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Staff Picks


Three Things I Like: Hot tea (by the fire), superhero movies and playing tennis.  

Currently Reading: The Revolution of Marina M. by Janet Fitch

Currently Listening To:  Seven Days of Us by Francesca Hornak

The Revolution of Marina M. Cover Image
ISBN: 9780316022064
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Little Brown and Company - November 7th, 2017

Seven Days of Us Cover Image
ISBN: 9780451488756
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Berkley Books - October 17th, 2017



Three Things I Like: napping, writing, and macaroni & cheese

Currently Reading: The Flick by Annie Baker

The Flick (Tcg Edition) Cover Image
ISBN: 9781559364584
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Theatre Communications Group - September 30th, 2014


Three Things I Like: singing, cheese, and washing dishes

Currently Reading: The Nix by Nathan Hill

Exit West Cover Image
ISBN: 9780735212176
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Riverhead Books - March 7th, 2017

Exit West is a beautiful, bittersweet story about a couple and the development of their relationship as they are forced to flee their war-torn home. Mohsin Hamid introduces readers to two well-developed protagonists and achieves a powerful portrayal of the refugee experience in a way that few authors can.

Spoonbenders Cover Image
ISBN: 9781524731823
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Knopf Publishing Group - June 27th, 2017

This book has everything you didn't know you needed: psychics, the Chicago mob, the CIA. I was hooked from the very first chapter, but as the story progressed, I found myself getting noticeably physically ANGRY at how GOOD this book is! This novel may seem to have a lot going on, but it ultimately boils down to a touching portrait of a family. I will enthusiastically recommend this book to everyone I know. Forever.

All Our Wrong Todays Cover Image
ISBN: 9781101985137
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Dutton Books - February 7th, 2017

My Lady Jane Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062391742
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Harper Teen - June 7th, 2016

Don't let the cover of this book fool you. This is not just any other girly YA novel. The narrator is witty, absolutely hilarious. Loosely based on the story of Lady Jane Grey, who was queen of England for 9 days, this book is cleverly written and has it all: adventure, a smart and sassy protagonist, references to Monty Python, The Princess Bride, and Game of Thrones. My favorite book of 2016!


Three Things I Like: binge watching Netflix, comedy, and never ending bowls of pasta

Currently Reading: Gork, The Teenage Dragon by Gabe Hudson

Gork, the Teenage Dragon Cover Image
ISBN: 9780375413964
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Knopf Publishing Group - July 11th, 2017

All Our Wrong Todays Cover Image
ISBN: 9781101985137
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Dutton Books - February 7th, 2017

Elan Mastai has written the perfect time travel book.  Wait, scratch that.  He has written the perfect book.  What could become an overwhelmingly scientific account of time travel is instead a great book filled with laughter and crying and "oh god this is so good wait what's happening I CAN'T PUT THIS BOOK DOWN" feelings.  I read this book in 100 page increments, finding it physically painful to put down.  Definitely at the top of my list of best books I have read this year (even though it, sadly, doesn't come out until next year).  I can't wait until I can put this in customers' hands.  I guess I will just have to make do with my co-workers for now...

The Girls Cover Image
ISBN: 9780812998603
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Random House - June 14th, 2016

Carry on Cover Image
ISBN: 9781250049551
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: St. Martin's Griffin - October 6th, 2015

Rowell's take on the "Chosen One" magician story is a great one. Flipping between many unique points of view, Rowell creates some amazing dramatic irony that keeps you turning the pages. I was incredibly sad when this book ended. I wanted to spend way more time with these awesome characters in their beautifully crafted world.

Furiously Happy: A Funny Book about Horrible Things Cover Image
ISBN: 9781250077004
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Flatiron Books - September 22nd, 2015

Jenny Lawson has a beautiful and hilarious way of writing about the mental illness that she lives with.  Told in short, essay-like chapters, you will find yourself laughing at every page.  And, if you haven't yet, make sure to check our her first book, Let's Pretend This Never Happened.

Eleanor Cover Image
ISBN: 9781101923924
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: Random House Audio Publishing Group - January 12th, 2016

Beautifully blending reality and a fascinating look at purgatory and the dream world, Eleanor makes you think about the world beyond what we can see.  Gurley creates a fully realized other world that pulls you in and doesn't let go.  A beautiful piece of writing and quite a feat of creativity.


Three Things I Like: The Bard, a well crafted beer, and short walks in the snow 

Currently Reading: The Rise and Fall of Adam and Eve by Steven Greenblatt

Staff Pick Logo
Station Eleven Cover Image
ISBN: 9780804172448
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Vintage - June 2nd, 2015

Pure magic. Shakespeare, comic books, Star Trek, and the apocalypse all swirl together into one of my favorite books of the year. Mandel deftly weaves us through multiple characters in the past and present in this strangely real yet fantastically imaginative tale. And unlike many of its fellow world-ender novels, Mandel paints us a future full of hope and new beginnings. 

American Gods: Author's Perferred Text Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062080233
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: William Morrow & Company - February 5th, 2013

The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay Cover Image
ISBN: 9780812983586
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Random House Trade - June 12th, 2012

One of the most influential novel's I've ever read. The comic book aspect drew me in, but I the depth of the characters gave it the lasting impact. We are all searching for oursevles. We all have a secret identity. We are all trying to escape something. We all want to change the world. Chabon's characters struggle along with the rest of us with the medium of comic books as their backdrop. One of the most impressive feats is Chabon's ability to verbally paint for us what his characters are painting in their own fictional world within world. They say that readers of fiction have a greater ability to empathize with the people. You can't read this book without feeling empathy. You can't help but realize how much you and these people share in your own ways. "Forget about what you are escaping from. Reserve your anxiety for what you are escaping to."


