August News
If you’re one of our local customers, I hope by now you’ve had a chance to stop by our new gift and stationery boutique on Sherman Avenue. This additional, highly visible storefront has brought in much more casual street traffic than we've traditionally gotten in our alley store, including many visitors to Evanston, and we were getting lots of requests for postcards featuring our town.

Since they didn’t exist, we dispatched the intrepid and multi-talented Jeff Garrett to scout for iconic sights and natural beauty that represent what we love most about this city. The result was a series of 16 postcards that are now available in the new store, either separately ($1 each) or as a full set ($10). (Pictured above: An iconic Evanston street lamp; the Grosse Point Lighthouse; and the Charles Gates Dawes House). You can also order them online! And if you appreciate Jeff’s artistic eye, you may also want to check out his Lake Michigan sunrise series, available as a large-format, single notecard ($4.50) or, in a smaller format, as a set ($15).
If you’re looking for other Evanstoniana, we also carry:

Design Evanston’s newest book Evanston's Design Heritage: Architects, Designers and Planners in both hardcover and paperback; as well as their older book Design Evanston Celebrates Evanston's Notable Architecture: 150 Years, 150 Places

Janet Messenger’s fact- and fun-filled series of Evanston history books ABCs of Evanston, More ABCs of Evanston, and The Streets of Evanston.
Frances Willard’s A Classic Town: The Story of Evanston, edited by Jenny Thompson.
And the ever-popular Evanstonopoly, which benefits First Night.

In other news, we’ve returned to our original business hours and are now open every day from 10 am to 6 pm.

Eventwise, we hope you get a chance to check out Evanston Public Library’s upcoming panel discussion on the past, present, and future of Chicago theater, with author Mark Larson (Ensemble: An Oral History of Chicago Theater).

And it’s not too early to sign up for our incredibly exciting event with Anthony Doerr, author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning All the Light We Cannot See, coming in October.

For all the details, read on.

And, as always, read on!

Upcoming Events
Learn about the history and future of Chicago Theater with Mark Larson, author of Ensemble: An Oral History of Chicago TheaterLorena Diaz and Wendy Mateo, new co-artistic directors of Teatro Vista; Ken-Matt Martin, the new artistic director of Victory Gardens Theater; and B.J. Jones (click "Leadership"), longtime artistic director of Northlight Theatre.

Ensemble is an in-depth, first-of-its-kind history of Chicago’s internationally celebrated theater scene, spanning 65 years and told through first-person accounts from the people who made it happen. Drawing from more than 300 interviews, author Mark Larson has woven a narrative that expresses the spirit of Chicago’s ensemble ethos: the voices of celebrities such as Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Ed Asner, George Wendt, Michael Shannon, and Tracy Letts comingle with stories from designers, composers, and others who have played a crucial role in making Chicago theater so powerful, influential, and unique.
Mark Larson is a Golden Apple Award-winning educator who has worked at Evanston Township High School, the Field Museum, Lincoln Park Zoo, and National Louis University. He holds a doctorate in educational leadership. He lives in Evanston, Illinois, with his wife, Mary. They have twin daughters, Emily and Sarah, and twin grandsons, Tilden and Nicholas. 
Thursday, August 26, 6 – 7:00 pm
This month, the Sci-Fi Book Club will read She Who Became the Sun by Shelley Parker-Chan.

In 1345, China lies under harsh Mongol rule. For the starving peasants of the Central Plains, greatness is something found only in stories. When the Zhu family’s eighth-born son, Zhu Chongba, is given a fate of greatness, everyone is mystified as to how it will come to pass. The fate of nothingness received by the family’s clever and capable second daughter, on the other hand, is only as expected.

When a bandit attack orphans the two children, though, it is Zhu Chongba who succumbs to despair and dies. Desperate to escape her own fated death, the girl uses her brother's identity to enter a monastery as a young male novice. There, propelled by her burning desire to survive, Zhu learns she is capable of doing whatever it takes, no matter how callous, to stay hidden from her fate.
After her sanctuary is destroyed for supporting the rebellion against Mongol rule, Zhu takes the chance to claim another future altogether: her brother's abandoned greatness.

Anyone is welcome to join our Science Fiction Book Club, led by Brooke, who is excited to share her passion for diverse science fiction books. If you haven't looked at the science fiction or fantasy shelves in a while, you may be surprised at the influx of talented women, POC, and LGBTQ+ writers that are writing some of the most interesting and compelling works in the genres. Brooke's goal is to highlight these traditionally underrepresented groups. Each month, we'll explore a new read from a diverse SF/F author. Stop by the store to chat with Brooke if you want more info about the club, or send her an email at
Thu, Aug 26, 2021 6:00 PM CST
Sci-Fi Book Club: She Who Became the Sun
Bookends & Beginnings will be joining Gramercy Books in Bexley, OH and Quail Ridge Books in Raleigh, NC to bring you this live, exclusive conversation between Doerr and Jess Walter, author of The Cold Millions and Beautiful Ruins. Admission to the event is $33 and includes a hardcover copy of Cloud Cuckoo Land. We'll have a limited number of signed copies, which we will allocate to attendees in the order of sign-up for the event, until we run out; then we'll have signed bookplates, which we will also allocate in order of sign-up, until they're gone. So sign up early!

Cloud Cuckoo Land is about stewardship—of the book, of the Earth, and of the human heart.

The heroes of Cloud Cuckoo Land are trying to figure out the world around them: Anna and Omeir, on opposite sides of the formidable city walls during the 1453 siege of Constantinople; teenage idealist Seymour in an attack on a public library in present day Idaho; and Konstance, on an interstellar ship bound for an exoplanet, decades from now. Like Marie-Laure and Werner in All the Light We Cannot See, Anna, Omeir, Seymour, and Konstance are dreamers and outsiders who find resourcefulness and hope in the midst of peril.

