October News

Now that the fall equinox has passed, we are counting down to the winter solstice, and the darkest days of our year—and also to the season of rituals and holidays that emphasize light and hope and love, even in darkness. And we are counting down, also, to an election.

On all these occasions, your vote counts, and how you vote counts too. At a time when the economy is so very bad for so many people, and for so many small businesses, every dollar you spend is a vote you cast. You can cast it to support businesses in your local community, who make your neighborhood special, employ local people, and pay local taxes; or for a business ruled by algorithms and owned by the world’s richest man. We’re pretty sure he won’t mind getting that much richer. 

Of course, this year we have COVID to contend with, both in retail and at our polling places, so there are important choices to be made in how we cast our ballots. Social distancing is a given. Just as Election Day has stretched out into Election Season through mail-in and early voting, we’re trying to jump-start holiday shopping now, so we can give as many people as possible the kind of personal customer care we take pride in, without crowds and last-minute frenzies in December. And here's an early warning: everyone expects serious disruptions in the supply chain this fall, due to COVID and issues in the printing industry. Books that sell out early in the season may not get reprinted in time for holiday gift-giving. So we are definitely encouraging you to PLAN AHEAD.

With the addition of our new storefront at 1716 Sherman Avenue (slated to open late this month!), we’ll have more space and more staff to help you manage your shopping. And to make it as easy and efficient as possible, we’re initiating a concierge personal shopping process that anyone can utilize, which works like this:
          *We’ll put together a stack of suggested items tailored to what you tell us about your recipients
          *We’ll consult with you about the suggestions in whatever mode you feel most comfortable: in-person in the store; via phone, Zoom, or email
          *All your gifts will be wrapped in our signature B&B holiday wrapping
          *For a nominal fee, they can be delivered straight to your doorstep, or with standard shipping charges, sent off to your recipients.

We hope you make your shopping votes count, not just with us, but with all the other small businesses in Evanston, Chicago, or wherever else you live. Your individual choice can make a critical difference in what your community looks like post-COVID, just as your literal vote can make a critical difference in what America looks like post-election. So don't procrastinate! October is the new December--and it's the new November too!

And on a completely different subject: We have an amazing, star-studded lineup of Literary Lunchbreaks in October: Evanston-born National Book Award-winning author Charles Johnson will join Action Librarian Nancy Pearl to talk about what he read growing up in our town; original Poldark star Robin Ellis is Zooming in from his farmhouse kitchen in the south of France to find out what you fancied making from his newest cookbook; eminent historian and former Evanston resident Carl Smith discusses the real history of the Great Chicago Fire; and those of you who can still remember every single word of that signature song sung by the legendary Roches (We are Maggie and Terre and Suzzy...We don't give out our ages, and we don't give out our phone numbers) will be ecstatic to hear that Suzzy Roche is joining us to discuss her new novel with acclaimed writer Jane Hamilton.

And that's not everything, so read on for more events and details.

And, as always, read on!

