Book Group

Need a good book to read? Join the DC Penn Book Group for recommendations!

The Penn DC Book Group is looking for new leadership to help select books and choose dates for meetings! Please write to Rebecca Aaberg at rebecca.aaberg (at) gmail (dot) com or to Trish (our lovely host) at savage2737 (at) comcast (dot) net if you are interested.

The DC Penn Book Group meets bi-monthly. See information on the next meeting below and write to to learn more.

Previous meeting: Sunday, July 17. Please write to for details and to attend.

Timothy Phelps and Helen Winternitz will be speaking and thier book will be discussed. 

Capitol Games

by Timothy Phelps (C ’69) and Helen Winternitz

Penn alum Tim Phelps in 91vEPW8TYDL1991 broke the story of Anita Hill’s allegations against Clarence Thomas. He was a Newsday reporter at the time. Tim went on to write a book about the confirmation in 1992.

With today’s ongoing drama over an empty seat on the bench, we thought it would be a good time to revisit his work.

HBO did so last month. Tim consulted on a movie re-enactment of the ‘90s saga that you might have seen. He will be speaking about his experiences as well as about his book.

Read more about Tim Phelps HERE.

Buy the book HERE.



Previously Selected books:

The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto 

by Mitch Albom, Author of Tuesdays with Morrie

Mitch Albom creates his most unforgettable fictional character—Frankie Presto, the greatest guitarist to ever walk the earth—in this magical novel about the bands we join in life and the power of talent to change our lives.518Y87+p8vL._SX352_BO1,204,203,200_

In his most stunning novel yet, the voice of Music narrates the tale of its most beloved disciple, young Frankie Presto, a war orphan raised by a blind music teacher in a small Spanish town. At nine years old, Frankie is sent to America in the bottom of a boat. His only possession is an old guitar and six precious strings.

But Frankie’s talent is touched by the gods, and his amazing journey weaves him through the musical landscape of the 20th century, from classical to jazz to rock and roll, with his stunning talent affecting numerous stars along the way, including Hank Williams, Elvis Presley, Carole King, Wynton Marsalis and even KISS.

Frankie becomes a pop star himself. He makes records. He is adored. But his gift is also his burden, as he realizes, through his music, he can actually affect people’s futures—with one string turning blue whenever a life is altered.

At the height of his popularity, Frankie Presto vanishes. His legend grows. Only decades later, does he reappear—just before his spectacular death—to change one last life.

With its Forest Gump-like romp through the music world, The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto is a classic in the making. A lifelong musician himself, Mitch Albom delivers a remarkable novel, infused with the message that “everyone joins a band in this life” and those connections change us all.

This book can be obtained through Amazon by clicking HERE or at Politics and Prose by clicking HERE or your local bookseller or library. 


This book is also the Penn Reading Project pick for incoming frosh in 2015.

Langston Hughes, born in 1902, came of age early in the 1920s. In The Big Sea he recounts those memorable years in the two great playgrounds of the decade–Harlem and Paris. In Paris he was a cook and waiter in nightclubs. He knew the music51IhQH1WatL._AA160_ians and dancers, the drunks and dope fiends. In Harlem he was a rising young poet–at the center of the “Harlem Renaissance.”

Arnold Rampersad writes in his incisive new introduction to The Big Sea, an American classic: “This is American writing at its best–simpler than Hemingway; as simple and direct as that of another Missouri-born writer…Mark Twain.”