Happy Mother's Day!
Mother’s Day is just around the corner, and we’re doing some special celebrating by highlighting the work of local artist and New Yorker cartoonist Eugenia Viti. Her new book Be Pregnant is an incredibly charming, graphic-story treatment of pregnancy, a mix of helpful hints and down-to-earth perspective on topics from cravings to birth plans to what to do when strangers want to touch your belly. We carry the book, of course, but we also have series of Eugenia’s original paintings (examples above) that capture precious moods and moments of Mom-ing, available for purchase and gifting. Eugenia will also be teaching a Bookends University workshop on “Processing Life through Comics,” which is not pregnancy-specific, but tackles the process of graphically depicting any kind of important life event.

I also want to mention two upcoming virtual author events I’m especially excited about. I read an early copy of Alison Espach’s new novel Notes on Your Sudden Disappearance and immediately asked the publisher about hosting a conversation with her. This is a story about grief that's full of humor and delight, and characters who immediately become as real to you as your own friends and family. Alison Espach gets brilliantly to the heart of so many things, but especially of the particular grief that we carry with us for family members who've vanished suddenly from our lives, and of that coming-of-age time when we are trying to figure out what love is, and why it matters. And we’ll be having Alison in conversation with acclaimed novelist Claire Lombardo, the author of The Most Fun We Ever Had.

Second—for everyone who couldn’t stop turning the pages of The Plot, last year’s twisty literary thriller by Jean Hanff Korelitz (I couldn’t sleep for three days after reading it)—Jean has a brand new novel coming out, The Latecomer, and we’ll be hosting her in conversation with the revered writer Anna Quindlen.

We've also got some spectacular in-person events planned, with authors including Peter Baker, Sarah Ruhl, Chris Abani, Emily Maloney, and Susannah Pratt. Please register now so you don’t miss out on anything! For more details, read on in the newsletter.

And, as always, read on!


P.S. We're also celebrating Teacher Appreciation Week! Honor the individuals educating your children through a global pandemic with chocolates, giftcards, and books. And teachers, please note that we offer a 15% teacher's discount year-round.
Upcoming Events
Wednesday, May 18, 7 - 8 pm
Join Illinois Libraries Present for an evening with musician and author Michelle Zauner in conversation with music critic Jessica Hopper. The pair will discuss Zauner's music career as the front man of Japanese Breakfast and her bestselling memoir, Crying in H Mart. The book chronicles Zauner's fraught relationship with her mother and with her Koreanness, from childhood, through her mother's diagnosis of terminal cancer, and after her mother's death. Full of music, grief, humor, and recipes, Crying in H Mart has already achieved beloved status among readers.
Michelle Zauner is best known as a singer and guitarist who creates dreamy, shoegaze-inspired indie pop under the name Japanese Breakfast. She has won acclaim from major music outlets around the world for releases like Psychopomp (2016) and Soft Sounds from Another Planet (2017). Critically acclaimed Jubilee (2021) was nominated for two Grammy awards. Crying in H Mart is her first book.
Jessica Hopper is a music critic, producer and author based in Chicago. In a career spanning more than twenty years, Hopper has earned acclaim as a provocative, fearless music journalist. She has written for, among others, GQ, Rolling Stone, The New York Times Magazine, The Guardian, Elle, and the Chicago Reader. She is the author of The First Collection of Criticism By A Living Female Rock Critic and co-founded Golden Teapot, a production company specializing in music and culture documentary work.
Thursday, May 19, 6 - 7 pm
Join us for a conversation between Alison Espach and Chicagoan Claire Lombardo about Espach's new book, Notes on Your Sudden Disappearance.

For much of her life, Sally Holt has been mystified by the things her older sister, Kathy, seems to have been born knowing. Kathy has answers for all of Sally’s questions about life, about love, and about Billy Barnes, a rising senior and local basketball star who mans the concession stand at the town pool. The girls have been fascinated by Billy ever since he jumped off the roof in elementary school, but Billy has never shown much interest in them until the summer before Sally begins eighth grade. By then, their mutual infatuation with Billy is one of the few things the increasingly different sisters have in common. Sally spends much of that summer at the pool, watching in confusion and excitement as her sister falls deeper in love with Billy—until a tragedy leaves Sally’s life forever intertwined with his.

