July and August Book Buzz Picks!

New books for you to read and discuss!

July 23, 7pm

Franktuary, 3810 Butler St.

The Unlikely Disciple / Kevin Roose

No drinking. No smoking. No cursing. No dancing. No R-rated movies. Kevin Roose wasn’t used to rules like these.  But when Roose leaves his Ivy League confines to spend a semester at Liberty University, a conservative Baptist school in Lynchburg, Virginia, obedience is no longer optional.


On July 23rd, come for Book Buzz – stay for trivia! Trivia @ Franktuary begins at 8pm.


August: The Jazz Age

 August 13th, 7pm

CLP – Lawrenceville

Rules of Civility / Amor Towles

Armed with little more than a formidable intellect, a bracing wit, and her own brand of cool nerve, Katey Kontent embarks on a journey from a Wall Street secretarial pool through the upper echelons of New York society in search of a brighter future.


August 27th, 7pm

720 Music, Clothes and Café, 4405 Butler St.

Jazz / Toni Morrison

The story of Joe Trace, a door-to-door salesman in his 50s, his mentally unstable wife, and his 18-year-old lover. Set in Harlem in the 1920s, the story captures the rhythms of the city and the bittersweet mood of African American life at a moment in our history we assumed we understood.



The Buzz comes to Beechview and Mt. Washington

The Buzz comes to CLP–Beechview and CLP-Mt. Washington!  Quarterly book discussions will be held outside of the library at coffee shops and restaurants in Beechview and Mt. Washington.  The first book discussion was hosted by Brew on Broadway in Beechview.  (They have the best iced chai that I ever tasted!)  The next discussion will be hosted by Grand Brew on Saturday, June 22, 2013 @ 10:30 AM.  Grand Brew is located at 122 Shiloh Street in Mt. Washington.

So, what’s on the buzz meter this month?

The Influencing MachineBrook Gladstone On The Media illustrated by Josh Neufeld.

Let’s talk about media biases:

  • commercial bias
  • bad news bias
  • status quo bias
  • access bias
  • visual bias
  • narrative bias
  • fairness bias

Something to think about:  (p. 78)

“Out of the Civil War emerges the template for future war journalism–use and abuse of new technology, press releases, censorship, passive reporting…Reporting of dazzling clarity and reporting warped in the heat of high ideals and love of country.  Oh, and something else comes out of the Civil War…Bylines!  Before the war, reporting is anonymous.  The founding fathers used pseudonyms to attack each other in print.  But General Joe Hooker, enraged by the press, demands reporters sign their work.  Then they can abuse or criticize me to their heart’s content.  In future wars, the military contains the media through the skillful deployment of carrots and sticks, and an irresistible force–patriotism. It’s said that Senator Hiram Johnson, opposing America’s entry into World War One in 1917, first uttered the words that have resounded ever since…The first casualty when war comes is truth.


Other buzz-worthy titles:

Present Shock: When Everything Happens Now by Douglas Rushkoff.

Big Data:  A Revolution That Will Transform How We Live, Work and Think  by Viktor Mayer-Schönberger and Kenneth Cukier.

Masters of the Word:  How Media Shaped History, from the Alphabet to the Internet  by William J. Bernstein.


Book Buzz TONIGHT! Let’s start thinking about zombies.

So, in just a few hours I’ll be meeting up with some awesome readers at House of the Dead to discuss Feed, the first book in the Newsflesh Trilogy by Mira Grant.  I’m so excited to talk to people about this book!  Are you coming?  If so, here are some things I’m looking forward to discussing:

Was the future depicted in Feed realistic? Why or why not?

How did the infection affect how people access and interpret the news? Do you think the media outlets of 2040?

Georgia, Georgette, Shaun, “Irwins,” even using the term “zombie” to refer to the infected — what do you think of the use of current zombie lore being used in Feed?  Did it make things more realistic, or pull you out of the story?

Who was your favorite or least favorite character? What did you think about the relationships between the characters?

While Feed is a zombie novel, there is a lot more to it — do you think Grant is trying to make any statements about current culture?  What themes do you notice in the book?

The ending of Feed is…a little bit of a cliffhanger.  Are you excited to read the sequel?

(Oh, BTW — Geek Pittsburgh interviewed me about this book discussion! Read the article here.)

Not dead yet,


Get Your Coffee Buzz On

Sitting in a coffee shop with coconut macaroon cookies, cup of coffee (or tea or mocha or americano…), and a good book with people does sound like a great time, right? Luckily, we of CLP-Brookline found some like-minded comrades in our quest for alternative reading this past Thursday at the local favorite, Cannon Coffee, as well deciding on our first two reads!

This book will blow your mind.

This book will blow your mind.

First up, by an unanimous vote, the just-got-to-know-ya book group have selected our April book to be Fun Home by Alison Bechdel, an eye-opening graphic novel memoir about a young girl’s complex relationship with her father growing up while having to help out with the family business of running a (fun)eral home. She discovers things about her father she never knew until after his death, and strangely enough, she develops a stronger connection to him than ever before.

