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The annual Anisfield-Wolf brown bag lunch series at the Cleveland Public Library takes a twist this year with a deep dive into the Anisfield-Wolf catalog.
Doctoral student Valentino Zullo of Kent State University will introduce Cleveland to Anisfield-Wolf Book Award winners, both past and present. Zullo credits his mentor, Dr. Vera J. Camden, a professor of English at Kent State University, for teaching him the importance of conversation in literature. “It is through the sharing of stories that we are able to find relief from the outside world and learn to reimagine our role within it.”
Beginning Wednesday, June 10, an in-depth discussion of each book will occur over the summer. The Anisfield-Wolf Book Award book discussions will take place at the Main Library, in the literature department on the second floor. Contact the library at 216.623.2881 for more information.
The WallThe Wall by John Hersey
Wednesday, June 10, 2015 at noon
The Wall tells the inspiring story of forty men and women who escape the horror of the Warsaw ghetto from November 1939 to May 1943. Hersey, a Pulitzer Prize-winning American writer and journalist, chronicles events by means of a fictional diary kept by Noach Levinson, self-appointed archivist of Polish Jewry.
Half-Blood Blues by Esi Edugyan
Wednesday, July 8, 2015 at noon
A Man Booker prize finalist, Half-Blood Blues takes the reader from 1939 to 1952, and from the smoky bars of pre-war Berlin to the salons of Paris, to discover the story of legendary jazz trumpet-player Hieronymus Falk. Declared a musical genius, he was a 20-year-old Black
German citizen when he was arrested in a Paris café just before the outbreak of WWII.
The BoatThe Boat by Nam Le
Wednesday, August 12, 2015 at noon
From the slums of Columbia to Iowa City to the South China Sea, Nam Le’s accomplished debut takes the reader around the world with seven stories and seven characters as diverse and imaginatively created as their locales. 
Always Outnumbered, Always Outgunned

Always Outnumbered, Always Outgunned by Walter Mosley
Wednesday, August 26, 2015 at noon

 New York Times bestselling author Walter Mosley introduces a philosophical urban hero in this acclaimed collection of 14 entwined tales. Meet Socrates Fortlow, a tough ex-con seeking truth and
redemption in South Central Los Angeles—and finding the miracle of survival.


Book clubs have tended to be a very private thing. Intimate gatherings among friends, book clubs were a simple time to reflect and discuss whatever work happened to have your group’s attention at the moment. With Oprah’s new book club, the experience has been magnified. Featuring webisodes with the authors and an ongoing Twitter conversation, Oprah hopes to take her book club (dubbed Oprah’s Book Club 2.0) to the next level. Check out the first webisode with Cheryl Strayed, author of Wild. 

Do you like this type of book club? Will you be participating? 

2010 Lifetime Achievement winner Oprah Winfrey (do we even need to say her last name?) had big news to share – she’s ready to bring back her insanely popular book club, ready to tackle an all new landscape. Check out the video above and get the details on what Oprah has up her sleeve.

She’s planning to include reader’s tweets (using the hashtag #OprahsBookClub), Facebook posts and Instagram photos in a social media wrap-up on The first selection is Wild by Cheryl Strayed, the story of one woman’s trek along the Pacific Coast—on foot. Check out Oprah’s Twitter feed to learn more.

The Anisfield-Wolf book prize 75th anniversary celebration is in full swing at Cuyahoga County Public Library. Since January, Library staff members have facilitated lively discussions of books by Anisfield-Wolf book prize-winning authors in each of the Library’s 28 branches.

Special Anisfield-Wolf book discussion series held in the Library’s Bay Village (502 Cahoon Road / 440.871.6392), Beachwood (25501 Shaker Boulevard / 216.831.6868) and Parma Heights (6206 Pearl Road / 440.884.2313) branches have been extremely popular. Each month, book clubs meet at these branches to engage in thought-provoking discussions of books by Anisfield-Wolf book prize-winners. Past discussion titles have included: The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz; Infidel by Ayaan Hirsi Ali; and The Hemingses of Monticello by Annette Gordon-Reed, among many others.

During a recent discussion of Toni Morrison’s prize-winning novel Beloved at the Parma Heights Branch, book club members spoke eloquently about how profoundly the book had changed their lives. One member said she was proud to belong to a group that would read and discuss such a book.

Members of the Bay Village Branch book club expressed their gratitude recently for the opportunity to read and share their thoughts about Edwidge Danticat’s poignant memoir, Brother, I’m Dying. The book resonated profoundly with the group, particularly in the aftermath of Haiti’s devastating earthquakes, and prompted a thoughtful discussion of the island nation’s past and current tragedies.

Book club members at the Beachwood Branch enjoyed a special visit from Anisfield-Wolf book prize representative Laura Scharf, who shared the history of the prize as well as the story of its founder, Edith Anisfield Wolf.

Books by Anisfield-Wolf prize-winning authors have also been featured in the Library’s monthly Online Book Discussion. These online discussions, which are moderated by Library staff members, allow readers to share their thoughts on selected books with fellow readers across Cuyahoga County from their home or office computer. In May, in conjunction with Child and Family Month, the online book group held a discussion for teen readers of The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros, as well as a family-friendly discussion of Louise Erdrich’s children’s novel The Birchbark House.

By facilitating these discussions, Cuyahoga County Public Library seeks not only to connect readers with the works of outstanding authors, but also to highlight the rich, storied history of the Anisfield-Wolf book prize and to spread the Anisfield-Wolf message of tolerance in today’s global society.

All Cuyahoga County Public Library book discussions are open to the public. To participate in the online book discussion or to register for a book discussion group at a Library branch, visit

Sari Feldman
Executive Director, Cuyahoga County Public Library