Opening in the early nineties and charting almost two decades of shared history and missed connections, Notes on Your Sudden Disappearance is both a breathtaking love story about two broken people who are unexplainably, inconveniently drawn to each other and a wryly astute coming-of-age tale brimming with unexpected moments of joy.
Alison Espach is the author of the novel The Adults, a New York Times Editors' Choice and a Barnes & Noble Discover pick. Her short stories and essays have appeared in Vogue, Joyland, Glamour, Salon, and McSweeney’s, among other places. She is currently a professor of creative writing at Providence College in Rhode Island.
Claire Lombardo earned her MFA in fiction at the Iowa Writers' Workshop. Prior to writing The Most Fun We Ever Had, she spent several years doing social work in Chicago. She was born and raised in Oak Park, Illinois.
Wednesday, May 25, 7 - 8:30 pm
Join New Yorker cartoonist and Be Pregnant author Eugenia Viti in learning to write comics as a means of processing or recording a significant life event. This online workshop is appropriate for writers and artists over the age of sixteen at any level of experience.

Besides their instructional value, Bookends & Beginnings workshops are intended to create connections among customers, bring visibility to authors, and support visiting and purchasing books from the bookstore. Since this workshop does not require the purchase of a textbook, your ticket includes a $10 gift card, which you can use toward the purchase of Eugenia Viti’s new book, Be Pregnant, or toward a book of your choice about writing, or any other book. Or give it away to someone you want to encourage to shop at Bookends!
Eugenia Viti is a writer, illustrator, comic artist, and cartoonist who lives in Chicago with her husband and toddler. She’s a regular contributor to The New Yorker; her comics and cartoons also appear in the American Bystander, The Nib, McSweeney’s, Physics World, Adbusters, and others. She is the author of Be Pregnant: An Illustrated Guide for Moms-to-Be.
Wednesdays, June 1, 8, 15, & 23, 7 - 8:30 pm
The word essay is derived from the French essai, which means to attempt. For Phillip Lopate, this suggests that the essay is a versatile form, meant to be “flexible, shape-shifting, experimental.”

Please join Freda Love Smith for a four-week deep dive into the shape-shifting personal essay, suitable for writers of all levels. This online course will combine in-class writing exercises, short lectures, workshop, discussion, and weekly reading and writing assignments. Students will explore the process of mining for memories and generating ideas, and experiment with transforming raw material into structured, polished pieces.

Workshop fee: $195, which includes a copy of the required course textbook, The Contemporary American Essay by Phillip Lopate.
Freda Love Smith is a writer and teacher living in Evanston. Her first book, Red Velvet Underground: A Rock Memoir, with Recipes, came out in 2015 and she is currently writing a novel based on the life of Angela DeAngelis, a member of the Symbionese Liberation Army and an instrumental figure in the kidnapping and indoctrination of Patricia Hearst. She has an MA in Fiction from Nottingham Trent University and an MFA in Creative Nonfiction from Northwestern University.
Thursday, June 2, 6 - 7 pm
Chicagoan Peter Baker's essays, criticism, reportage, and fiction have appeared in some of the most prestigious publications in the country, including The New Yorker and The New York Times. Now, Bookends & Beginnings is pleased to help him celebrate the publication of his first novel, Planes.

It's an urgent, fiercely intelligent debut novel about “two couples, an ocean apart—one wounded by a war crime, the other just starting to reckon with being implicated in it…. An insightful book about the slow, zigzag work of healing that nonetheless moves at the speed of a thriller.” (Caleb Crain, author of Necessary Errors).

Join us in the courtyard at Bookends & Beginnings as Peter talks to Chicago writer Diego Báez about what Publishers Weekly calls a "moving debut [that] buzzes with relevance."

We will have copies of Planes for sale in the bookstore or you can pre-order your book and we'll have it signed and ready to pick up at the event. If you want a personalized dedication, enter your desired inscription in the "Notes" field when you place the order.
Peter C. Baker’s essays, criticism, and reporting have been published by The New YorkerThe New York Times Magazine, The New York Review of BooksThe Guardian “Long Read,” and elsewhere. Planes is his first novel. He is currently a finalist for the international True Story Award, in recognition of his writing on Chicago high school students’ attempts to grapple with their city’s history of police torture. He met his wife, an Evanstonian, in graduate school in North Carolina, and they’ve lived together in Chicagoland for 10 years now. 
Diego Báez is a writer, educator and abolitionist. He serves as a Director of the Board for the National Book Critics Circle. His writing has appeared in publications including Freeman’s, The Rumpus, and The Georgia Review.
Join the New York Times bestselling author of The Plot, Jean Hanff Korelitz, in conversation with novelist and journalist Anna Quindlen. The two will discuss Korelitz's latest novel, The Latecomer, an immersive story about three siblings, desperate to escape one another, and the upending of their family by the late arrival of a fourth. Bookends & Beginnings will co-host this exclusive author program with Gramercy Books in Bexley, OH.

