February News

A few years back, in partnership with Downtown Evanston, we began to celebrate the month of February as “Hygge Fest.” Hygge is a Danish word for “the feeling of coziness and contentment evoked by simple comforts, having good conversations, enjoying food, snuggling up in your favorite fuzzy blanket with a good book”—in other words, a brilliant strategy for combating the shortest, nastiest month of weather that a Chicago winter can dish out, especially when you're trying to hide out from a global pandemic.

What’s cozier than having a pie baking in the oven, for instance? You’re invited to join us at 6:30 on February 18 for a 90-minute Zoom pie-making workshop with Kate McDermott, author of Pie Camp and The Art of the Pie. I personally took this workshop with Kate last November, and trust me, she can sweet-talk you through even a severe case of pie-crust anxiety with her friendly humor and…her secret pie crust recipe (which you’ll get if you sign up).
And if you’re looking for a Valentine Date who won’t disappoint, we suggest that you try our Blind Date With a Book. We’ve got a bunch of FABULOUS reads all fancy-wrapped with Valentine ribbons and a little intriguing hint written on the package about what might be inside. At one book for $3 and two for $5, we’re sure these little teasers won’t let you down!

Or heat up some soup and take a cozy Literary Lunchbreak with our February featured authors. Riva Lehrer, who appears this coming Thursday in conversation with Emil Ferris, was just shortlisted for the National Book Critics Circle Award for her memoir Golem Girl. On February 11, we examine ideas about love from every perspective with a panel of fiction and non-fiction writers including Michele Morano, Marc Rader, Sejal Shah, and Julie Justicz. And on February 25, we’re joined by prominent anthropologist Roy Richard Grinker, who chronicles the progress and setbacks in the struggle against mental-illness stigma—from the eighteenth century, through America’s major wars, and into today’s high-tech economy.
Read on for more details.

And, as always, read on!


Thanks to Chicago artist George Booker for our header graphic!
Upcoming Events
Blind Date with a Book
Who were you planning to cuddle up with this Valentine’s Day? Because we, the literary matchmakers at Bookends & Beginnings, would love to fix you up on a Blind Date With a Book! For the month of February, we've got a bunch of the most eligible books around, wrapped up with only a short description for you to test your luck with. Want a thriller to make your heart race, or a romance to make it go pitter-patter? Something scientific to challenge your inner geek? Will you choose something that seems safe and familiar, or take a risk with something outside of your comfort zone? Remember: you can’t fall in love unless you take a chance! And at $3 for one and $5 for two, it's a risk well worth taking!
Bookends & Beginnings is a Shop Local sponsor of the first-ever Evanston Winter Games, which pose of a series of challenges through the free Eventzee app to encourage people to explore winter activities throughout the City, share pictures and videos, support local businesses, and have fun with family and friends! Residents, businesses, and visitors can track their own success through the app, which awards users points as they complete such winter activities as winter art and nature hikes, sledding, ice skating, building snowmen, and warming up by the Winter Games firepits.

For rules and guidelines, please visit the Evanston Winter Games webpage.
Thursday, February 4, noon – 1 pm
Andrew Solomon, author of Far From the Tree, calls Chicago author Riva Lehrer's new memoir Golem Girl "Vivid and unforgettable"—and it has now been shortlisted for the 2020 National Book Critics Circle award for autobiography/1 Please join us for this Literary Lunchbreak/Midwest Address, as Riva Lehrer discusses Golem Girl with writer and cartoonist Emil Ferris, author of My Favorite Thing is Monsters.

In 1958, amongst the children born with spina bifida is Riva Lehrer. At the time, most such children are not expected to survive. Her parents and doctors are determined to "fix" her, sending the message over and over again that she is broken. That she will never have a job, a romantic relationship, or an independent life. Enduring countless medical interventions, Riva tries her best to be a good girl and a good patient in the quest to be cured.

