January Events and Updates
Bookends & Beginnings Best Sellers of 2019
Here we have it, the best-selling items of the year. Drum roll please...
Adult Fiction
Adult Nonfiction
Children's Books
Author Event Books
Food & Beverage

Starting in January, our Thursday hours will be returning to normal: 10 am - 6 pm.


Also starting this month, we will be doing used book buybacks again ON SATURDAYS ONLY! Saturday buyback hours are 1 - 5 pm.
January Events
Wednesday, January 15, 6 pm   Mortality Book Club: Being Mortal
Friday, January 17, 6 pm ART BOOK BONANZA SALE BEGINS
Wednesday, January 22, noon VSI Book Club: Artificial Intelligence
Wednesday, January 29, 6 pm Howard Axelrod: The Stars in Our Pockets
Thursday, January 30, 6 pm Sci-Fi Book Club: The Deep
Friday, January 31, 6 pm RHINO Poetry Night
Upcoming Events
Medicine has triumphed in modern times, transforming the dangers of childbirth, injury, and disease from harrowing to manageable. But when it comes to the inescapable realities of aging and death, what medicine can do often runs counter to what it should. Through eye-opening research and gripping stories of his own patients and family, Atul Gawande explores the suffering this dynamic has produced. Nursing homes, devoted above all to safety, battle with residents over the food they are allowed to eat and the choices they are allowed to make. Doctors, uncomfortable discussing patients' anxieties about death, fall back on false hopes and treatments that are actually shortening lives instead of improving them. In this bestselling book, Gawande, a practicing surgeon, shows how the ultimate goal is not a good death but a good life--all the way to the very end.

Our Mortality Book Club reads and discusses books having to do with the important but frequently avoided issues we confront at the end of our lives. Regular book club members include hospital and hospice workers, but also the adult children of aging parents, or just anyone who wonders about the many questions—medical, emotional, social, and philosophical—raised by human mortality. The book club facilitator is Jasmin Tomlins, a practicing death doula.
Did you know that Chicago is home to more intact African American street murals from the 1970s and ’80s than any other US city? Among Chicago’s greatest muralists is the legendary William “Bill” Walker (1927–2011), compared by art historians to Diego Rivera and called the most accomplished contemporary practitioner of the classical mural tradition.

Though his art could not have been more public, Walker maintained a low profile during his working life and virtually withdrew from the public eye after his retirement in 1989. Author Jeff W. Huebner met Walker in 1990 and embarked on a series of insightful interviews that stretched over the next two decades. Those meetings and years of research form the basis of   Walls of Prophecy and Protest , the story of Walker’s remarkable life and the movement that he inspired.

Featuring 43 color images of Walker’s work, most long since destroyed or painted over, this book reveals the artist who was the primary figure behind Chicago’s famed Wall of Respect, and who created numerous murals that depicted African American historical figures, protested social injustice, and promoted love, respect, racial unity, and community change.
Jeff W. Huebner  is an arts journalist, freelance writer, and longtime contributor to the  Chicago Reader  and  Public Art Review . His articles and reviews have also appeared in  ARTnews, Sculpture, Chicago Magazine, The Chicago Tribune, and elsewhere. He is the author of  Murals: The Great Walls of Joliet   and the coauthor of  Urban Art Chicago: A Guide to Community Murals, Mosaics, and Sculptures and Chicago Parks Rediscovered. In 2017, he was an inaugural recipient of the Dorothea and Leo Rabkin Foundation award for arts criticism and journalism.
Bob Hercules  is a Peabody Award-winning filmmaker whose work has been seen widely on PBS, BBC, Discovery Channel, IFC, TLC and in film festivals around the world. His films include  Maya Angelou: And Still I Rise; Joffrey: Mavericks of American Dance;   Bill T. Jones: A Good Man ; and  Flannery --a bio of writer Flannery O’Connor that won the prestigious Ken Burns/Library of Congress Award and was the opening night film of the Hot Springs Documentary film festival in 2019.  
Are you interested in this event?
01/19/20 6:00pm - 01/19/20 7:30pm

