March News

Technically, we’re not “Springing Forward” till Sunday, March 14th. But we’re already feeling some extra spring in our step because of all this new snow-melting sunshine. And because customers we haven’t seen for a whole year are starting to return to the store, telling us they are now fully vaccinated! So, with the same COVID safety protocols remaining in place, as of March 1, we'll start opening our doors at 11 am--extending browsing hours from 11 am to 5 pm daily, in both the Alley and 1716 Sherman locations.
Just a reminder—because we continue to hear from customers who think we moved. we did NOT move! The 1716 Sherman Avenue location is now our stationery and gift boutique, where we are expanding our selection of cards, journals, pens, accessories, puzzles, and other gift items. We are especially excited to start carrying Fly Paper's Bibliophile Candles, which come in exquisitely evocative literary scents such as "The Muse," "The Editor," and "The Library."

We continue to expand our book selection in the Alley and to improve your browsing experience by highlighting stock you aren't likely to run across through the Ominipresent Monopolistic Algorithm-Driven Online Monster Store. Have you checked out our Wall of Geeky Series books, pictured above, which features collections from MIT, Princeton, Oxford, and other fine presses that collectively encompass pretty much all of human knowledge, attractively packaged in a rainbow of small, digestible formats? Not kidding: we've seen customers come in and pick up a half-dozen of these to take away on their beach vacations!

And don't forget Literary Lunchbreaks! On Thursday, March 11, Evanston journalist and author Mark Caro will join us to interview Abraham Reisman about his new book True Believer: The Rise and Fall of Stan Lee, about the legendary genius behind Marvel Comics. And if you're thinking about freshening up the Passover menu, join us on March 18 when Paula Shoyer will demo a recipe from her new book The Instant Pot Kosher Cookbook (note: you don't need an Instant Pot to make it).

And I personally can't wait for next Thursday, March 4, when it will be my pleasure to be in conversation with Chicago novelist Elizabeth Wetmore about her brilliant novel Valentine, which is just arriving in paperback. Ann Patchett said of this book: "Fierce and complex, Valentine is a novel of moral urgency and breathtaking prose. This is the very definition of a stunning debut." We were all a little distracted by the developing global pandemic when it was published in hardcover at the end of March last year, so it may have been a debut that you missed. I hope you can join us next week, to do a little catching up.

For more information on these and other store events, read on in the newsletter.
And, as always, read on!


Upcoming Events
The hardcover publication of Elizabeth Wetmore's novel Valentine in March of 2020 was greeted with rave reviews. "With its deeply realized characters, moral intricacy, brilliant writing and a page-turning plot, Valentine rewards its readers' generosity with innumerable good things in glorious abundance," said the Chicago Tribune. The Houston Chronicle called it "an incredibly moving and emotionally devastating piece of work that heralds great things from Wetmore."

Set in 1976, in Odessa, Texas, Valentine (now arriving in paperback!) is an exploration of the intersections of violence and race, class and region, depicting how an act of brutality is tried in the churches and barrooms of the town before it can reach a court of law. When justice is evasive, the stage is set for a showdown with potentially devastating consequences. Told through the alternating points of view of several women in the town, this simultaneously fierce and tender novel illuminates women’s strength and vulnerability, and reminds us that it is the stories we tell ourselves that keep us alive.
Elizabeth Wetmore is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. Her fiction has appeared in Epoch, Kenyon Review, Colorado Review, Baltimore Review, Crab Orchard Review, Iowa Review, and other literary journals. She is the recipient of a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts and two fellowships from the Illinois Arts Council, as well as a grant from the Barbara Deming Foundation. A native of West Texas, she lives and works in Chicago.
Store owner Nina Barrett is the author of four books, including most recently The Leopold and Loeb Files: An Intimate Look at One of America’s Most Infamous Crimes. Her articles, essays, and reviews have appeared in The New York Times Magazine, The Nation, the Chicago Tribune, and many other publications. She also trained as a professional chef, and her food reporting for Chicago’s NPR station WBEZ earned her the James Beard Award for Best Radio Show two years running, in 2012 and 2013. 
Thu, Mar 4, 2021 12:00 PM CST
Elizabeth Wetmore & Nina Barrett: Valentine
Stan Lee—born Stanley Martin Lieber in 1922—was one of the most beloved and influential entertainers of the twentieth century. He served as head editor of Marvel for three decades and, in that time, launched more pieces of internationally recognizable intellectual property than anyone other than Walt Disney. But Lee’s career was also filled with spectacular failures, controversy, and bitter disputes. Lee was dogged by accusations from key collaborators such as Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko over who really created Marvel’s signature character. Major business ventures resulted in stock manipulation, bankruptcy, criminal charges, and accusations of malfeasance and deceit. And in his final years, after the death of his beloved wife, Joan, rumors swirled that Lee was a virtual prisoner in his own home, beset by abusive grifters and issuing cryptic video recordings as a battle to control his fortune and legacy ensued.