Everything changes when, as an adult, Riva is invited to join a group of artists, writers, and performers who are building Disability Culture. Their work is daring, edgy, funny, and dark—it rejects tropes that define disabled people as pathetic, frightening, or worthless. They insist that disability is an opportunity for creativity and resistance. Emboldened, Riva asks if she can paint their portraits—inventing an intimate and collaborative process that will transform the way she sees herself, others, and the world. Each portrait story begins to transform the myths she’s been told her whole life about her body, her sexuality, and other measures of normal.
Riva Lehrer is an artist, writer, and curator whose work focuses on issues of physical identity and the socially challenged body. She is best known for representations of people with impairments, and those whose sexuality or gender identity have long been stigmatized. A longtime faculty member of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Riva Lehrer is currently an instructor in medical humanities at Northwestern University. 
Emil Ferris, author of My Favorite Thing is Monsters grew up Chicago during the turbulent 1960s, where she still lives, and is consequently a devotee of all things monstrous and horrific. She has an MFA in Creative Writing from The School of the Art Institute.
Thu, Feb 4, 2021 12:00 PM CST
Riva Lehrer & Emil Ferris: Golem Girl
Here comes Valentine's Day! And we're getting in the mood by talking to two novelists and two essayists whose recent books take up the complexities of love—romantic, familial, platonic, and unnamable categories in between—all while seducing readers and exploring taboos.
Like Love, Michele Morano: A memoir-in-essays about unconsummated romance, Like Love tells the stories we tend to avoid, about improper crushes and infatuations that go nowhere because the goal is less physical union than psychological provocation. Michele Morano interweaves adult episodes with adolescent stories of her family’s breakup, tracing the way we learn and revise our understandings of romantic love. 
Michele Morano is the author of the travel memoir Grammar Lessons: Translating a Life in Spain. Her essays and short fiction have appeared in many journals and anthologies, including Best American Essays, Fourth Genre, Ninth Letter, and Waveform: Twenty-First-Century Essays by Women. She lives in Chicago, where she chairs the English Department at DePaul University.
The Wanting Life, Mark Rader: Set in Rome, Cape Cod, and Wisconsin over the course of the summer of 2009, and Rome during the spring of 1970, The Wanting Life tells the intertwined story of three members of the Novak family: Father Paul, a closeted gay Catholic priest who’s dying of cancer and has secrets he desperately wants to share; Britta, his self-destructive sister and caretaker, who’s struggling to find meaning in a world without her beloved husband; and Maura, Britta’s daughter―a thirty-nine-year-old artist who’s facing a choice between her husband and two children, or the man she believes is her one, true love.
Mark Rader was born and raised in Green Bay, Wisconsin, educated at Tulane University and Cornell University, and now lives with his family just outside Chicago. His short fiction has been published in Glimmer Train, Epoch, The Southern Review and shortlisted for an O. Henry Award, the Best American Non-Required Reading anthology, and a Pushcart Prize. He has taught creative writing at Cornell, Northeastern University, Grub Street, and the University of Chicago's Graham School. The Wanting Life is his first novel.
This Is One Way to Dance, Sejal Shah: In the linked essays that make up her debut collection, Sejal Shah explores identity, culture, family, and place. Throughout the book, Shah reflects on what it means to make oneself visible and legible through writing in a country that struggles with race and maps herself as an American, writer of color, and feminist. Her essays emerge as she wrestles with her experiences growing up and living in western New York, an area of stark racial and socioeconomic segregation, as the daughter of Gujarati immigrants from India and Kenya. 
Sejal Shah's stories and essays have appeared in Brevity, Conjunctions, Guernica, the Kenyon Review Online, Literary Hub, Longreads, and The Rumpus. The recipient of a 2018 NYFA fellowship in fiction, Sejal recently completed a story collection and is at work on a memoir about mental health. She teaches in the Rainier Writing Workshop low-residency MFA program at Pacific Lutheran University and lives in Rochester, New York.
Degrees of Difficulty, Julie Justicz: After Ben Novotny is born with a rare chromosomal disorder that produces profound mental disability and brain-racking seizures, his parents, Caroline and Perry, and their two other children are asked to give more than they have. The demands and pressure only mount when he and his older brother and sister become teenagers. Ben needs more from his family, just as Hugo, the athlete and the “good soul,” and Ivy, the ambitious rebel, must carve out their own identities.
Born and raised in England, Julie Justicz moved to the Bahamas when she was ten, and then to the United States as a teenager. She earned a law degree from the University of Chicago and received an MFA in creative writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts. As an attorney and advocate, Julie currently works on civil rights issues in Chicago. She lives in Oak Park, Illinois with her spouse, Mary, and their two children.
Thu, Feb 11, 2021 12:00 PM CST
The Truth About Love in Fiction and Nonfiction Panel Discussion
Thursday, February 18, 6:30 – 8 pm
Join us at 6:30 pm on Thursday, February 18 for a 90-minute, live Zoom pie-making workshop with pie guru Kate McDermott, author of the books Pie Camp and Art of the Pie. When you register, we’ll send you a copy of Kate’s special pie dough recipe, with a secret technique to make your pie dough super-flaky. Then during the Zoom, Kate will walk you through making and rolling out your dough and then show you how to use it to make hand pies and crostatas, with easy fillings that utilize common pantry and fridge ingredients. You'll have the chance to ask her any questions you have, and family members are welcome to join in--or if you’d rather just watch and take notes without actually making a pie, that’s ok too! Tickets include one copy of either Art of the Pie or Pie Camp and cost $40 ($46 if you would like your book shipped).
Kate McDermott is the James Beard Award-nominated author of Art of the Pie and Pie Camp. Her "Pie Camp" workshops, held nationwide, regularly sell out. McDermott, who has been featured by the New York Times, Saveur, NPR, and elsewhere, lives in Port Angeles, Washington.
Thu, Feb 18, 2021 6:30 PM CST
Pie Camp with Kate McDermott
For centuries, scientists and society cast moral judgments on anyone deemed mentally ill, confining many to asylums. Anthropologist Roy Richard Grinker chronicles the progress and setbacks in the struggle against mental-illness stigma—from the eighteenth century, through America’s major wars, and into today’s high-tech economy. Nobody’s Normal argues that stigma is a social process that can be explained through cultural history, a process that began the moment we defined mental illness, that we learn from within our communities, and that we ultimately have the power to change. In the twenty-first century, mental illnesses are fast becoming a more accepted and visible part of human diversity.

