Forthcoming books

Book for March 15, 2024
Meeting at Sylvia's place
The Heaven & Earth Grocery Store

In 1972, when workers in Pottstown, Pennsylvania, were digging the foundations for a new development, the last thing they expected to find was a skeleton at the bottom of a well. Who the skeleton was and how it got there were two of the long-held secrets kept by the residents of Chicken Hill, the dilapidated neighborhood where immigrant Jews and African Americans lived side by side and shared ambitions and sorrows. Chicken Hill was where Moshe and Chona Ludlow lived when Moshe integrated his theater and where Chona ran the Heaven & Earth Grocery Store. When the state came looking for a deaf boy to institutionalize him, it was Chona and Nate Timblin, the Black janitor at Moshe’s theater and the unofficial leader of the Black community on Chicken Hill, who worked together to keep the boy safe.

As these characters’ stories overlap and deepen, it becomes clear how much the people who live on the margins of white, Christian America struggle and what they must do to survive. When the truth is finally revealed about what happened on Chicken Hill and the part the town’s white establishment played in it, McBride shows us that even in dark times, it is love and community—heaven and earth—that sustain us.

Bringing his masterly storytelling skills and his deep faith in humanity to The Heaven & Earth Grocery Store, James McBride has written a novel as compassionate as Deacon King Kong and as inventive as The Good Lord Bird.

James McBride

James McBride is a native New Yorker and a graduate of New York City public schools. He studied composition at The Oberlin Conservatory of Music in Ohio and received his Masters in Journalism from Columbia University in New York at age 22. He holds several honorary doctorates and is currently a Distinguished Writer in Residence at New York University. He is married with three children. He lives in Pennsylvania and New York.

James McBride is a former staff writer for The Washington Post, People Magazine, and The Boston Globe. His work has also appeared in Essence, Rolling Stone, and The New York Times. His April, 2007 National Geographic story entitled “Hip Hop Planet” is considered a respected treatise on African American music and culture.

As a musician, he has written songs (music and lyrics) for Anita Baker, Grover Washington Jr., and Gary Burton, among others. He served as a tenor saxophone sideman for jazz legend Little Jimmy Scott. He is the recipient of several awards for his work as a composer in musical theater including the Stephen Sondheim Award and the Richard Rodgers Foundation Horizon Award. His “Riffin’ and Pontificatin’ ” Tour, a nationwide tour of high schools and colleges promoting reading through jazz, was captured in a 2003 Comcast documentary. He has been featured on national radio and television programs in America, Europe, Australia and New Zealand.

Book for April 17, 2024
The Fraud
The Fraud is a historical novel based on the Tichborne case written by Zadie Smith. Mrs Touchet is the Scottish housekeeper and a cousin by marriage of William Harrison Ainsworth. In 1873 she has been living with him for thirty years in London, Brighton and Surrey. He used to be a famed novelist. In 1834 his gothic novel Rookwood was a popular serial. Later he got negative reviews, and he had a conflict with Charles Dickens and illustrator George Cruikshank. All of England is captivated with a trial. Roger Tichborne, rightful heir to a baronetcy and a family fortune, was presumed to have died in a shipwreck in 1854, but now a man claims to be him. Andrew Bogle, who grew up as a slave on a Jamaican sugar plantation, is a star witness.
Zadie Smith

Zadie Smith (born on 25 October 1975) is a British novelist, essayist and short story writer. As of 2016, she has published five novels, all of which have received substantial critical praise. In 2003, she was included on Granta's list of 20 best young authors. Smith has won the Orange Prize for Fiction in 2006 and her novel White Teeth was included in Time magazines TIME 100 Best English-language Novels from 1923 to 2005 list. She joined New York University's Creative Writing Program as a tenured professor in 2010.