September News & Events
If you’ve been in downtown Evanston lately, you may have noticed that we’ve been borrowing the window of the former CouCou & Olive store at 1716 Sherman Avenue to create our first-ever window displays. Well, now we’ve made it official: We’re annexing that storefront as our second downtown location. It’s a wonderful development that allows us to add 900 square feet of additional retail space and street visibility without having to leave our beloved and historic alley store.

You may ask: Are you insane? We’re in a pandemic and a total retail apocalypse. And: A****n! This is all true, but from the beginning people told us we were nuts, opening up right down the block from the kind of big shiny chain store that drove Meg Ryan’s little “Shop Around the Corner” out of business in You’ve Got Mail.

Truly, this is a leap of faith. But we think some of the tables have turned in the two decades since that movie came out. Chain store shopping has lost its luster. And while A****n’s cheap books and instant gratification are formidable competition for us, we also think that more and more people value the benefits that an independent business like ours brings to the community. We’re a place you can visit, a place you can bring your friends, a place where you can discover books you didn’t know about, through chatting with a knowledgeable staffer or by browsing the shelves. Where you can literally (though for the moment only virtually) meet authors of the books you’re reading. In fact, our lineup of upcoming Literary Lunchbreaks and other virtual events is one of our best ever!

It sure has been a wild roller coaster ride these past six months. On that day in March when COVID forced our doors closed, we had no idea how we’d weather the shut-down. It’s only because you—our loyal and fantastic customers—rallied to support us, and because you continue to commit to buying your books from us, that we feel confident enough to make this leap.
We’re hoping to have the new store open by late October. We’ll keep you posted on how it’s going.

Meanwhile, read on for the details of our great upcoming events.

And, as always, read on!

All event books ordered from us before or on the day of their Literary Lunchbreak will be 15% off!
Look great and support our store!
For those who want to express their love for Bookends & Beginnings and support our store expansion, we have brought back our popular “Evanston’s Speakeasy for Books” t-shirts, sweatshirts, and tote bags, which you can order in a safe and socially distanced way on Sales of these shirts helped finance our survival during the COVID shutdown, and now we are using the proceeds to help finance our expansion to the 1716 Sherman Avenue storefront.
Upcoming Events
When the elite St. Paul's School—a boarding prep school in Concord, NH—came under state investigation after extensive reports of sexual abuse on campus, Lacy Crawford thought she'd put behind her the assault she'd suffered at St. Paul's decades before, when she was 15. Still, when detectives asked for victims to come forward, she sent a note. Her criminal case file reopened, she saw for the first time evidence that corroborated her memories. Here were depictions of the naïve, hard-working girl she'd been, a chorister and debater, the daughter of a priest; of the two senior athletes who assaulted her and were allowed to graduate with awards; and of the faculty, doctors, and priests who had known about Crawford's assault and gone to great lengths to bury it.

Now a wife, mother, and writer living on the other side of the country, Crawford learned that police had uncovered astonishing proof of an institutional silencing years before, and that unnamed powers were still trying to block her case. This revelation launched Crawford on an extraordinary inquiry into the ways gender, privilege, and power shaped her experience as a girl at the gates of America's elite. Notes on a Silencing is an arresting coming-of-age story that wrestles with an essential question for our time: what telling of a survivor's story will finally force a remedy.
Lacy Crawford is the author of fiction and nonfiction, including the satire Early Decision and her new memoir Notes on a Silencing, a New York Times Editors’ Choice that was named "best of summer" by TimePeople, and Real Simple. Her literary journalism includes interviews and profiles of Frank Conroy, Reynolds Price, Geoffrey Wolff, and Shirley Hazzard. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Narrative, LitHub, Vanity Fair, and elsewhere. She lives in California with her husband and three children. 
Jo Ann Beard is the author of the collection of autobiographical essays, The Boys of My Youth, and the novel, In Zanesville. Her work has appeared in The New Yorker, Tin House, Best American Essays, and other magazines and anthologies. She has received a Whiting Foundation Award and nonfiction fellowships from the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation and the New York Foundation for the Arts. She teaches writing at Sarah Lawrence College
Thu, Sep 3, 2020 12:00 PM CST
Lacy Crawford & Jo Ann Beard: Notes on a Silencing
Having been promised crystal clear seas and sandy beaches on the shores of retirement by glossy advertisements and in-flight magazines, best-selling author Sandra Tsing Loh finds the reality of being 55 years old looks more like a dilapidated craftsman house with a dead lawn and a mouse problem. The follow-up to Loh's hilarious book The Madwoman in the Volvo, The Madwoman and the Roomba is a chronicle of the indignities, hilarities, and unexpected joys of life in the so-called golden years.

With deadpan wit and fearless honesty, Loh navigates the realities of what it means to be a middle-aged, “downwardly-mobile,” woman in America, living what feels like a “disorganized 25-year-old’s life in a malfunctioning 85-year-old’s body.” Among the chaos of life with teenage daughters, sporadic employment, an underemployed bohemian partner, and near-constant low-level anxiety, Loh revels in the restorative joy of laughter. And the blessed redemption of a Costco membership: personal massage chair! Roombas on sale! Delicious $4 wines! Massive tins of mixed nuts!