Registration for this virtual program costs $5; a ticket that includes the purchase of The Latecomer waives that fee. Registration closes at 4 pm on the day of the event.

The Latecomer follows the story of the wealthy, New York City-based Oppenheimer family, from the first meeting of parents Salo and Johanna, under tragic circumstances, to their triplets born during the early days of IVF. As children, the three siblings feel no strong familial bond and cannot wait to go their separate ways, even as their father becomes more distanced and their mother more desperate. When the triplets leave for college, Johanna, faced with being truly alone, makes the decision to have a fourth child. What role will the “latecomer” play in this fractured family?

A complex novel that builds slowly and deliberately, The Latecomer touches on the topics of grief and guilt, generational trauma, privilege and race, traditions and religion, and family dynamics. It is a profound and witty family story from an accomplished author, known for the depth of her character studies, expertly woven storylines, and plot twists.

"Jean Hanff Korelitz is an ambidextrous writer: not only can she write a tight and absorbing literary thriller like The Plot, but with The Latecomer she draws us in again, this time with her ease, grace and wit, in a satisfying novel that spans generations, lives, and fates."
—Meg Wolitzer, The New York Times bestselling author of The Female Persuasion
Jean Hanff Korelitz is The New York Times bestselling author of the novels The PlotYou Should Have Known (which aired on HBO in October 2020 as The Undoing, starring Nicole Kidman, Hugh Grant, and Donald Sutherland), Admission (adapted as a film in 2013 starring Tina Fey), The Devil and WebsterThe White RoseThe Sabbathday River anA Jury of Her Peers, as well as Interference Powder, a novel for children. Her company BOOKTHEWRITER hosts Pop-Up Book Groups in which small groups of readers discuss new books with their authors. She lives in New York City with her husband, Irish poet Paul Muldoon.
Anna Quindlen is a novelist and journalist whose work has appeared on fiction, nonfiction, and self-help bestseller lists. She is the author of many novels: Object LessonsOne True ThingBlack and BlueBlessingsRise and ShineEvery Last OneStill Life with Bread Crumbs, and Miller's Valley. Her memoir Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake was a #1 New York Times bestseller. Her book A Short Guide to a Happy Life has sold more than a million copies. While a columnist at The New York Times she won the Pulitzer Prize and published two collections, Living Out Loud and Thinking Out Loud. Her Newsweek columns were collected in Loud and Clear.
Wednesday, June 22, 7 - 8 pm
Join Illinois Libraries Present for an evening with chef Kwame Onwuachi. His first cookbook, My America: Recipes from a Young Black Chef, celebrates the food of the African Diaspora, as handed down through Onwuachi’s own family history, spanning Nigeria to the Caribbean, the South to the Bronx, and beyond. Interwoven throughout the book are stories of Onwuachi’s travels, illuminating the connections between food and place, and food and culture. The result is a deeply personal tribute to the food of "a land that belongs to you and yours and to me and mine."
Kwame Onwuachi is a James Beard Award-winning chef who was born on Long Island and raised in New York City, Nigeria, and Louisiana. Onwuachi was first exposed to cooking by his mother, in the family’s modest Bronx apartment, and he took that spark of passion and turned it into a career. He trained at the Culinary Institute of America and opened five restaurants before turning thirty. A former Top Chef contestant, he has been named Food & Wine's Best New Chef 2019 and a 30 Under 30 honoree by both Zagat and Forbes. Onwuachi’s 2019 memoir, Notes from a Young Black Chef received critical acclaim.
Wednesday, June 29, 6:30 - 7:30 pm
Join us in the Bookends & Beginnings courtyard for a conversation and poetry reading with Sarah Ruhl and Chris Abani whose new books from Copper Canyon Press are Love Poems in Quarantine and Smoking the Bible. We will have copies of both books for sale in the bookstore or you can pre-order your book and we'll have it signed and ready to pick up at the event. If you want a personalized dedication, enter your desired inscription in the "Notes" field when you place the order.

Writing from and toward “the endless desire / to be at home in the world,” Sarah Ruhl wrote Love Poems in Quarantine to mark the passage of time when all familiar landmarks disappeared. From the dawn of the COVID-19 pandemic, to the murder of George Floyd, to months of simultaneous quarantine and protest, this is—in free verse and form, lamentation and meditation—a book of days, a survival kit for spiritual malady. These poems find small solace in domestic absurdities. Even in global crisis, there is the laundry. The dog rolls in something putrid, the child interrupts a Zoom meeting, and dinner must get made, again and again. Using language to travel and touch when bodies could not, Ruhl has drawn with great care a portrait of a year unlike any other in history.

