Arts
7:00 am
Mon May 7, 2012

Mary Frances Cooper

Mary Frances Cooper, President and Director of the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, loves the heft and texture of a good book. But, as she tells Speaking Volumes, Cooper also sees a bright future for libraries and readers through digital publishing.

Her recent reads include:

Erin Morgenstern, The Night Circus

The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called Le Cirque des Rêves, and it is only open at night.

But behind the scenes, a fierce competition is underway—a duel between two young magicians, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood expressly for this purpose by their mercurial instructors. Unbeknownst to them, this is a game in which only one can be left standing, and the circus is but the stage for a remarkable battle of imagination and will. Despite themselves, however, Celia and Marco tumble headfirst into love—a deep, magical love that makes the lights flicker and the room grow warm whenever they so much as brush hands.

Randoom House

Albert Brooks, 2030: The Real Story of What Happens to America

June 12, 2030 started out like any other day in memory—and by then, memories were long. Since cancer had been cured fifteen years earlier, America's population was aging rapidly. That sounds like good news, but consider this: millions of baby boomers, with a big natural predator picked off, were sucking dry benefits and resources that were never meant to hold them into their eighties and beyond. Young people around the country simmered with resentment toward "the olds" and anger at the treadmill they could never get off of just to maintain their parents' entitlement programs…

In 2030, the author's all-too-believable imagining of where today's challenges could lead us tomorrow makes gripping and thought-provoking reading.

Macmillan

Joshua Foer, Moonwalking With Einstein

On average, people squander forty days annually compensating for things they've forgotten. Joshua Foer used to be one of those people. But after a year of memory training, he found himself in the finals of the U.S. Memory Championship. Even more important, Foer found a vital truth we too often forget: In every way that matters, we are the sum of our memories.

Moonwalking with Einstein draws on cutting-edge research, a surprising cultural history of memory, and venerable tricks of the mentalist's trade to transform our understanding of human remembering. Under the tutelage of top "mental athletes," he learns ancient techniques once employed by Cicero to memorize his speeches and by Medieval scholars to memorize entire books. Using methods that have been largely forgotten, Foer discovers that we can all dramatically improve our memories.

Penguin

Speaking Volumes is a weekly conversation on books and reading with some of the people who make news in Pittsburgh. The program airs on 90.5 FM Mondays during Morning Edition, and Wednesdays during Essential Pittsburgh.