Click "Yes" if you would like us to send you a reminder email before the event
Friday, January 17, 6 - 8 pm
We’ve acquired two huge and wonderful art book collections from separate art connoisseurs, featuring lots of big, gorgeous books about painting, sculpture, art history, art practice, individual artists, and more. They’ll be priced to sell, and if you want to get first crack, we suggest you come to the Launch Event on Friday, January 17, when we’ll get things started with an evening of music and bubbly refreshment. Please RSVP if you plan on coming so we can update you with further details! And tell the artists, art students, and all-around art-appreciators in your life! The sale will continue throughout January, or til whenever the books are gone!
Are you interested in this event?
01/17/20 6:00pm - 01/17/20 8:00pm

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The results of artificial intelligence research have been invaluable to biologists, psychologists, and linguists in helping to understand the processes of memory, learning, and language from a fresh angle.The applications of Artificial Intelligence lie all around us: in our homes, schools, and offices, in our cinemas, in art galleries and on the internet.

As a concept, artificial intelligence has fueled and sharpened the philosophical debates concerning the nature of the mind, intelligence, and the uniqueness of human beings. In this month's selection of the Very Short Book Club— Artificial Intelligence: A Very Short Introduction --author Margaret A. Boden reviews the philosophical and technological challenges raised by artificial intelligence, considering whether programs could ever be really intelligent, creative, or even conscious, and shows how the pursuit of artificial intelligence has helped us to appreciate human and animal minds as well.
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. The monthly discussions are mediated by Josiah and welcome all types of thinkers. 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. If you'd like to learn more about the group stop in and talk to Josiah or email him at  Josiah@bookendsandbeginnings.com
There are 80,000 museums in the world (more than all of the Starbucks and McDonald's stores combined). In the contemporary socio-political climate, we need these institutions to work to their fullest potential to help our societies become more hospitable, equitable, and sustainable. In  Exhibitions for Social Justice , Elena Gonzales assesses the state of curatorial work for social justice today in the Americas and Europe. Gonzales analyzes best practices with the aim of supporting all the people who are working on exhibitions. From sharing authority to inspiring action, Gonzales seeks to share curatorial practices that lie at the nexus of contemporary museology and contemporary neurology. Specifically, Gonzales looks at where curators can enhance the effects of their work by making the most of visitors’ physical and mental experience of exhibitions. Gonzales’s project steps back from the detailed institutional histories of how exhibitions come to be. Instead, she builds a set of curatorial practices by examining the work that goes into the finished product in the gallery .
Elena Gonzales is an independent scholar focusing on curatorial work for social justice and the role of museums in society today. She has curated exhibitions at the National Museum of Mexican Art, the Haffenreffer Museum of Anthropology at Brown, the John Nicholas Brown Center for the Public Humanities and Cultural Heritage, and the Culinary Arts Museum at Johnson and Wales University. She has also taught curatorial studies at Brown, and was a visiting scholar in American Studies at Northwestern University from 2011-2015. Currently she is writing, consulting, chairing the Exhibitions Committee of the Evanston Art Center, and co-developing a digital anthology on Museums and Civic Discourse.
Dan Silverstein is an artist and the Associate Director of Exhibitions and Collections Logistics at the Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art in Evanston, where he designs, plans, and installs exhibitions, often working closely with artists to help them actualize their works in specific gallery spaces. As an artist, he works with both objects and video. Recently, he was the visual designer for "An Attempt to Heal in the Contemporary World," which debuted at the 2018 FringeNYC festival of plays.
Are you interested in this event?
01/28/20 6:00pm - 01/28/20 7:30pm

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What shapes our sense of place, our sense of time, and our memory? How is technology changing the way we make sense of the world and of ourselves?

