Greetings from the Deep Freeze! With windchills this morning in the vicinity of -40F, we hope you're passing your time in Polar Vortex 2019 snuggled up on your couch with a fabulous book! But as soon as it's safe to come out again, we want you to know that we REALLY
 appreciate everyone still braving the weather to visit our cozy shop for events, or dropping by to pick up a new book to curl up with during the next Polar Vortex. (Just kidding! We're sure spring is just around the corner!! :)We invite you to get even cozier by joining us for the kick-off event of Evanston's week-long Hygge Fest! At 4 pm on February 16, Anne Petersen will lead a discussion at Bookends & Beginnings about the concept of hygge and ways to incorporate hygge into your day-to-day, and of course we'll have a selection of comfy cozy hygge books on hand. Everyone who makes a purchase at the event receives a FREE votive candle in a glass candle-holder so they can go right home and start hyggeing instantly!  Find more information HERE!

February also means it's time to spread the love! Whether you're picking something out for your sweetheart, your best friends, or yourself, remember that besides books we have a wide variety of cards, journals, and candles that would light up anybody's day. Plus, don't forget our unique collection of German jewelry that comes in a variety of styles, colors, and prices! 

Lastly, we've got some really fantastic events coming up. In fact, we expect several of our events this month to reach capacity so we ask that you please RSVP in order to help us accommodate everybody. The events that require RSVP have a link in the event description. Just click on the link, answer a few simple questions, and you're all set to go! If you have any issues please call or email us!  

Scroll down to find out more, and as always, read on! 

Saturday, February 2, 3 - 4:30 pm  
Paul Lisnek is a political analyst for WGN-TV and holds a law degree and Ph.D. in communications--a background that heavily informs his new thriller
Assume Guilt, about a Chicago attorney named Matt Barlow who's vowed he'd never be part of a criminal case again--not after failing to save an innocent man from the death penalty. But that changes when top Chicago real estate developer and aspiring politician Charles Marchand is charged with killing his wife. Says journalist and anchor Bill Kurtis, "Paul Lisnek hits all the right buttons in this story with a twist, which only a life-long Chicagoan can tell...and Paul does it VERY well. Bravo!"

Stop by the store today between 3 and 4:30 to meet Paul, get a book signed, and enjoy some light refreshments.  
Bookends & Beginnings welcomes The Chicago Poetry Center for the January reading in its Six Points Reading Series, a monthly, free and public series featuring emerging and established as well as local, national, and international writers, which takes place at rotating venues across Chicago--including parks, conservatories, bars, museums, and reading rooms. Tonight's reading features Faisal Mohyuddin, author of  The Displaced Children of Displaced Children , (Eyewear Publishing, 2018), which won the 2017 Sexton Prize for Poetry and was a 2018 recommendation of the Poetry Book Society; and Suman Chhabra, a multi-genre writer whose chapbook  Demons Off is published by Meekling Press. Curated and hosted by Natasha Mijares, the reading will also include student poets Felicity Hector-Bruder and Jacob Hersh from Highland Park High School.
Despite its rough-and-tumble image, Chicago has long been identified as a city where books take center stage. In fact, a volume by A. J. Liebling gave the Second City its nickname. The city has fostered writers such as Nelson Algren, Saul Bellow, and Gwendolyn Brooks, and its robust commercial printing industry supported a flourishing culture of the book. Chicago by the Book  profiles 101 landmark publications about Chicago from the past 170 years that have helped define the city and its image. Each title--carefully selected by the Caxton Club , a venerable Chicago bibliophilic organization--is the focus of an illustrated essay by a leading scholar, writer, or bibliophile.
Join us for a panel discussion featuring three contributors to Chicago by the Book, including Garry Wills, whose essay covers Studs Terkel's book Division Street: America ; Dominic Pacyga, who wrote about Upton Sinclair's The Jungle ; and store owner Nina Barrett, whose essay focuses on Meyer Levin's novel Compulsion , about the Leopold and Loeb murder case. The panel will be moderated by Susan Rossen, editor of Chicago by the Book.

Light refreshments will be served 
Please RSVP at
When her mother was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer, Karen Babine--a cook, collector of thrifted vintage cast iron, and fiercely devoted daughter, sister, and aunt--couldn't help but wonder: feed a fever, starve a cold, but what do we do for cancer? And so she commited herself to preparing her mother anything she would eat, a vegetarian diving headfirst into the unfamiliar world of bone broth and pot roast.

