the art of saying goodbye in his deeply affecting new memoir, Unforgettable: A Son, a Mother, and the Lessons of a Lifetime.”

You can find copies of the book at the Mahoning and Trumbull County libraries, YSU Maag Library via OhioLink, and at the YSU Barnes & Noble.

Food for Thought book discussion will be hosted by our community partner Cultivate Cafe, 901 Elm St., on Wednesday, April 10, from 6:00-7:00 pm. If you would like to order a bite to eat, please arrive well before the counter closes at 6:00. Haven’t read the book yet? No worries. Join us. Here are this series’ upcoming selections by writers who have recently visited the Valley.

May 15 (Nonfiction) Cokie Roberts | Founding Mothers: The Women Who Raised Our Nation

Food for Thought: Get in Trouble

Kelly Link was a recent visiting writer at YSU, and we have selected her book as part of indexour series of titles by recent author visitors to the Valley. About Get in Trouble, the New York Times writes, “It has taken Link 10 years to produce her new story collection, Get in Trouble, and it is just as brilliant as her last, Magic for Beginners.”

You can find copies of the book at the Mahoning and Trumbull County libraries, YSU Maag Library via OhioLink, from the publisher, and at the YSU Barnes & Noble.

Food for Thought book discussion will be hosted by our community partner Cultivate Cafe, 901 Elm St., on Wednesday, March 13, from 6:00-7:00 pm. If you would like to order a bite to eat, please arrive well before the counter closes at 6:00. Haven’t read the book yet? No worries. Join us. Here are this series’ upcoming selections by writers who have recently visited the Valley:

April 10 (Memoir) Scott Simon | Unforgettable
May 15 (Nonfiction) Cokie Roberts | Founding Mothers: The Women Who Raised Our Nation

Food for Thought: I’m Still Here

Austin Channing Brown recently spoke at St. John’s Episcopal Church, so we have selected her book as part of our series of titles by recent author visitors to the Valley. About I’m Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness the publisher writes, “Austin Channing Brown’s first encounter with a racialized America came at age 7, when she discovered her parents named her Austin to deceive future employers into thinking she was a white man. Growing up in majority-white schools, organizations, and churches, Austin writes, ‘I had to learn what it means to love blackness,’ a journey that led to a lifetime spent navigating America’s racial divide as a writer, speaker and expert who helps organizations practice genuine inclusion.”

You can find copies of the book at the Mahoning (e-book) and Trumbull County libraries, YSU Maag Library via OhioLink, from the publisher, and at the YSU Barnes & Noble.

Food for Thought book discussion will be hosted by our community partner Cultivate Cafe, 901 Elm St., on Wednesday, February 13, from 6:00-7:00 pm. If you would like to order a bite to eat, please arrive well before the counter closes at 6:00. Haven’t read the book yet? No worries. Join us. Here are this series’ upcoming selections by writers who have recently visited the Valley:

March 13 (Novel, Speculative Fiction) Kelly Link | Get in Trouble
April 10 (Memoir) Scott Simon | Unforgettable
May 15 (Nonfiction) Cokie Roberts | Founding Mothers: The Women Who Raised Our Nation

Claudia Rankine at Parma-Snow Library January 23

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Many of you joined our Food for Thought discussion of Citizen: An American Lyric last year, part of our series on the American experience. Claudia Rankine will be in conversation with Ohio Poet Laureate Dave Lucas at the Parma-Snow branch of the Cuyahoga County Public Library on Wednesday, January 23, at 7:00. The event is free with registration.

January 9 Food for Thought: Savage Country

Many of you enjoyed the reading and craft talk by Robert Olmstead at our 2017 Fall Literary Festival. Join us for a conversation about Olmstead’s Savage Country. “For weeks countless swarms of locusts, brown-black and brick-yellow, darkened the air like ash from a great conflagration, their jaws biting all things for what could be eaten.”

You can find copies of the book at the Mahoning and Trumbull County libraries, YSU Maag Library via OhioLink, from the publisher, and at the YSU Barnes & Noble.

Food for Thought book discussion will be hosted by our community partner Cultivate Cafe, 901 Elm St., on Wednesday, January 9, from 6:00-7:00 pm. If you would like to order a bite to eat, please arrive well before the counter closes at 6:00. Haven’t read the book yet? No worries. Join us. Here are this series’ upcoming selections by writers who have recently visited the Valley:

February 13 (Nonfiction) Austin Channing Brown|I’m Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made For Whiteness
March 13 (Novel, Speculative Fiction) Kelly Link|Get in Trouble
April 10 (Memoir) Scott Simon|Unforgettable
May 15 (Nonfiction) Cokie Roberts|Founding Mothers: The Women Who Raised Our Nation

Food for Thought: Crossings

Join us for a conversation about Crossings: A Doctor-Soldier’s Story by Fall Literary Festival visiting writer Jon Kerstetter. Read more about the memoir here.

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Food for Thought book discussion will meet at Cultivate Cafe, 901 Elm St., on Wednesday, November 14, from 6:00-7:00 pm. If you would like to order a bite to eat, please arrive well before the counter closes at 6:00.

Haven’t read the book yet? No worries. Join us.

Here are this year’s selections by writers who have recently visited the Valley:
October 10 (Short stories) Lesley Nneka Arimah What It Means When a Man Falls From the Sky
November 14 (Memoir) Jon Kerstetter Crossings: A Doctor-Soldier’s Story
December 12 (Poetry) Allison Pitinii Davis Line Study of a Motel Clerk
January 9 (Historical Novel) Robert Olmstead Savage Country
February 13 (Nonfiction) Austin Channing Brown I’m Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made For Whiteness
March 13 (Novel, Speculative Fiction) Kelly Link Get in Trouble
April 10 (Memoir) Scott Simon Unforgettable
May 15 (Nonfiction) Cokie Roberts Founding Mothers: The Women Who Raised Our Nation

Food for Thought: Camp Olvido

camp olvidoLawrence Coates, historical fiction writer, was a First Wednesday Series reader and is the author of Food for Thought selection The Garden of the World. His novella, Camp Olvido, was recently optioned for a film. Read more about the book here.

We will meet at Cultivate Cafe, 901 Elm St., on Wednesday, May 9, from 6:00-7:00 pm. If you would like to order a bite to eat, please arrive well before the counter closes at 6:00.

We are at the end of a series of books that explore the American experience. Peruse the rest of the titles here. Haven’t read the book yet? No worries. Join us.