The human brain’s ability to adapt has been an evolutionary advantage for the last 40,000 years, but now, for the first time in human history, we’re effectively living in two environments at once—the natural and the digital—and many of the traits that help us online don’t help us offline, and vice versa. Drawing on his experience of acclimating to a life of solitude in the woods and then to digital life upon his return to the city, Howard Axelrod explores the human brain’s impressive but indiscriminate ability to adapt to its surroundings.   The Stars in Our Pockets  is a portrait of, as well as a meditation on, what Axelrod comes to think of as “inner climate change.” Just as we’re losing diversity of plant and animal species due to the environmental crisis, so too are we losing the diversity and range of our minds due to changes in our cognitive environment.

As we navigate the rapid shifts between the physical and digital realms, what traits are we trading without being aware of it?  The Stars in Our Pockets  is a personal and profound reminder of the world around us and the worlds within us—and how, as alienated as we may sometimes feel, they were made for each other.
Howard Axelrod  is the author of  The Point of Vanishing: A Memoir of Two Years in Solitude , named one of the best books of 2015 by  Slate, The Chicago Tribune , and  Entropy Magazine , and one of the best memoirs of 2015 by  Library Journal . His essays have appeared in the  New York Times Magazine, O Magazine, Politico, Salon, the  Virginia Quarterly Review , and the  Boston Globe . He has taught at Harvard, the University of Arizona, and is currently the director of the Creative Writing Program at Loyola University in Chicago.
Are you interested in this event?
01/29/20 6:00pm - 01/29/20 7:30pm

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Thursday, January 30, 6 - 7:30 pm
The water-breathing descendants of African slave women tossed overboard have built their own underwater society—and must reclaim the memories of their past to shape their future in this month's selection of The Sci-Fi Book Club: The Deep , by Rivers Solomon, a brilliantly imaginative novella inspired by the Hugo Award–nominated song “The Deep” from Daveed Diggs’s rap group clipping.

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. So if you came last month, bring a friend, and if you weren't able to make it last time, here's your chance!

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 .
Friday, January 31, 6 - 7:30 pm
The RHINO poets convene again at Bookends & Beginnings for their January gathering, with special guest poets and the traditional open mic. More details are available on the  RHINO Website  or keep an eye on the Facebook page .
We're the Lucky Ones
Thank you so very much to all the amazing authors who came to the store this year or appeared at an offsite event that we supported with book sales. We are so grateful to have a community as supportive and incredible as you all. We look forward to more late nights, book signings, and shared love of books with you!

(In order of appearance) 

Anthony Atamanuik - Caitlin Kunkel - Paul Lisnek - Faisal Mohyuddin - Suman Chabra - Garry Wills - Dominic Pacyga - Susan Rossen - Karen Babine - Jeanne Marie Laskas - Tracy LaRock - Noor Abdelfattah - Chris Jones - Jeremy N. Smith -  Martin Andrews - Melissa Blount - Suzanne Clores - Joshua Corey - Pamela Ferdinand - Lillian Huang Cummins - Paulette Livers - Emily Maloney - Emily Skwish - Colby Vargas  - Alex Kotlowitz - Daniel Immerwahr - Jason Stanley - Terese Svoboda - Rana Sweis - Patricia O’Toole - Theo Ross - Tom Burke - David Dowling - Catharine A. MacKinnon - Reginald Gibbons - Chris Green - Mary Hawley - Parneshia Jones - Mike Puican -Cornelia Maude Spelman - Sachin Waikar - Zoe Zolbrod - Nancy Burke - Lorene Cary - Shalini Shankar - Elizabeth Cobbs - Hollis Clayson - Rebecca Sive - Chris Farrell - Linda Gates - Tim Cresswell - Catherine Chung - Madeleine Henry - Caroline Fredrickson - Lee Zacharias - Janet Burroway - Amanda Thomsen - Mark Larson - Barnaby Dinges - Melissa Isaacson - Lynn Cullen - Margaret Renkl - Vojislav Pejović - Lawrence Venuti - Henry Kisor - Christine Goodier - Melanie Holmes - P. E. Moskowitz - Julia Wallace - Kristin Gilger - Pia Justesen - Naeem Murr - Gioia Diliberto - Patrick Bernhard - Christine Pacyk - James Berg -  Marika Lindholm - VersAnnette Blackman-Bosia - Courtney Christine - Mika Yamamoto - Angela Ricketts - Sharisse Kimbro - Marianne Peel Foreman  - Ryan Dohoney - Adam Frankel - Marra B. Gad - Sydni Gregg - Betsy Bird - Mark Caro