All event books ordered from us before or on the day of their Literary Lunchbreak will be 15% off!
Pre-Order Barack Obama's New Book Now!
If you are going to want a copy of Barack Obama's newly announced memoir A Promised Land, pre-order it NOW. Choosing to order it from an independent bookstore—any independent bookstore—is going to make a critical difference in that store's bottom line. And if you’re going to want multiple copies, definitely pre-order them now! We already have our preliminary order in to the publisher, and it's YUUUUGE, but if we’re going to need to increase it, we want to know that sooner rather than later.
Upcoming Events
In Act Like You’re Having a Good Time, Michele Weldon reflects on growing up with her family, being a single mother, striving for applause and acceptance, failing expectations, forming new friendships, reconciling lost dreams, and restoring one’s faith. With sincerity and humor, she dissects family traditions, painting classes, lap swimming, and dress codes.In an age of self-care and over-the-top indulgence, Weldon has found peace and clarity through gratitude and affirming that “you are already enough.” Weldon invites readers to recognize the universal experience of learning to accept oneself and asking essential questions—even if there are no easy answers.
Michele Weldon is an award-winning author, journalist and emerita faculty member in journalism at Northwestern University, where she taught on the undergraduate and graduate levels for 18 years. She is the author of six nonfiction books, and won a 2020 Peter Lisagor Award from the Chicago Headline Club for Best Essay for essays that appear in Act Like You're Having A Good Time. Her essays have appeared in New York Times, CNN, Washington Post, TIME, and more. 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.   
As actor, playwright and teaching artist, Arlene Malinowski views her solo work as an artistic extension of the social justice work she has been committed to for the last 25 years. She has been performing her five critically acclaimed solo shows across the country and is the recipient of Fellowship-3Arts/UIC Department of Disability in the Arts and Culture. Her solo work has been honored with an LA Theater Ovations Award, LA Garland Award, and LA Weekly Award. She is a contributing writer to the Huffington Post, More Magazine, The Week Behind, Paramanu Pentaquark, and En Posse Review. 
Thu, Oct 1, 2020 12:00 PM CST
Michele Weldon & Arlene Malinowski: Act Like You're Having a Good Time
Nancy Pearl is a real-life Action Librarian. She speaks regularly about the importance and pleasure of reading at libraries, literacy organizations, and community groups around the world, and was actually the real-life inspiration for the Archee McPhee "Librarian Action Figure." And now, in The Writer’s Library: The Authors You Love on the Books That Changed Their Lives, Pearl and her co-author Jeff Schwager take the art of the librarian recommendation and dial it up to eleven, providing readers with unparalleled access to the minds, homes, personal lives, literary tastes—and, in the case of Michael Chabon & Ayelet Waldman, the sandwich tastes—of an impressive spate of American writing talent. With an introduction by Susan Orlean, The Writer’s Library collects a series of intimate, often moving, sometimes humorous, yet always thought-provoking interviews with literary icons including Louise Erdrich, Donna Tartt, and Susan Choi.

And at this Literary Lunchbreak, we'll also be joined by Evanston-born literary icon and National Book Award-winning author Charles Johnson, who's interviewed in the book as well. We'll be asking him about what he was reading--and borrowing from Evanston's library--long before he ever dreamed of the writing life for himself.
Nancy Pearl can be found on NPR’s Morning Edition and KWGS-FM in Tulsa, Oklahoma talking about her favorite books. Her monthly television show on the Seattle Channel, Book Lust with Nancy Pearl, features interviews with authors, poets, and other literary figures. Among her many honors are the 2011 Librarian of the Year Award from Library Journal and the 2011 Lifetime Achievement Award from the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association. Nancy is a best-selling author, librarian, and literary critic, but first and foremost, she is a reader and has spent her life promoting reading as one of the most beneficial and joyful experiences anyone can have.
Jeff Schwager is a Seattle-based journalist and playwright. Book-It Repertory Theatre produced his adaptation of Jesus' Son by Denis Johnson in 2013. The following year, the company's five-hour stage version of his adaptation of Michael Chabon's The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay won Theatre Puget Sound's Gregory Award for Outstanding Production. He lives on Queen Anne Hill, in a Craftsman house built in 1913, with his partner Megan and his pug Edgar.
Charles Johnson is a novelist, essayist, literary scholar, philosopher, cartoonist, screenwriter, and professor emeritus at the University of Washington in Seattle. A MacArthur fellow, his fiction includes Middle Passage, for which he won the National Book Award. In 2002 he received the Arts and Letters Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He lives in Seattle, but grew up in Evanston.
Thu, Oct 8, 2020 12:00 PM CST
Nancy Pearl, Jeff Schwager, & Charles Johnson: The Writer’s Library

As kids we were told to avoid talking about politics in polite company. However, the conventional wisdom no longer applies: we need to find a way to talk to each other about American politics, even with those (and especially those) with whom we disagree. While we’ve hashed and re-hashed bitter political disagreements, we have paid less attention to concrete, actionable ways to better understand each other. While it's true that, on average, public opinion doesn't change quickly, it does change: a prime example is how people think and feel about LGBTQ rights, which saw a meteoric change over the last few decades.

In A Change Is Gonna Come: How to Have Effective Political Conversations in a Divided America, Brian F. Harrison, a political scientist and LGBT rights activist, offers practical suggestions for talking politics based on proven persuasive techniques and insights from political psychology. Harrison draws on his personal experience as a gay man who worked in the Department of Homeland Security during the Bush administration, and explains the reasons behind the success of the marriage equality movement.

