May News
This week, B&B reached two incredible milestones that I would never have foreseen one year ago: Our entire staff became fully vaccinated, and on Independent Bookstore Day (April 24) we had the best sales day ever in the history of the store—and that was while maintaining our COVID capacity limitations.

I just want to say THANK YOU again to everyone who got us to this point: Everyone who placed online orders with us during lockdown and has continued to shop our online store; everyone who donated to our GoFundMe campaign; everyone who bought our sweatshirts and t-shirts and wears them proudly around Evanston; everyone who showed up for Small Business Saturday last November, and committed to doing their holiday shopping with us. By the way, the person making your home deliveries throughout the holiday season was usually me personally, and I found it incredibly moving to be finding my way around the side streets of Evanston, Wilmette, Skokie, and Rogers Park, feeling like Ms. Santa Claus and traveling for myself the geography of how far love for the store has spread.

I also want to recognize our fantastic staffers for the courage and commitment they’ve showed in the past year—doing whatever needed to be done, even when we weren't quite sure what we were supposed to be doing, and showing up, even in the days when it felt pretty scary, so that we could keep the store open for the main reason we exist: to be a place where you can come see, touch, and smell all those wonderful books. Thank you from the bottom of my heart to Brooke, George, Lotte, Joshleigh, Olivia, Andrea, Jackie, Caleigh—and welcome to our newest staffer, Josh.

We’re celebrating warmer weather and longer days by adding new longer store hours on Fridays and Saturdays. As of this coming week, we’ll be open 11 am to 6 pm on Fridays and Saturdays, with our Sunday through Thursday hours continuing as 11 am to 5 pm.

And we’ve got one more great month of Literary Lunchbreaks ahead, before we pause and assess whether some form of in-person events will become possible again. Maybe outdoors? We’ll keep you posted. If we’ve learned anything in the past year, it’s how to stay flexible and...pivot.
For more information on these and other store events, read on in the newsletter.
And, as always, read on!

Upcoming May Events
Local author Ellen Blum Barish kicks off the first Literary Lunchbreak of the month with a very special conversation with Barbara Mahany to launch her new memoir Seven Springs.

One afternoon in the spring of 1972, a Mack truck sped through a residential intersection and collided with a station wagon carrying a young girl and her friend on a ride home from school. The accident shattered the girls' realities. A blanket of silence fell over them until they reconnected at their twentieth high school reunion. That conversation set Ellen Blum Barish on a twenty-year journey, reflected in seven springs, that reunited her to her past, her self, and what she now understands as faith.
Ellen Blum Barish’s award-winning personal essays have appeared in numerous publications, aired on Chicago Public Radio, and been spoken aloud on many Chicago-area storytelling stages. She earned a master’s degree in journalism at Northwestern University, where she teaches writing. Her literary publication Thread earned four notables in Best American Essays. Ellen facilitates writing workshops and works privately with writers on personal narratives. She is the author of the essay collection Views from the Home Office Window: On Motherhood, Family and Life. She lives with her husband, David, in the Chicago area and has two grown daughters. 
Barbara Mahany is an author and freelance journalist in Chicago, who writes these days about stumbling on the sacred amid the cacophony of the modern-day domestic melee. She was a reporter and feature writer at the Chicago Tribune for nearly 30 years, and before that a pediatric oncology nurse at Children's Memorial Hospital in Chicago. Her first book, Slowing Time: Seeing the Sacred Outside Your Kitchen Door, has been called “a field guide into the depths of your holiest hours;” Publishers Weekly named it one of their Top 10 religion books for Fall 2014. Her most recent book is The Stillness of Winter: Sacred Blessings of the Season.
Thu, May 6, 2021 12:00 PM CST
Ellen Blum Barish & Barbara Mahany: Seven Springs
Men I’ve Never Been recounts Michael Sadowski’s odyssey as a boy who shuns his own identity—and, ultimately, his sexual orientation—in order to become the person he thinks he’s supposed to be. Beginning with the memory of a four-year-old sitting in a dingy dive bar, sounding out newspaper headlines while his boasting father collects drinks from onlookers, each chapter highlights a different image of manhood that Sadowski saw at home, at school, or on television—from sports heroes, hunters, and game show hosts, to his charismatic but hard-drinking father. As he learns not to talk, laugh, cry, or love, he retreats further behind a stoic mask of silence—outwardly well-functioning but emotionally isolated, sinking under the weight of the past.

Through wrenching tragedy and tense, life-threatening challenges, Sadowski learns to find love, purpose, and healthy self-regard. In coming to understand his identity and his place within his family, he meditates on the power of real human connection and comes to grasp the damage of his troubled upbringing and the traumas caused by toxic masculinity.
Michael Sadowski is an award-winning writer and author of several books, including In a Queer Voice, Safe Is Not Enough, and Adolescents at School. He is an administrator and professor at Bard College.
Jim Obergefell is the named plaintiff from the landmark United States Supreme Court marriage equality case Obergefell v. Hodges. Following the decision on June 26, 2015, Jim embraced a new career as an LBGTQ+ activist. Jim is the Director of Individual Giving with Family Equality, and he is also a speaker on LGBTQ+ equality represented by Keppler Speakers. 
Thu, May 13, 2021 12:00 PM CST
Michael Sadowski & Jim Obergefell: Men I've Never Been
When Lena Johnson’s beloved grandmother dies, and the full extent of the family debt is revealed, the Black millennial drops out of college to support her family and takes a job in the mysterious and remote town of Lakewood, Michigan.

On paper, her new job is too good to be true. High paying. No out of pocket medical expenses. A free place to live. All Lena has to do is participate in a secret program—and lie to her friends and family about the research being done in Lakewood. An eye drop that makes brown eyes blue, a medication that could be a cure for dementia, golden pills promised to make all bad thoughts go away.

