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Speaking Volumes was a weekly conversation hosted by Josh Raulerson on books and reading with interesting people from all walks of life here in Pittsburgh.Speaking Volumes as a regular feature ended in December, 2013 but occasional specials may pop up.

Speaking Volumes: Cindy Skrzycki


A seasoned journalist and senior lecturer for the University of Pittsburgh’s writing program, Cindy Skrzycki has an eye for a story. Her recent fiction and nonfiction book selections reflect what she teaches her students: Foundationally, good writing is informed writing. 

Joan Clark, Latitudes of Melt

One chilly dawn in the year 1912 a fisherman finds a mysterious, beautiful infant floating on an ice floe in the North Atlantic. This is her story. The inhabitants of the poor Newfoundland fishing village of Drook believe that Aurora, with her shock of white hair and eyes of different colors, is a changeling. Her very survival shows that her life is charmed. As she grows up, her adoptive family perceives the many ways in which Aurora′s nature deviates from theirs. 

-Harper Collins Publishers Australia 

James Carroll, Jerusalem, Jerusalem: How the Ancient City Ignited Our Modern World 

Jerusalem: the ancient City on a Hill, a place central to three major religions, a transcendent fantasy that ignites religious fervor unlike anywhere else on earth. James Carroll’s urgent, masterly Jerusalem, Jerusalem uncovers the history of the city and explores how it came to define culture in both the Middle East and America. 

- Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Joan Didion, Slouching Towards Bethlehem

The first nonfiction work by one of the most distinctive prose stylists of our era,Slouching Towards Bethlehem remains, forty years after its first publication, the essential portrait of America— particularly California—in the sixties. It focuses on such subjects as John Wayne and Howard Hughes, growing up a girl in California, ruminating on the nature of good and evil in a Death Valley motel room, and, especially, the essence of San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury, the heart of the counterculture.