Drawing on diverse areas of social research, this book identifies and explains where conversations fail and how we can start to dig out of our opinion silos to make reasonable changes in everyday, interpersonal political conversations, critically important in the run-up to the 2020 general election.
Brian F. Harrison is a lecturer at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota. He is also Founder and President of Voters for Equality, an organization dedicated to education, research, and political engagement among progressives and LGBT allies. Harrison is co-author of Listen, We Need to Talk: How to Change Attitudes about LGBT Rights.
Prior to academia, Brian was a political appointee in the George W. Bush administration, serving as an assistant to the Assistant Secretary for Infrastructure Protection in the Department of Homeland Security.
Betsy Sinclair is a professor of political science at Washington University in St Louis. Her research has focused on the ways in which our family, friends and neighbors impact our political behaviors and choices (first book: The Social Citizen) as well as strategies to improve digital citizenship (second book: A Connected America). She is the current president of Visions of Methodology, an organization dedicated to raising self-identified women's voices in the field of political methodology, and the incoming president for the Society of Political Methodology, the international academic society dedicated to the advancement of political methodology research.
Thu, Oct 15, 2020 12:00 PM CST
Brian F. Harrison & Betsy Sinclair: A Change is Gonna Come
Wednesday, October 21st, noon - 1 pm
The Sci-Fi Book Club is Zooming! This month, this month, we're reading The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow.

In a sprawling mansion filled with peculiar treasures, January Scaller is a curiosity herself. As the ward of the wealthy Mr. Locke, she feels little different from the artifacts that decorate the halls: carefully maintained, largely ignored, and utterly out of place.

Then she finds a strange book. A book that carries the scent of other worlds, and tells a tale of secret doors, of love, adventure and danger. Each page turn reveals impossible truths about the world and January discovers a story increasingly entwined with her own.

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.
Wed, Oct 21, 2020 12:00 PM CST
Sci-Fi Book Club: The Ten Thousand Doors of January
Join our first Literal Literary Lunchbreak, when Robin Ellis, star of the original 1970s Poldark BBC television series, Zooms in from his kitchen in the south of France to see what dishes we've cooked up out of his newest cookbook, Robin Ellis's Mediterannean Vegetarian Cooking. You're welcome to tune in and watch without actually cooking, but if you do purchase the cookbook in advance from Bookends & Beginnings and commit to cooking a dish, you'll be eligible to make a cameo appearance at the event, to talk about what you cooked. Those who enjoyed coming to the B&B cookbook club meetings are especially encouraged to participate!