An ancient text—the story of Aethon, who longs to be turned into a bird so that he can fly to a utopian paradise in the sky—provides solace and mystery to these unforgettable characters. Doerr has created a tapestry of times and places that reflects our vast interconnectedness—with other species, with each other, with those who lived before us and those who will be here after we’re gone.
Anthony Doerr is the author of All the Light We Cannot See, winner of the Pulitzer Prize, the Carnegie Medal, the Alex Award, and a #1 New York Times bestseller. He is also the author of the story collections Memory Wall and The Shell Collector, the novel About Grace, and the memoir Four Seasons in Rome. He has won five O. Henry Prizes, the Rome Prize, the New York Public Library’s Young Lions Award, the National Magazine Award for fiction, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and the Story Prize. Born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio, Doerr lives in Boise, Idaho, with his wife and two sons.
A National Book Award finalist and winner of the Edgar Allan Poe Award, Jess Walter is the author of seven novels, including The Cold Millions and Beautiful Ruins, one book of short stories and one nonfiction book. His work has been translated into 32 languages and his fiction has been selected three times for Best American Stories as well as the Pushcart Prize and Best American Nonrequired Reading. His stories, essays and journalism have appeared in Harper’s, Esquire, Playboy, McSweeney’s, Tin House, the New York Times, the Washington Post, and many others. He lives in his hometown of Spokane, Washington with his wife and three children
Tue, Oct 12, 2021 6:00 PM CST
Anthony Doerr in Conversation with Jess Walter: Cloud Cuckoo Land
What Are We Reading This Month?
Whether you're curious about what we read, need a recommendation, or just want to scoff at our taste, here's a list of what your favorite booksellers are reading! If you see something that interests you, let us know! We're more than happy to talk about these titles.
Books get called "weird" all the time but Viriconium is really, truly, one of the captial-W Weirdest things I have or will ever read. The book is a collection of novels and short stories, based in and around the last great metropolis of a far-future earth existing in the shadow of the once-great "afternoon cultures." Despite its rather classic science-fantasy premise, I firmly reject any notion that the collection is conventional and instead consider Viriconium an avant-garde artistic/literary experiment that masquerades as speculative fiction for marketing purposes. The city and certain characters recur throughout the stories, but never quite in the same way—details change, timelines are inconsistent. The prose reflects the sort of hypnagogic flow, blending quiet melancholy with oblique impressionism. Viriconium has everything: nature writing, art criticism, urban surrealism, surreal urbanism, body horror, alien locusts, bathos, and more goofy names than you could shake a baan at.
I have returned from my Hegel Hiatus to charge headlong once again into the strange and fantastic world of German idealism. In what is likely an overly ambitious desire to "understand" everything, many paragraphs take two or more passes to really grasp. Still, a lot goes over my head, but I imagine that's a universal experience for Hegel readers and in a certain sense I feel that's how it ought to be. Something I find so wonderful about Hegel's writing, aside from the resonance of the philosophy itself, is that he conjures such weird and marvelous images to convey his ideas. Great forces clashing and pulling apart, countless needles piercing a single grain of salt, great radial organisms made of many shapes suspended in a fluid medium—so wondrous, so mind-boggling.
This is a short novella that is nonetheless packed with story. A lush, haunting domestic mystery/thriller where the fairytale trappings only just conceal the rage bubbling underneath. I thought I had it figured out, but I was genuinely surprised by the twist.
Jory John is back with more animal problems! This time we learn all about the troubles of a pampered house cat. As my own spoiled cat will attest, life is full of struggles for our furry friends. The other cat is in his spot, dry food instead of wet, the list goes on! Maybe the squirrel outside can offer some perspective...
Jenny Hval is one of my favorite musicians so I was very excited to finally read her fiction. I know someone who got a tattoo of mushrooms inspired by this book: fungi and all sorts of rot come into play as a Norwegian biology student experiences a queer sexual awakening in a moldy Australian apartment with no walls that is coming increasingly alive. It is deliciously disgusting, warm and damp and just as smart and addictive as Hval's music. I cannot put it down.
I just finished reading The Fixed Stars and it's really staying with me. It’s an expertly crafted memoir about sexuality, self-understanding, and the traps we create for ourselves by assuming that identity must be concretely fixed. I can't stop thinking about how candidly and compassionately Molly Wizenberg traces the histories of her relationships, including the dissolution of her marriage. She’s a thoughtful memoirist who doesn't shy away from painful realities, but always manages to write generously about the places of conflict between herself and her loved ones: friends, family, and ex-partners.
Books You Could be Reading...
...and Buying from Us!
Pre-order these books and get them when they're released!
Bookends & Beginnings is a community-centered and community-sustained, full-service, general-interest independent bookstore, now in our sixth calendar year. We are a member of the Chicago Independent Bookstore Alliance (ChIBA), the Great Lakes Independent Bookstore Association (GLIBA), and the American Booksellers Association (ABA). Show your support by shopping in our store (and other Chicago-area independent bookstores), by trading in or donating books of quality and in good condition, by bringing your local and out-of-town friends and family to shop with us, by attending our events, and by "liking" us on Facebook and posting reviews on other social media. Remember that you can always see event photos and news updates on our Facebook page, which is updated almost daily. There you can also subscribe to our events feed with a single click.
Above all, keep reading good books! 
Bookends & Beginnings
1712 Sherman Ave Alley #1
Evanston, IL 60202 

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