Smoking the Bible is an arresting collection of poems thick with feeling, shaped by Chris Abani’s astounding command of form and metaphor. These poems reveal the personal story of two brothers—one elegizing the other—and the larger story of a man in exile: exile of geography, culture, and memory. What we experience in this emotionally generous collection is a deep spiritual reckoning that draws on ancient African traditions of belief, and an intellectual vivacity drawing on various wisdom literatures and traditions. Abani illustrates the connective geography between harm, regret, and release, as poems move through landscapes of Nigeria, the Midwestern United States, adulthood, and childhood. One has the sense of entering a whole and complex world of the imagination in reading this collection. There is no artifice here, no affectation; and these poems are a study in the very grace of image.
Sarah Ruhl is a playwright, essayist and poet. She is a MacArthur “Genius” Award recipient, two-time Pulitzer Prize finalist, and a Tony Award nominee. Her book of essays, 100 Essays I Don’t Have Time to Write, was published by FSG and named a notable book by The New York Times. Her book Letters from Max, co-authored with Max Ritvo and published by Milkweed Editions, was on the The New Yorker’s Best Poetry of the Year list. Her plays include For Peter Pan on her 70th BirthdayHow to Transcend a Happy MarriageThe Oldest BoyStage KissDear ElizabethIn the Next Room, or The Vibrator PlayThe Clean HousePassion PlayDead Man’s Cell PhoneMelancholy PlayEurydiceOrlando; Late: A Cowboy Song, and a translation of Chekhov’s Three Sisters. Her plays have been produced on and off Broadway, around the country, and internationally, where they’ve been translated into over fifteen languages. Originally from Chicago, Ms. Ruhl received her MFA from Brown University where she studied with Paula Vogel. She has received the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize, the Whiting Award, the Lilly Award, a PEN award for mid-career playwrights, the National Theater Conference’s Person of the Year Award, and the Steinberg Distinguished Playwright Award. She teaches at the Yale School of Drama, and lives in Brooklyn with her family.
Chris Abani is an acclaimed novelist and poet. His most recent books are The Secret History of Las VegasThe Face: Cartography of the Void, and Sanctificum. He has received a Guggenheim Fellowship, the PEN/Hemingway Award, an Edgar Award, a USA Artists Fellowship, the PEN Beyond Margins Award, a Prince Claus Award, the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award, and a Lannan Literary Fellowship, among many honors. Born in Nigeria, he is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a Board of Trustees Professor of English at Northwestern University. He lives in Chicago.
Thursday, June 30, 6 - 7 pm
Please join Evanston authors Emily Maloney and Susannah Pratt in the Bookends & Beginnings courtyard for a timely conversation about cost, value, and the larger systems that set their terms. We will have copies of both books for sale in the bookstore or you can pre-order your book and we'll have it signed and ready to pick up at the event. If you want a personalized dedication, enter your desired inscription in the "Notes" field when you place the order.

The New York Times praises Emily Maloney's debut essay collection, Cost of Living, as "astute, compassionate and lethally funny." Maloney's tale of hospitalization and crippling medical debt explores "the complex intersections of money, illness and medicine."

Susannah Pratt's More or Less: Essays from a Year of No Buying documents her family’s experiment in buying nothing nonessential. Eula Biss writes that, “The resulting meditation on want, need, excess, and garbage asks profound questions about waste, time, and the lost art of thrift.”
Emily Maloney is the author of Cost of Living (Henry Holt, 2022). Her work has appeared in Glamour, Virginia Quarterly Review, Best American Essays, and the American Journal of Nursing, among others. She has worked as a dog groomer, pastry chef, general contractor, tile setter, and catalog model and sold her ceramics at art fairs. She has been awarded fellowships from MacDowell and the Illinois Arts Council, has an MFA in nonfiction from the University of Pittsburgh, and lives in Evanston, Illinois.
Susannah Pratt has published work in Literary MamaMotherwellThe Mindful Word, Chicago ParentUnder the Gum Tree, Essay Daily, and The Week, among other publications. She has also served as a regular contributor to The Waking, the blog at Ruminate Magazine. Pratt, her husband, three children, and two dogs make their home—still full of too much stuff— in Evanston, IL. More or Less is her first book.
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Bookends & Beginnings is a community-centered and community-sustained, full-service, general-interest independent bookstore, now in our ninth 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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