Email us at info@bookendsandbeginnings.com for more details and to sign up for a guest appearance--but hurry, we will have to limit the number of cooks who can appear!
Actor Robin Ellis is most famous for his performance as Ross Poldark in the successful 1970s BBC TV mini-series Poldark. He also appeared in Elizabeth R, The Moonstone, Sense and Sensibility and an episode of Fawlty Towers. Several years ago he was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes and since then he has been perfecting his collection of easy and delicious Mediterranean dishes. In 2017, he visited Bookends & Beginnings in person to talk about both his previous cookbook Mediterranean Cooking for Diabetics and his memoir, Making Poldark.
Thu, Oct 22, 2020 12:00 PM CST
Robin Ellis: Robin Ellis's Mediterranean Vegetarian Cooking
The Town Crazy is set in the sleepy town of Hanzloo, Pennsylvania, a suburban Catholic community in 1961. A single father moves into town with his young son, arousing suspicion from the husbands and the interest of the wives, but at the same time one of the wives seems to be losing her mind, and no one knows what to do. A contemporary, often humorous take on a bygone era, The Town Crazy also delves into the terror and cruelty of childhood, the dangerous loneliness of failing marriages, sexual repression and desire, and the intersection of art and religion, all culminating in a tragedy for which everyone in the town bears some responsibility.
Suzzy Roche is a singer/songwriter/performer/author and founding member of the singing group The Roches. She has recorded more than fifteen albums, written music for TV and film, and toured extensively in the U.S. and Europe. In addition to The Town Crazy, Roche is the author of the novel Wayward Saints and the children’s book Want to Be in a Band? She tours with her daughter, Lucy Wainright Roche, and lives in New York City.
Jane Hamilton’s novels have won literary prizes, been made into films, have been international best-sellers, and two of them, The Book of Ruth and A Map of The World, were selections of Oprah’s Book Club. She’s married to an apple farmer and lives in Wisconsin.
Wed, Oct 28, 2020 12:00 PM CST
Suzzy Roche and Jane Hamilton: The Town Crazy
Thursday, October 29th, noon - 1 pm
Despite it being one of the most cataclysmic disasters in US history, remarkably, no carefully researched popular history of the Great Chicago Fire has been written. But now, approaching the 150th anniversary, eminent Chicago historian Carl Smith is publishing Chicago's Great Fire: The Destruction and Resurrection of an Iconic American City. Building the story around memorable characters, both known to history and unknown—including the likes of General Philip Sheridan and Robert Todd Lincoln—Carl Smith documents how between October 8–10, 1871, much of Chicago was destroyed, and close to one of every three Chicago residents was left homeless. But this story of devastation destruction ultimately became one of equally remarkable renewal, as Chicago quickly rose back up from the ashes, thanks to local determination and the world’s generosity and faith in Chicago’s future.
Carl Smith is Franklyn Bliss Snyder Professor of English and American Studies and Professor of History, Emeritus, at Northwestern University. His many previous books include The Plan of Chicago: Daniel Burnham and the Remaking of the American City, which was the Fall 2009 One Book One Chicago selection.
Daniel Immerwahr is an associate professor of history at Northwestern University and the author of Thinking Small: The United States and the Lure of Community Development, which won the Organization of American Historians’ Merle Curti Award. He has written for Slaten+1Dissent, and other publications.  
Thu, Oct 29, 2020 12:00 PM CST
Carl Smith & Daniel Immerwahr: Chicago's Great Fire
October Staff Recommendations
There’s nothing in the world more soothing—and healing—than a bowl of chicken soup. And The Chicken Soup Manifesto proves my point, by taking us around the world to explore--through 130 recipes and many enticing photos—these bowls of pure comfort as prepared by the grandmothers of Lebanon, Sri Lanka, Morocco, Ethiopia, Guatemala, and a few dozen other countries. Buy this for yourself and give it as a gift to all the nurturing cooks in your life; it could be the thing that gets you through this tough upcoming winter.

Pete Beatty's debut novel Cuyahoga is a rip-roaring romp of a read that's fun enough to merit some alliterative praise. The novel takes place in Ohio City in the year 1837 and follows Medium Son, an apprentice coffin-maker and the brother of a "spirit of the times" named Big Son. Big is a tall-tale folk hero of the bear-rastling, whiskey-drinking variety, in the vein of Paul Bunyon and Johnny Appleseed. The unconventional narrative meanders like the river it's named after, following a city on the precipice between a diminishing mythic era and a period of expansion and commerce. Like all great books steeped in the American tradition, it threads the needle between tragedy and comedy, with quirks and marvels on just about every page.

As someone who’s always regarded Jackie’s redecoration of the White House as a true act of genius, I found myself dazzled in a completely different way by this gorgeous book documenting what the Obamas created there. The photos in Designing History of the public and private quarters of the White House under the Obamas' occupation show that it had all the stately elegance befitting the historic nature of the place, but with very personal Obama touches that also made it a warm, cozy, and inviting family residence. And there are historical photos for comparison, so be sure you don’t miss the photo of Betty Ford boogieing with pop singer Tony Orlando at a State Dinner in 1979! Great gift book!

In 1714 Adeline LaRue makes a deal with the devil. She wants the freedom to live a life that can’t be found in her tiny French village, Villon. The caveat of the deal is that no one remembers her.  She cannot talk about the deal she made and roams around the world completely alone for 200 years, stealing to survive. Then in 2014 a boy named Henry says a phrase that Addie thought was impossible, “I remember you.” Schwab’s fantastical elements are more secondary and focuses more on loneliness and what makes up an individual’s identity. I found myself floating through this book and losing track of time. The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue just became one of my new favorites!

Books You Could be Reading--
And Buying from Us!
(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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