Join us for what's sure to be a sanity-restoring conversation between Sandra Tsing Loh and Michele Weldon--who'll be returning on October 1 to discuss her own forthcoming book of essays, Act Like You're Having a Good Time, which explores what it means to be a mature woman seeking to secure a life of purpose and meaning through work, family and relationships
Sandra Tsing Loh is a writer, performer, and radio commentator. Her work has been heard on NPR’s Morning Edition and This American Life. She is a contributing editor to the Atlantic and host of the syndicated daily radio “minute,” The Loh Down on Science. She lives in Pasadena, California.
Michele Weldon is an award-winning author, journalist and emerita faculty in journalism at Northwestern University, She is the author of six nonfiction books, and won a 2020 Peter Lisagor Award for Best Essay for pieces that appear in her latest book, Act Like You're Having A Good Time. She serves on the advisory boards of Global Girl Media Chicago, Sarah’s Inn, Beat The Streets Chicago, Between Friends and Children’s Foundation. She is the mother of three sons.
Thu, Sep 10, 2020 12:00 PM CST
Sandra Tsing Loh & Michele Weldon: The Madwoman and the Roomba
Registration is required. Please register here and we’ll send you a link to join the event.

Obstruction of justice, lies from the White House, sexism at work, shocking revelations: In The Watergate Girl, Jill Wine-Banks takes us inside a previous troubled time in American history, and it is impossible to read about the crimes of Richard Nixon and the people around him without drawing parallels to today’s headlines. The book is also the story of a young woman who sought to make her professional mark while trapped in a failing marriage, buffeted by sexist preconceptions, and harboring secrets of her own. Her house was burgled, her phones were tapped, and even her office garbage was rifled through. At once a cautionary tale and an inspiration for those who believe in the power of justice and the rule of law, The Watergate Girl is a revelation about our country, our politics, and who we are as a society.
Jill Wine-Banks is an MSNBC legal analyst, appearing regularly on the network’s primetime and daytime shows. She began her career as an organized crime prosecutor at the U.S. Department of Justice, which led to her selection as one of three assistant Watergate special prosecutors in the obstruction of justice trial against President Nixon’s top aides. She has also served as general counsel of the U.S. Army, solicitor general and deputy attorney general of the State of Illinois, and chief operating officer of the American Bar Association. She has also been featured in several documentaries and films, including Academy Award winner Charles Ferguson’s Watergate, or How We Got Control of an Out of Control President, Robert Redford’s All The President’s Men Revisited, ABC 20/20, and Michael Moore’s Farenheit 11/9.
Christie Hefner served as Chairman and CEO of Playboy Enterprises for 20 years--the longest- serving female CEO of a publicly traded company-- and when she left, more than 40% of her executives were women. She was on the Fortune 100 Most Powerful Women in the World list for three years. She was a founding member of The Chicago Network, The Committee of 200, and the Chicago Chapter of Women Corporate Directors. And she serves as a director on the board of the Center for American Progress Action, an independent, progressive policy institute and advocacy organization.
Join us for a Literary Lunchbreak as store owner Nina Barrett chats with author and New Yorker copyeditor Mary Norris—the Comma Queen herself—about her new memoir Greek to Me: Adventures of the Comma Queen.

When Mary Norris was in fifth grade, the nuns at her Catholic school were offering a Saturday Latin class, and she wanted to join. Her father refused, and she missed the chance. It wasn’t until she got to college a decade later and took a course taught by the classicist Froma Zeitlin, where she read the Homeric Hymn to Demeter, that her desire to learn a dead language flared again. A handful of years later, while working in the copy department of the New Yorker, Mary told her boss Ed Stringham that she wanted to go to Greece. Stringham, it so happened, had a great love for Greece and had visited the country multiple times. He encouraged her to take Greek language courses—paid for by the magazine—and her obsession took flight.

As she studied Greek, Norris also read widely in Greek mythology and history. These stories greatly influenced her many trips to Greece. It was in Athena that Norris found a role model for an independent woman. In Cyprus she searched out the spot in the sea where Aphrodite bathed. She walked the Sacred Way, fourteen miles from Athens to Elefsina, to the sanctuary of Demeter, hoping to solve the Eleusinian Mysteries. Greek to Me is her brilliant, witty, and moving memoir of her treks through Greek and Greece—both the language and the country.
Mary Norris worked for the New Yorker as a copy editor and query proofreader for more than thirty years. Her first memoir, Between You & Me: Confessions of a Comma Queen, is a New York Times best-selling book about her years at the New Yorker. Originally from Cleveland, Ohio, Norris now lives in New York and Rockaway.
Bookends & Beginnings owner Nina Barrett developed her own lifelong love of Greek literature after being assigned to read The Iliad and The Odyssey in the summer between seventh and eighth grades. While supposedly studying French in Paris between her sophomore and junior years in college, she sneaked off with a friend for a week in Athens—and has returned to Greece many times since then, both accompanied and alone. For obvious reasons, she adores Mary Norris’s book and can’t wait to do lunch.
Thu, Sep 17, 2020 12:00 PM CST
Mary Norris & Nina Barrett: Greek to Me: Adventures of the Comma Queen
Wednesday, September 23, noon - 1 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 Harrow the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir 

After rocking the cosmos with her deathly debut, Tamsyn Muir continues the story of the penumbral Ninth House in Harrow the Ninth, a mind-twisting puzzle box of mystery, murder, magic, and mayhem. Nothing is as it seems in the halls of the Emperor, and the fate of the galaxy rests on one woman's shoulders.