Thanks also to those who facilitated our ongoing book discussions:

Jasmin Tomlins - Josiah Ewing - Brooke Williams

...And to the many Evanston and Chicagoland organizations that make our home a great place to live and partnered with us for fantastic events and initiatives in 2019:

Evanston Public Library The Evanston Literary Festival Downtown Evanston The Woman's Club of Evanston Roger W. Bardwell Scholarship The Ethical Humanist Society The Evanston History Center Dear Evanston Racial Justice Book Group The Great Books Foundation The Chicago Poetry Center, The Caxton Club Colvin House , Nichols Middle School ,   Roycemore School Les Dames d'Escoffier Chicago Chapter The Music Institute of Chicago ,   RHINO Poetry First Night Evanston , the  Chicagoland Independent Bookstore Alliance , the   Mystery Writers of America--Midwest Chapter , the   Middle East and North African Studies Program at Northwestern , the  English  and  Writing  programs at Northwestern, The Medill School of Journalism , and Northwestern's  Global Humanities Initiative Center and  Alice Kaplan Institute for the Humanities  

...And much gratitude to those who supplied food and drink for some of our more festive events:


January Staff Recommendations
Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky is the latest book to be published under the Rick Riordan Presents banner, and I think it is my favorite so far! Tristan Strong is an average kid from Chicago who is shipped off to his grandparent's house in Alabama for a month after a tragedy leaves him reeling. Adjusting to rural Alabama is made harder for this city kid when he accidentally punches a hole in the sky, letting through bone ships, iron monsters, and other ancient characters from Black American and West African diaspora mythology. Tristan is a hero you can't help but root for and I can't wait for kids to read his story!

Few essayists have as much of a grasp on contemporary life in the internet age as Jia Tolentino. Like most great writers, she can put words to things I feel I understand but could never fully verbalize. However, the essays in  Trick Mirror  go far beyond that—they offer clear, bracing cultural criticism that comes packaged in deeply personal self-examination. Tolentino safely evades the predictable banalities of personal essays while consistently delivering sharp insights on whatever topic she casts her focus on: social media, drugs, the wedding industry, literature, and more. Every piece offers cogent exploration of the desire for “authenticity” in an online world. In a time characterized by confusion and upheaval, Tolentino’s voice serves as a lucid guide to making sense of culture in which we find ourselves.
Jean-Baptiste Del Amo is not so much a novelist as he is a time traveler. The popular and critically acclaimed novel Animalia , published in 2016 but translated from French now for the first time, paints a portrait of a family in a small French village so vividly that it feels less like an act of artistic imagination than an account by an ethnographer on the ground recording everything he sees. Over the course of the 20th century, behold this family of French farmers battling the elements, going to war with the world, and learning just how much they share in common with animals. 

Yetu and her people are descendants of African slave women who were thrown overboard on the way to America. These women became a type of merfolk and it’s Yetu’s responsibility as the historian to remind her people how they came to be. Yetu becomes too overwhelmed as the historian and flees to the surface. Based on a song by the rap group clipping., The Deep takes a poetic look at memory, loss, and rediscovering a lost world.

Storytime Every Saturday Morning at 10:30 am
For children ages 2 through 6, Storytime at Bookends & Beginnings is always fun! Our alternating storytellers are Nina Barrett (our store owner), Brooke Williams, and elementary school teacher Chris Kennelly! Also, look out for our Special Storytimes, listed in our events! These extra-special mornings often include a craft and activity to accompany our stories!
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

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