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Connections Summer Book Week

The week of July 20-23, will be Connections Summer Book Week, and we’re encouraging you to be a part of it.

Special host Scott Fybush has put together your reading list, and is encouraging you to sit back, read the books on the list, and join him for conversations with the authors during the week. Be sure to borrow these titles at your local library, or purchase from your local bookstore.

Here’s the Connections Summer Book Week reading list:

Playing Scared  (Monday 7/20 @ 1 p.m.)

By Sara Solovitch

Purchase Playing Scared

Borrow Playing Scared at your library branch

Stage fright is one of the human psyche's deepest fears. Laurence Olivier learned to adapt to it, as have actors Salma Hayek and Hugh Grant. Musicians such as George Harrison and Adele have battled it and learned to cope. Others never do: In 1973, Pittsburgh Pirates All-Star pitcher Steve Blass suddenly could no longer find the strike zone; his career ended soon after. Surveys in the United States repeatedly rank public speaking as one of the top fears, affecting up to 74 percent of people.

Sara Solovitch studied piano as a young child and fell in love with music. At ten, she played Bach and Mozart in her hometown's annual music festival, but was overwhelmed by fear. As a teen, she attended *Eastman School of Music*, where stage fright led her to give up aspirations of becoming a professional pianist. In her late fifties, Sara gave herself a one-year deadline to tame performance anxiety and play before an audience. She resumed music lessons, while exploring meditation, exposure therapy, cognitive therapy, biofeedback, beta blockers, and other remedies. She performed in airports, hospitals, and retirement homes before renting a public hall and performing for fifty guests on her sixtieth birthday.

Using her own journey as inspiration, Solovitch has written a thoughtful and insightful examination of the myriad causes of stage fright and the equally diverse ways to overcome it, and a tribute to pursuing personal growth at any age.


The Wright Brothers (Tuesday 7/21 @ 1 p.m.)

By David McCullogh

Purchase The Wright Brothers

Borrow The Wright Brothers at your library branch

Two-time winner of the Pulitzer Prize David McCullough tells the dramatic story-behind-the-story about the courageous brothers who taught the world how to fly: Wilbur and Orville Wright.

On a winter day in 1903, in the Outer Banks of North Carolina, two unknown brothers from Ohio changed history. But it would take the world some time to believe what had happened: the age of flight had begun, with the first heavier-than-air, powered machine carrying a pilot.

Who were these men and how was it that they achieved what they did?

David McCullough, two-time winner of the Pulitzer Prize, tells the surprising, profoundly American story of Wilbur and Orville Wright.


Passwords Primeval (Monday 7/20 @ 12 p.m.)

By Tony Leuzzi

Purchase Passwords Primeval

Borrow Passwords Primeval at your library branch

Passwords Primeval sets aside the artificial boundaries of poetry “schools” and “movements” to cut to the art of the matter. Tony Leuzzi’s astounding knowledge of poetry draws new insights from such luminaries as Billy Collins, Gerald Stern, Jane Hirshfield, Patricia Smith, and Martín Espada. These new interviews offer a candid look at craft, inspiration, and living as a poet; they provide insights into the poets and their poems, without compromising their mystery. This eclectic roster of poets is a revelation of the enormous breadth of American poetry.


The Enchantress (Wednesday 7/22 @ 12 p.m.)

By Sarah Hamilton

Purchase The Enchantress

When Scarlette makes a wish on her sweet sixteen, her entire world changes. Casted into the Enchanted realm, she must seek out the last remaining portal to get back home. As the adventure continues, Scarlette learns about an evil queen’s dark curse that swept over the land. The only remains of humanity lies in the hope that the Enchantress returns, but with complications, that seems like a fantasy in itself. As her eyes open to the realm and its secrets, Scarlette must come to a decision that changes fate and destiny.


Cold Calls (Wednesday 7/22 @ 1 p.m.)

By Charles Benoit

Purchase Cold Calls

Borrow Cold Calls at your library branch

Three high school students—Eric, Shelly, and Fatima—have one thing in common: “I know your secret.

Each one is blackmailed into bullying specifically targeted schoolmates by a mysterious caller who whispers from their cell phones and holds carefully guarded secrets over their heads. But how could anyone have obtained that photo, read those hidden pages, uncovered this buried past? Thrown together, the three teens join forces to find the stranger who threatens them—before time runs out and their shattering secrets are revealed . . .

This suspenseful, pitch-perfect mystery-thriller raises timely questions about privacy, bullying, and culpability.


52 Men (Monday 7/20 @ 12 p.m.)

By Louise Wareham Leonard

Purchase 52 Men (August 15 Release)

Fifty-two wry sexy sketches of men encountered by one young woman in Manhattan: famous, infamous, friend and villain. With autobiographical portraits based on Lou Reed, Michael Stipe, Jonathan Franzen, Jay Carney, and Carter Vanderbilt Cooper.

Excerpts from 52 Men are being published in the online literary magazines The Rumpus and the Fiction Advocate on Wednesday July 22nd. A book trailer is below.


The Man Who Painted the Universe (Thursday 7/23 @ 1 p.m.)

By Avi Lank

Purchase The Man Who Painted The Universe

As a young boy Frank Kovac Jr. fell deeply in love with stargazing, painting glow-in-the-dark constellations on his bedroom wall and inviting friends to an observatory he built in his Chicago backyard. As he reached adulthood, Kovac did not let go of his childhood dreams of reaching the stars. He began scheming to bring the universe home. While working at a paper mill as a young man, Kovac tirelessly built a 22-foot rotating globe planetarium in the woods. Despite failures and collapses, the amateur astronomer single-handedly built a North Woods treasure, painting more than 5,000 glowing stars--dot by dot in glowing paints.

Today, Kovac and his unique planetarium take visitors to the stars every day.

"The Man Who Painted the Universe: The Story of a Planetarium in the Heart of the North Woods" introduces readers to the mild-mannered astronomy enthusiast whose creativity, ingenuity, fervor, and endurance realized a dream of galactic proportions. The story of this stargazer from Wisconsin's North Woods so inspired two newspapermen, authors Ron Legro and Avi Lank, that they sought to document the story of the Kovac Planetarium for a new generation of stargazers and dreamers. Lank is a Rochester native and son of longtime real estate columnist Edith Lank.


Frederick and Anna Douglass in Rochester, New York

By Rose O'Keefe

Purchase Frederick & Anna Douglass in Rochester, New York

Borrow Frederick & Anna Douglass in Rochester, New York at your local library branch

Frederick Douglass—famed author, orator and former slave—spent twenty-five years with his family in Rochester, New York, beginning in 1848. Despite living through one of our nation’s most bitter and terrifying times, Frederick and his wife, Anna, raised five children in a loving home with flower, fruit and vegetable gardens. While Frederick traveled widely, fighting for the freedom and rights of his brethren, Anna cared for their home and their family and extended circle. Their house was open to fugitives on the Underground Railroad, visiting abolitionists and houseguests who stayed for weeks, months and years at a time. Local author Rose O’Keefe weaves together the story of the Douglass’ experience in Rochester and the indelible mark they left on the Flower City.


Outside The Game

By Jim Mandelaro

Purchase Outside the Game

A collection of inspirational sports stories previously published in Rochester’sDemocrat and Chronicle, Mandelaro describes the triumphs and tragedies of local and national athletes. These narratives go beyond the wins and losses of the game to illuminate the perseverance of the human spirit over challenging life situations.

Connections summer book week