Do you enjoy graphic novels? Then you will love this.

Never read a graphic novel before? This is worth the chance. You should take it.

Heck, already read this a million times? You should probably come.

This book will also make you question everything you have ever done.

This book will also make you question everything you have ever done.

If this isn’t enough to sway you, our May book will be Downtown Owl (and on CD, how delightful!), written by Chuck Klosterman. While Chuck is usually the guy behind heavily intricate essays on pop culture and the what-of-it notion of understanding, this is his first fiction novel. Set in a fictional town of 1983 Middle America, he spins a story of several characters who eventually become intertwined due to a historically accurate snowstorm that led to a few deaths. While this is not a graphic novel, you will still become immersed with his affectionate irony and modern humor.

The next meeting for Brookline Book Buzz is scheduled for April 25th at 6 PM at Cannon Coffee, the hippest coffee shop off the I-79 corridor. Coffee is produced by Commonplace Coffee Co., and let me just throw this out there: They have a sweet outdoor patio in the back. Don’t you want to sit outside in warm weather, drinking your iced coffee, and talking about awesome books? I know you do.

The sweetness that awaits you

The sweetness that awaits you

Book Buzz: South Side

Seriously, if there was ever the audience for a book club that meets in bars and coffee shops, wouldn’t you think it’s the South Side of Pittsburgh? It’s sort of a no-brainer. That’s why Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh- South Side is so excited to be part of Book Buzz!

Our first meeting will be Tuesday, March 26 at 6pm. We will be meeting at the OTB Bicycle Cafe, 2518 East Carson Street, 15203.

I am almost finished with the March book: Ready Player One by Ernest Cline and I am dying to talk to someone about it. You should join me and put me out of my misery. Don’t want to read the book? Listen to on MP3 or download the audio book (narrated by Wil Wheaton. Meee-ow.)


If I can’t tempt you with excellent reading material and/or my sparkling personality, let me also add that Tuesday night at the OTB is ONE DOLLAR TACO NIGHT.

No one should have to eat tacos alone.


The Buzz reaches Brookline!

Greetings and salutations.

It’s happening!  Book Buzz will be coming to Brookline for your entertainment and enlightenment.  These particular Book Buzz meetups will be taking place at local business and community hot spot extraordinaire Cannon Coffee on the fourth Thursday of every month at 6 pm.

Our first meeting will be March 28 and we’ll be chatting, getting familiar, and selecting our first quirky, heterodox read.  Our books will be based on readers’ choice, as long they’re strange, uncommon and, yes… mind blowing.



1619, from Gk. heterodoxos, from heteros “the other” + doxa “opinion.”
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Book Buzz: Pairings

So, “early next week” became “early two weeks from now…”  Sorry, folks.  However, I’ve got dates, I’ve got times, I’ve got titles…here’s what’s we’re going to be buzzing about in Lawrenceville this spring.

Each month we’ll meet twice to discuss two related titles: an old favorite and something a little more off-beat. Everyone’s welcome to come to one discussion – or the other – or both! Copies of each month’s titles will be available for check-out at CLP – Lawrenceville.

(Click on the dates to register!)

Pairing One: Cooks and Cooking

Child, Julia.  My Life in France
March 11, 2013 ** 7pm
CLP – Lawrenceville, 279 Fisk St.

The captivating story of Julia Child’s years in France, where she fell in love with French food and found “her true calling.”

Powell, Julia. Cleaving
March 25, 2013 ** 7pm
Perk Me Up Coffeehouse, 4407 Butler St.

This follow-up to Julie and Julia moves beyond French cooking and into butchery and heartbreak.


Pairing Two: Dead or Alive?

Shelley, Mary. Frankenstein
April 8, 2013 ** 7pm

CLP – Lawrenceville, 279 Fisk St.

Scientist Victor Frankenstein creates a large and powerful creature in the likeness of man, but is disgusted by his own creation and he abandons the being to fend for itself.

Grant, Mira. Feed.
April 22, 2013 ** 7pm
House of the Dead, 4110 Butler St.

Twenty years after the zombie rising, bloggers Shaun and Georgia Mason are chasing stories that may not only change the face of American politics but also reveal the truth behind the infected.

**Books will also be available for purchase at the store.**


Pairing Three: A Woman’s World?

Atwood, Margaret. The Handmaid’s Tale
May 13, 2013 ** 7pm
CLP – Lawrenceville, 279 Fisk St.

Offred is a Handmaid in the Republic of Gilead, once the United States, an oppressive world where women are no longer allowed to read and are valued only as long as they are viable for reproduction.

Jordan, Hillary. When She Woke.
June 3, 2013 ** 7pm

Church Brew Works, 3521 Liberty Ave.

In the near future, prisoners are genetically modified, not imprisoned. Hannah is a Red: for having an abortion, she has been forever marked as the most heinous type of criminal.  Her road to redemption and to safety forces her to question everything she’s ever believed.

** Please note special date.  Discussion will be held in beer garden, weather permitting. **