Grinker infuses the book with the personal history of his family’s four generations of involvement in psychiatry, including his grandfather’s analysis with Sigmund Freud, his own daughter’s experience with autism, and culminating in his research on neurodiversity. Drawing on new science, historical archives, and cross-cultural research in Africa and Asia, Grinker takes readers on an international journey to discover the origins of, and variances in, our cultural response to neurodiversity.
Roy Richard Grinker is professor of anthropology and international affairs at the George Washington University. He is the author of several books, including Unstrange Minds: Remapping the World of Autism. He lives in Washington, DC.
Jonathan Lear is the John U. Nef Distinguished Service Professor at the Committee on Social Thought and in Philosophy at the University of Chicago. His books include: Radical Hope: Ethics in the Face of Cultural Devastation, Wisdom Won from Illness, Freud, Aristotle: The Desire to UnderstandA Case for Irony, and Love and Its Place in Nature: A Philosophical Interpretation of Freudian Psychoanalysis. He is a trained psychoanalyst and a member of the faculty of the Chicago Institute for Psychoanalysis.
Thu, Feb 25, 2021 12:00 PM CST
Roy Richard Grinker & Jonathan Lear: Nobody's Normal
Thursday, February 25, 6 – 7 pm
The Sci-Fi Book Club is BACK, now in the highly futuristic form of a virtual Zoom meeting. This month, the Sci-Fi Book Club will read Ring Shout by P. Djèlí Clark.

In 1915, The Birth of a Nation cast a spell across America, swelling the Klan's ranks and drinking deep from the darkest thoughts of white folk. All across the nation they ride, spreading fear and violence among the vulnerable. They plan to bring Hell to Earth. But even Ku Kluxes can die.

Standing in their way is Maryse Boudreaux and her fellow resistance fighters, a foul-mouthed sharpshooter and a Harlem Hellfighter. Armed with blade, bullet, and bomb, they hunt their hunters and send the Klan's demons straight to Hell. But something awful's brewing in Macon, and the war on Hell is about to heat up.

Can Maryse stop the Klan before it ends the world?
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 brooke@bookendsandbeginnings.com.
Thu, Feb 25, 2021 6:00 PM CST
Sci-Fi Book Club: Ring Shout
Books You Could be Reading...
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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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