Speaking Volumes
3:00 am
Mon March 4, 2013

What the Greater Pittsburgh Literary Council's Don Block is Reading

Don Block runs the Greater Pittsburgh Literary Council, and practices what he preaches...

Greater Pittsburgh Literary Council Executive Director Don Block: "One of the reasons you read is to fill in gaps in your education."
Credit Josh Raulerson/90.5 WESA
Anne Fadiman, The Spirit Catches You And You Fall Down The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down explores the clash between a small county hospital in California and a refugee family from Laos over the care of Lia Lee, a Hmong child diagnosed with severe epilepsy. Lia’s parents and her doctors both wanted what was best for Lia, but the lack of understanding between them led to tragedy. Winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award for Nonfiction, the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Current Interest, and the Salon Book Award, Anne Fadiman’s compassionate account of this cultural impasse is literary journalism at its finest.-Macmillan  Willam T. Vollman, ed. Best American Travel Writing of 2012 Edited by professional adventurer and National Book Award–winner William T. Vollmann, this collection delivers an eclectic batch of the year’s most exhilarating travel writing from Bryan Curtis, Lynn Freed, J. Malcolm Garcia, Peter Gwin, Pico Iyer, Mark Jenkins, Dimiter Kenarov, Robin Kirk, Kimberly Meyer, Paul Theroux, and more.-Houghton Mifflin Harcourt  Candace Millard, Destiny of the Republic James Abram Garfield was one of the most extraordinary men ever elected president. Born into abject poverty, he rose to become a wunderkind scholar, a Civil War hero, a renowned congressman, and a reluctant presidential candidate who took on the nation's corrupt political establishment. But four months after Garfield's inauguration in 1881, he was shot in the back by a deranged office-seeker named Charles Guiteau. Garfield survived the attack, but become the object of bitter, behind-the-scenes struggles for power—over his administration, over the nation's future, and, hauntingly, over his medical care. Meticulously researched, epic in scope, and pulsating with an intimate human focus and high-velocity narrative drive, The Destiny of the Republic brings alive a forgotten chapter of U.S. history.