In the essay collection she'll discuss tonight--  Babine ponders the intimate connections between food, family, and illness. What is the power of language, of naming, in a medical culture where patients are too often made invisible? How do we seek meaning where none is to be found--and can we create it from scratch? And how, Babine asks as she bakes cookies with her small niece and nephew, does a family create its own food culture across generations? Generous and bittersweet,  All the Wild Hungers is an affecting chronicle of one family's experience of illness, and of a writer's culinary attempt to make sense of the inexplicable.


Karen Babine is the author of Water and What We Know: Following the Roots of a Northern Life, winner of the 2016 Minnesota Book Award for memoir/creative nonfiction, finalist for the Midwest Book Award and the Northeastern Minnesota Book Award. She also edits Assay: A Journal of Nonfiction Studies She's currently at work on her next book, an essay collection about camping in Nova Scotia to discover her family's Acadian roots. In her spare time, she loves to cook and hunt through thrift stores for treasures.
Saturday February 16, 4:00 pm

Kick off Downtown Evanston's week-
long Hygge Fest with a free gathering at Bookends & Beginnings! Anne Petersen will lead a discussion about the Danish concept of hygge and ways to incorporate hygge into your day-to-day life. Of course, we'll showcase a selection of books on hygge and have a few other hygge items available, and everyone who makes a purchase gets a free votive candle in a candle-holder. The presentation starts at 4pm and we'll be serving warm beverages. Come get cozy!

Every evening for eight years, at his request, President Barack Obama received ten handpicked letters written by ordinary American citizens from his Office of Presidential Correspondence. In To Obama: With Love, Joy, Anger, and Hope, Jeanne Marie Laskas features more than 100 original letters that deeply affected not only the president but also the policies he pursued. She also interviews President Obama, several of the letter writers themselves, and the White House staff who sifted through the powerful, moving, and incredibly intimate narratives of America during the Obama administration. We are extremely proud that, when she appears at the store tonight to talk about her book, she'll be joined by two local letter-writers who are featured in the book:
Dr. Tracy LaRock, an Evanston home healthcare nurse who wrote a touching note to President Obama about seeing his portrait in many of the homes she visits; and Noor Abdelfattah, a Loyola graduate whose letter reflects on growing up as a Muslim American. Noor later was later invited to a White House dinner celebrating Eid al Fitr (marking the end of Ramadan) and met President Obama.
Jeanne, Dr. LaRock, and Noor will be in conversation as well as hosting a Q&A session with the audience, book signing, and slideshow.
Jeanne Marie Laskas is the author of eight books, including the  New York Times
B estseller  Concussion, the basis for the 2015 Golden Globe nominated film starring Will Smith. She is a contributing writer at The New York Times Magazine, a correspondent at GQ, and a two-time National Magazine Award finalist. Her stories have also appeared in The New Yorker, The Atlantic, and Esquire . She serves as Distinguished Professor of English and Founding Director of the Center for Creativity at the University of Pittsburgh, and lives on a farm in Pennsylvania with her husband and two children.

We expect this event to reach capacity, so please  RSVP by filling out this short form   ASAP. Admission and seating priority will be given to those who purchase the book from us, either in advance or at the event (2 seats max per book purchase).
Friday, February 22, 6 - 7:30

The RHINO poets convene again at 
Bookends & Beginnings for their February gathering, with special guest poets and the traditional open mic. More details are available on the RHINO Website or keep an eye on our Facebook page.

Tuesday, February 26, noon - 1 pm 
What is dreaming, and what causes it? Why are dreams so strange and why are they so hard to remember? Replacing dream mystique with modern dream science, J. Allan Hobson--author of the Very Short Book Club's February selection Dreaming: A Very Short Introduction--provides a new and increasingly complete picture of how dreaming is created by the brain. Focusing on dreaming to explain the mechanisms of sleep, this book explores how the new science of dreaming is affecting theories in psychoanalysis, and how it is helping our understanding of the causes of mental illness. 
J. Allan Hobson investigates his own dreams to illustrate and explain some of the fascinating discoveries of modern sleep science, while challenging some of the traditionally accepted theories about the meaning of dreams. He reveals how dreaming maintains and develops the mind, why we go crazy in our dreams in order to avoid doing so when we are awake, and why sleep is not just good for health but essential for life.