The discoveries made in Lakewood, Lena is told, will change the world—but the consequences for the subjects involved could be devastating. As the truths of the program reveal themselves, Lena learns how much she’s willing to sacrifice for the sake of her family.
Megan Giddings is a fiction editor at The Offing, a winner of the Whiting Literary Magazine Prize, and a features editor at The Rumpus. She is the recipient of a Barbara Deming Memorial Fund grant for feminist fiction. Her short stories have been published in Black Warrior Review, Gulf Coast, and The Iowa Review. Megan holds degrees from University of Michigan and Indiana University. She lives in Indiana. Lakewood is her debut novel.
Maxine Mei-Fung Chung is a psychoanalytic psychotherapist, clinical supervisor and training psychotherapist. She lectures on trauma, gender and sexuality, clinical dissociation and attachment theory and was awarded the Jafar Kareem Bursary for her work supporting people from ethnic minorities experiencing isolation and mental illness. Originally trained in the arts, she previously worked as a creative director for ten years at Condé Nast,The Sunday Times, The Times (London). The Eighth Girl, her debut novel, has been optioned by (Aggregate) Jason Bateman and Michael Costigan for Netflix. Maxine currently works in private practice, where she has a particular interest in the creative feminine, advocating for women and girls to use their voice. She lives in London with her son.
Thu, May 20, 2021 12:00 PM CST
Megan Giddings & Maxine Mei-Fung Chung: Lakewood
School's out!

At Scholastic Parents Night: The Power of Summer Reading, a virtual panel of Scholastic authors, education experts, and booksellers will give tips and book recommendations that will keep kids excited to read all summer long!

Be sure to tune in for:

A book recommendation speed-round with an indie bookseller - Ask for recommendations based on your child's likes and needs!
Interviews with beloved authors Varian Johnson (Twins and The Parker Inheritance) and Kelly Yang (The Front Desk series)
Tips and tricks to keep your kids reading all summer - and loving it!
Swag! Attendees who visit the store after the event will receive a goodie bag (on a first come, first serve basis), and all attendees will receive digital activities, brochures and more! 
Scholastic Parents Night is a Facebook Live Event. Click here to be taken to the event page.
As early as the eighteenth century, white Americans and Europeans believed that people of African descent could not experience nostalgia. As a result, Black lives have been predominately narrated through historical scenes of slavery and oppression. This phenomenon created a missing archive of romantic historical memories. Badia Ahad-Legardy mines literature, visual culture, performance, and culinary arts to form an archive of Black historical joy for use by the African-descended. Her analysis reveals how contemporary Black artists find more than trauma and subjugation within the historical past. Drawing on contemporary African American culture and recent psychological studies, Ahad-Legardy reveals nostalgia’s capacity to produce positive emotions.
Badia Ahad-Legardy is an associate professor in the Department of English and Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs at Loyola University Chicago. She is the author of Freud Upside Down: African American Literature and Psychoanalytic Culture.
WBEZ radio's reporter covering Race, Class and Communities, Natalie Moore is the author of The South Side: A Portrait of Chicago and American Segregation, winner of the 2016 Chicago Review of Books nonfiction award and a Buzzfeed best nonfiction book of 2016. Natalie writes a monthly column for the Chicago Sun-Times.
Thu, May 27, 2021 12:00 PM CST
Badia Ahad-Legardy & Natalie Moore: Afro-Nostalgia
Thursday, May 27, 6:30 – 7:30 pm
This month, the Sci-Fi Book Club will read The Unbroken by C. L. Clark.

On the far outreaches of a crumbling desert empire, two women--a princess and a soldier-- star in this richly imagined, breathtaking, sapphic epic fantasy filled with rebellion, espionage, and assassinations.

Touraine is a soldier. Stolen as a child and raised to kill and die for the empire, her only loyalty is to her fellow conscripts. But now, her company has been sent back to her homeland to stop a rebellion, and the ties of blood may be stronger than she thought. Luca needs a turncoat. Someone desperate enough to tiptoe the bayonet's edge between treason and orders. Someone who can sway the rebels toward peace, while Luca focuses on what really matters: getting her uncle off her throne. Through assassinations and massacres, in bedrooms and war rooms, Touraine and Luca will haggle over the price of a nation. But some things aren't for sale.

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, May 27, 2021 6:00 PM CST
Sci-Fi Book Club: The Unbroken
What Are We Reading?
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.
A super fun space romp centered on friendship and fighting fascists. Really, what more could you want?
Still embarked on my crawl through Hegel! Phenomenology may be rather dry (what a shock!) but there is quite a lot to enjoy about Hegel's writing: the wordplay, the journeys that each concept progress through, and how they all relate back to the nature of consciousness and how we could come to terms with "Absolute knowing."
This is my first experience with Bolaño—it feels to me like weird place to start given how bizarre this title is, but supposedly this was the first of his works to reach widespread appeal. The book is made up of 30 brief biographies of fascist and extreme right-wing writers, all of which are fictitious yet believably situated in the literary world. Bolaño's prose is charming and fluid, the perfect contrast to the darkly humorous accounts of each of these monstrous yet all-too-human characters.
Just about finished with this diverse collection of trans* stories and essays on love, sex, and intimacy from all corners the gender spectrum. I'm really impressed with all of the writers in this collection.
I'm gobbling up Delicious, a brilliant, chatty exploration of why we like (and loathe) the flavors we do, and how that's shaped us as a species. Remember that delightful book Never Home Alone about the role of microbes in our everyday life? Co-author Robb Dunn wrote that one.
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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