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Speaking Volumes: Pledge Drive Edition


In recognition of the fall membership campaign, book picks from 90.5 WESA and WYEP pledge room volunteers:

Kate Howe, Beaver Falls

VictorHugo, Les Miserables

Serving nineteen years in prison for stealing a loaf of bread, Jean Valjean is finally released and struggles to build a new life, but the relentless police Inspector Javert is determined to put him back in jail, forcing Jean to go into hiding, where he becomes the champion of the sick, injured, and poor, in a powerful new translation of Hugo's masterful novel. 12,500 first printing.


Larry Burke, Upper St Clair

JK Rowling, The Casual Vacancy

The early death of a small-town councilman reveals deep-rooted conflicts in the seemingly idyllic community of Pagford, which rapidly deteriorates in the face of cultural disputes, generation clashes and a volatile election.


Kimberly Vojko, Mt Washington

Emma Donohue, Room

To five-year-old Jack, Room is the entire world. It’s where he was born and where he and his Ma eat and play and learn. At night, Ma puts him safely to sleep in the wardrobe, in case Old Nick comes.

Room is home to Jack, but to Ma, it’s the prison where Old Nick has kept her for seven years, since she was nineteen. Through ingenuity and determination, Ma has created a life for herself and her son, but she knows it’s not enough for either of them. Jack’s curiosity is building alongside Ma’s desperation -- and Room can’t contain either of them for much longer...

-Harper Collins 

Katie Helfrich, South HIlls

Jeannette Walls, The Glass Castle

The second child of a scholarly, alcoholic father and an eccentric artist mother discusses her family's nomadic upbringing, from the Arizona desert to Las Vegas to an Appalachian mining town, during which she and her siblings had to fend for themselves while their parents outmaneuvered bill collectors and the authorities.


Johnny Golden, Pleasant Hills

Marcel Proust, Remembrance of Things Past

The first volume of Marcel Proust’s monumental masterpiece—in the classic Scott Moncrieff–Kilmartin translation—is not only a perfect introduction to a literary landmark, it also stands on its own as one of the most sensitive renderings of childhood in fiction and a brilliant meditation on the recreation of the past through art and memory.

Swann’s Way is the most frequently read part of Proust’s epic novel, Remembrance of Things Past (also known as In Search of Lost Time). Itintroduces subjects that resonate throughout the entire work, including the narrator’s love for Swann’s daughter Gilberte, Swann’s jealous passion for Odette, and the rise of the nouveaux-riches Verdurins. Proust’s narrator vividly recalls his childhood in Paris and Combray, most famously in a fraught evocation of his mother’s good-night kiss and in the iconic scene where the taste of a madeleine dipped in tea brings back a flood of memory.

-Vintage Books