This month The Very Short Book Club will discuss Hobson's theories on the essential nature of dreams and weigh in with their own interpretations. Perhaps they'll even discuss some of their own crazy dreams!
Anyone is welcome to join this Very Short Book Club, which is gradually--and in very short doses--working toward a complete understanding of everything by tackling a new title from the Oxford University Press Very Short Introductions series every month. Or just come browse our collection of 300+ VSIs, offering concise and original introductions to a wide range of subjects--from Islam to Sociology, Politics to Classics, and Literary Theory to History. Not simply a textbook of definitions, each volume provides trenchant and provocative--yet always balanced and complete--discussions of the central issues in a given topic.
Postponed from January!
Tuesday, February 26, 6 - 7:30 pm
  Framed by the genre-defying international p henomenon  Hamilton , the new book  Rise Up! , by long-time Chicago Tribune chief theater critic Chris Jones is the story of how major risk-taking on the part of writers, producers, and audiences re-inserted theatre into the national conversation and proved that Broadway is, and has always been, an emblem of hope in turbulent times. 

Join us this evening as Jones discusses the book, which begins in the 1990s with Angels in America and then chronologically unpacks Broadway's biggest shows within the  conte xt of the darkest days of the AIDS crisis, the emotional turmoil of the post 9/11 recovery, the artistic response to the global recession, the optimism felt by artists during the Obama administration, and the dramatic arrival of the newest administration.

Thursday, February 28, 6 - 7:30 pm
Offline, the computer hacker knows as "Alien" is  a station-wagon-driving mother of two. Professionally, she's a world-class digital break-in artist who has hacked into airlines, hospitals, law firms, and retail outlets on behalf of the government and top-level
corporations who wanted to test their security. When journalist and author Jeremy N. Smith--an Evanston native who now lives in Missoula, Montana and was an old acquaintance of Alien's--heard what she'd been up to since graduating from MIT in the 1990s, he knew he wanted to take a deep dive into her brilliant, breakneck career and the glimpse it offers all of us into issues like cybersecurity, cryptojacking, data breaches, ransomware, and many more threats lurking beneath the surface of all of our online lives.
Both Jeremy Smith and Alien will be with us tonight to discuss Jeremy's new book Breaking and Entering, which reads like an action-packed fictional thriller but is in fact a thoroughly researched, disturbingly true look at an increasingly powerful threat to everyone's privacy and security.
Jeremy N. Smith has written for the  New York Times ,
The Atlantic , and
Discover , and has been featured on CNN, NPR, and
Wired. A graduate of Harvard College and the University of Montana, Smith is the author of  Growing a Garden City and  Epic Measures.
We expect to reach store capacity for this event so if you plan to attend, please RSVP by filling out this short form  ASAP. You can pre-order a signed copy either for pick-up at the event or afterwards, here. 

Alex Kotlowitz Discusses His New Book An American Summer: Love and Death in Chicago, with Medill's Interim Dean Charles Whitaker
Tuesday, March 12, 5:30 - 7:00 pm
Offsite at Northwestern University-Harris Hall
1881 Sheridan Rd. Room 108
Co-Sponsored with The Medill School

The numbers are staggering: over the past 20 years in Chicago, 14,033 people
have been killed and another roughly 60,000 wounded by gunfire. What does that do to the spirit of individuals and community? Drawing on his decades of experience, Alex Kotlowitz set out to chronicle one summer in the city, writing about individuals who have emerged from the violence and whose stories capture the capacity--and the breaking point--of the human heart and soul. The result is a spellbinding collection of deeply intimate profiles that upend what we think we know about gun violence in America. 

Applying the close-up, empathic reporting that made  There Are No Children Here a modern classic, in An American Summer, Kotlowitz offers a piercingly honest portrait of a city in turmoil. These sketches of those left standing will get into your bones. This one summer will stay with you. 

Alex Kotlowitz is the author of three previous books, including the national bestseller  There Are No Children Here, selected by the New York Public Library as one of the 150 most important books of the twentieth century. T he Other Side of the River was awarded the Chicago Tribune's Heartland Prize for Nonfiction. His work has appeared in  The New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine and on  This American Life. His documentary work includes  The Interrupters, for which he received a Film Independent Spirit Award and an Emmy. His other honors include a George Polk Award, two Peabodys, the Helen B. Bernstein Award, and the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award. He teaches at Northwestern University.

Light Refreshments will be served prior to and after the conversation.  Link to register here.  

Pre-order your book from us and pick it up at the event!

And finally, don't forget . . .
For children ages 2 through 6,  Storytime at Bookends & Beginnings is always fun! Our alternating storytellers are Nina Barrett (our store owner) and elementary school teacher Chris Kennelly (shown in action in this photo).
Bookends & Beginnings is a community-centered and community-sustained, full-service, general-interest independent bookstore, now in our fifth 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 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. R emember 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!