Harrowhark Nonagesimus, last necromancer of the Ninth House, has been drafted by her Emperor to fight an unwinnable war. Side-by-side with a detested rival, Harrow must perfect her skills and become an angel of undeath — but her health is failing, her sword makes her nauseous, and even her mind is threatening to betray her.
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
Wed, Sep 23, 2020 12:00 PM CST
Sci-Fi Book Club: Harrow the Ninth
The thesis of Break It Up: Secession, Division, and the Secret History of America's Imperfect Union is simple: The United States has never lived up to its name—and never will. The disunionist impulse may have found its greatest expression in the Civil War, but as Break It Up shows, the seduction of secession wasn’t limited to the South or the nineteenth century. It was there at our founding and has never gone away.
With a scholar’s command and a journalist’s curiosity, Richard Kreitner takes readers on a revolutionary journey through American history, revealing the power and persistence of disunion movements in every era and region. Each New England town after Plymouth was a secession from another; the thirteen colonies viewed their Union as a means to the end of securing independence, not an end in itself; George Washington feared separatism west of the Alleghenies; Aaron Burr schemed to set up a new empire; John Quincy Adams brought a Massachusetts town’s petition for dissolving the United States to the floor of Congress; and abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison denounced the Constitution as a pro-slavery pact with the devil.
From the “cold civil war” that pits partisans against one another to the modern secession movements in California and Texas, the divisions that threaten to tear America apart today have centuries-old roots in the earliest days of our Republic. Richly researched and persuasively argued, Break It Up will help readers make fresh sense of our fractured age.
Richard Kreitner is a contributing writer to The Nation. He is the author of Booked: A Traveler’s Guide to Literary Locations Around the World.
Rick Perlstein is the author of the new book Reaganland: America's Right Turn 1976-1980, along with New York Times bestseller The Invisible Bridge: The Fall of Nixon and the Rise of Reagan. His essays and book reviews have been published in The New Yorker, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Nation, The Village Voice, and Slate, among others. A contributing editor and board member of In These Times magazine, he lives in Chicago.
Thu, Sep 24, 2020 12:00 PM CST
Richard Kreitner & Rick Perlstein: Break It Up
September Staff Recommendations
If you're a fan of Miyazaki films like "Kiki's Delivery Service" you'll be sure to love Eva Evergreen, Semi-Magical Witch. Abe's debut shines with magic and whimsy and Eva is a character you can't help but root for. Eva must complete a challenge to earn the rank of Novice Witch before her thirteenth birthday or her magic will be taken from her forever. The challenge? "Do good." Eva must use her powers to help a town. The problem? Eva has only a pinch of magic, nothing like her beloved mother. The residents of her new town are disappointed when a semi-magical girl shows up instead of a powerful witch, but with the help of her flamefox, new friends, cleverness, and determination, Eva wins them over. Still, can she really save them all from the biggest magical storm in history and keep her magic? You'll have to read to find out!

I knew absolutely nothing about this novel or its author when I first picked it up, and after having read it I feel much the same. I don't typically have patience for novels of that sort, but something about Aseroë strikes a different chord. The novel is "about," to a certain extent, the narrator's attempt to reach revelation beyond the limits of language. This plays out over a course of several vignettes, each one focusing on a rapturous fixation—on a type of fungus, a scene in a cafe, Rimbaud's dying words, Giorgione's The Tempest, and so on. The book is a bit ponderous at times, but when it shines the effect is utterly hypnotic. Aseroë is a wholly unique work that stands apart from just about everything I have ever and likely will ever read.
I don't know about you, but with the world as it is I NEEDED a joyous rom-com like You Should See Me in a Crown. Liz Lighty has done her best to stay out of the spotlight. She feels she's too Black, too poor, and too queer for her Midwestern town. She sticks to her music, her friends, and her family, and she's happy that way. Right? But when the scholarship to her dream college falls through, Liz has to do the one thing she never thought she would: compete for prom queen in her prom OBSESSED town. Liz has to balance her campaign with friendship drama, her brother's illness, and a budding romance with the new girl in school (who is also running for prom queen!). Is there any way someone like Liz can win prom queen while also staying true to themselves?

Bringing Down the Duke is a classic story of a nobleman falling for a commoner. Filled with dry British humor, this is such a fun read! For a debut novel, Evie Dunmore really delivers. I already can't wait for her next book!

Books You Could be Reading
(and ordering 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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