Abraham Riesman conducted more than 150 interviews and investigated thousands of pages of private documents, turning up never-before-published revelations about Lee’s life and work. Stretching from the Romanian shtetls of Lee’s ancestors to his own final moments in Los Angeles, True Believer chronicles the world-changing triumphs and tragic missteps of an extraordinary life, and leaves it to readers to decide whether Lee lived up to the responsibilities of his own talent.
Abraham Riesman is a Providence-based journalist, writing primarily for New York magazine about arts and culture. His work has also appeared in The Wall Street Journal, The Boston Globe, The New Republic, and Vice, among other publications.
Mark Caro is author of several books including The Special Counsel and The Foie Gras Wars, winner of the 2009 Great Lakes Book Award for general nonfiction. He has written for the Chicago Tribune for 25 years and also has written for the New York Times, Chicago Magazine and other outlets. He created the popular "Is It Still Funny?" film series in Chicago, has hosted on WGN Radio, and in the summer of 2019 launched an on-stage interview series, "Mark Caro's Talking in Space." Mark lives in Evanston with his wife and two daughters.
Thu, Mar 11, 2021 12:00 PM CST
Abraham Riesman & Mark Caro: True Believer: The Rise and Fall of Stan Lee
March 14: Spring Forward!
With Passover approaching, we invite you to join us for a very foodie Literary Lunchbreak, as Paula Shoyer demonstrates a dish from her new book The Instant Pot Kosher Cookbook and chats with fellow kosher food writer Sharon Matten. The dish she's making, a quinoa and beet salad, can be served as a vegan main dish, or as a great side dish to any meat or fish. It can be eaten on Passover, and doesn't take too long to make. So what's not to like?

Jewish cooking and the Instant Pot are a natural fit. So many traditional Jewish dishes are soups and stews—prepared before Friday night and kept warm throughout Shabbat, when observant Jews aren't allowed to cook—and that's the sweet spot of the Instant Pot. For decades, Jewish families have relied on slow cookers to achieve the soft, flavor-filled stews of their ancestors, but they lamented the time required. Now, the Instant Pot allows for vastly shorter cooking times without compromising flavor or texture. The Instant Pot Kosher Cookbook includes timeless Jewish favorites tailored to this modern appliance: stuffed cabbage, Israeli cooked salads, corned beef, brisket, cholent, Yemenite and Persian beef and lamb stews, chicken soup, beet soup, kasha varnishkes, tzimmis, even apple cake. There are weeknight meals as well as recipes for Shabbat, Rosh Hashanah, and Passover, along with kosher versions of international classics such as lasagna, sesame noodles, arroz con pollo, Asian noodle soups, and risotto—all adapted to the Instant Pot.
Paula Shoyer graduated from the Ritz Escoffier pastry program in Paris and teaches French and Jewish baking classes in the Washington, DC, area. She conducts large-scale baking demonstrations across the United States and Canada. Paula is the author of The New Passover Menu, The Holiday Kosher Baker, The Kosher Baker, and The Healthy Jewish Kitchen. Shoyer is a contributing editor to, as well Joy of Kosher with Jamie Geller, Whisk, and Hadassah. She has appeared on major TV cooking shows, is a frequent TV news guest, and edited the popular cookbooks Kosher by Design Entertains and Kosher by Design Kids in the Kitchen. Shoyer lives in Chevy Chase, MD. 
Sharon Matten lives in Chicago and is the author of Sharon is (and has been) a kosher food writer & blogger, cooking demonstrator, cable TV guest chef, pastry chef, Wilton instructor, cookbook contributing editor, electrical engineer, wife, and mom (not in order of importance!). Sharon has also written for the Mid Atlantic Media Syndication and the Jewish Exponent, Chicago Tribune Syndication,,, and Mishpacha Magazine/ 
Thu, Mar 18, 2021 12:00 PM CST
Paula Shoyer & Sharon Matton: The Instant Pot Kosher Cookbook
Admission: $10. EHC Members are free! Click here to register for this event. Registration is required.

Bookends & Beginnings is the official bookselling partner for this Evanston History Center presentation by Ann Durkin Keating on her book, The World of Juliette Kinzie.

Early Chicago is often presented as “a man’s city,” but women like Juliette Kinzie worked to create an urban and urbane world, often within their own parlors. When Kinzie first visited Chicago in 1831, it was a tiny outpost in the shadow of Fort Dearborn, with no streets, no sidewalks, no schools, no river-spanning bridges. In the decades that followed, not only did Juliette witness the city’s transition into an industrial center--she was instrumental in its development.
Juliette’s death in 1870, just a year before the infamous fire, seemed almost prescient. She left her beloved Chicago right before the physical city as she knew it vanished in flames. But now her history lives on. The World of Juliette Kinzie offers a new perspective on Chicago’s past and is a fitting tribute to one of the first women historians in the United States.
Ann Durkin Keating is Dr. C. Frederick Toenniges Professor of History at North Central College in Naperville, Illinois. She is coeditor of The Encyclopedia of Chicago, the editor of Chicago Neighborhoods and Suburbs: A Historical Guide, and the author of Rising Up from Indian Country: The Battle of Fort Dearborn and the Birth of Chicago, all published by the University of Chicago Press.
Thursday, March 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 Winter's Orbit by Everina Maxwell 

Prince Kiem, a famously disappointing minor royal and the Emperor's least favorite grandchild, has been called upon to be useful for once. He's commanded to fulfill an obligation of marriage to the representative of the Empire's newest and most rebellious vassal planet. His future husband, Count Jainan, is a widower and murder suspect.

Neither wants to be wed, but with a conspiracy unfolding around them and the fate of the empire at stake they will have to navigate the thorns and barbs of court intrigue, the machinations of war, and the long shadows of Jainan's past, and they'll have to do it together.

So begins a legendary love story amid the stars.
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, Mar 25, 2021 6:00 PM CST
Sci-Fi Book Club: Winter's Orbit
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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