The Sellout Cover Image
ISBN: 9781250083258
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Picador USA - March 1st, 2016

East of Eden: John Steinbeck Centennial Edition (1902-2002) Cover Image
ISBN: 9780670033041
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Viking - June 24th, 2003

The Nix Cover Image
ISBN: 9781101946619
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Knopf Publishing Group - August 30th, 2016

Kafka on the Shore Cover Image
ISBN: 9781400079278
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Vintage - January 3rd, 2006

The Rise and Fall of Adam and Eve Cover Image
ISBN: 9780393240801
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: W. W. Norton & Company - September 12th, 2017

Days Without End Cover Image
ISBN: 9780143111405
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Penguin Books - September 12th, 2017

Magpie Murders Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062645227
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Harper - June 6th, 2017

But What If We're Wrong?: Thinking about the Present as If It Were the Past Cover Image
ISBN: 9780399184130
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Blue Rider Press - April 25th, 2017

One Hundred Years of Solitude Cover Image
ISBN: 9780060883287
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Harper Perennial - February 1st, 2006

Catch-22 Cover Image
By Joseph Heller, Christopher Buckley (Introduction by)
ISBN: 9781451626650
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Simon & Schuster - April 5th, 2011

A Manual for Cleaning Women: Selected Stories Cover Image
ISBN: 9781250094735
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Picador USA - August 2nd, 2016


Three Things I Like: writing bad literature, reading good literature, and playing guitar when I can't tell the difference

Currently Reading: Stephen Florida by Gabe Habash

Stephen Florida Cover Image
ISBN: 9781566894647
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Coffee House Press - June 6th, 2017

Lovecraft Country Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062292070
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Harper Perennial - February 14th, 2017

The 50s: The Story of a Decade Cover Image
By The New Yorker Magazine, Henry Finder (Editor), David Remnick (Introduction by)
ISBN: 9780812983302
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Modern Library - July 5th, 2016

Disposable Futures: The Seduction of Violence in the Age of Spectacle Cover Image
ISBN: 9780872866584
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: City Lights Books - July 14th, 2015

Valiant Ambition: George Washington, Benedict Arnold, and the Fate of the American Revolution Cover Image
ISBN: 9780525426783
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Viking - May 10th, 2016

Fahrenheit 451 Cover Image
ISBN: 9781451673319
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Simon & Schuster - January 10th, 2012

Symphony for the City of the Dead: Dmitri Shostakovich and the Siege of Leningrad Cover Image
ISBN: 9780763668181
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Candlewick Press (MA) - September 22nd, 2015

Staff Pick Logo
Bats of the Republic: An Illuminated Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780385539838
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Doubleday Books - October 6th, 2015

A dystopian fantasy that completely deconstructs the history of the world in an incredibly intricate way while maintaining a striking cultural critique on our ideas of masculinity, money, blood, and love. With an almost Danielewski approach towards using the novel as an artpiece, Dodson has created an immensely stark world and has proved himself as one of the most imaginative writers that I've encountered in a very long time.

Redwall Cover Image
By Brian Jacques, Gary Chalk (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9780142302378
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Penguin Putnam Books for Young Readers - September 30th, 2002

This book is action packed. A page turner in which some beloved characters redeem themselves, some perish while evil characters ebb and flow in triumph and despair too. This has to be the most entertaining part of the book: the way that Jacques is able to deliver a story that is devastating, and yet in the end, hopeful. It is a strong testament to the fantasy novel, especially one made for kids of all ages. There are battles and strategy and adventure; everything needed to keep a kid entertained and looking for more to read.


Three things I like: nicking recipes from favourite restaurants, climbing over language barriers in faraway places, and spotting lookalikes

Currently reading: Warlock by Oakley Hall

Warlock Cover Image
By Oakley Hall, Robert Stone (Introduction by)
ISBN: 9781590171615
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: New York Review of Books - November 21st, 2005



Three things I like: cheese, tea, and The BBC 

Currently reading: Her Body and Other Parties by Carmen Maria Machado

Cork Dork: A Wine-Fueled Adventure Among the Obsessive Sommeliers, Big Bottle Hunters, and Rogue Scientists Who Taught Me to Live Cover Image
ISBN: 9780143128090
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Penguin Books - March 28th, 2017

*Whether you are a sommelier, a boxed-wine drinker, a rose fanatic, or just wondering what the heck the buzz is about, Bianca Bosker delivers with Cork Dork!

Bianca Bosker co-founded The Huffington Post’s tech section and served as the site’s Executive Tech Editor until 2014 when she handed herself over to the life of wine.
Cork Dork is that story: all at once a hilarious memoir, an instructional guide to drinking wine, and a window into the history, science, and philosophy of living for taste.
With writing that is both informative and laugh-out-loud hilarious, Cork Dork makes wine accessible. It shows you how to be present in the experience. To savor each sip, letting it play over your senses and your memories. And for civilians like me, it makes you want to participate:

While learning the proper routine of blind-tasting, I attempted to “blind” taste the GoT red blend.
While reading about the neuroscience of smell, I tried to better appreciate my pineapple coconut smoothie.
And while sitting in a very quiet cafe, I laughed out loud at the image of corks flying and exploding bottles of red wine.


Exit West Cover Image
ISBN: 9780735212176
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Riverhead Books - March 7th, 2017

This book left me breathless, heartbroken, and hopeful. Exit West is one of those rare titles that quietly speaks truth in the face of chaos and crisis. By bringing the refugee crisis to our own doorstep with magical realism, Hamid's narrative demands empathy for people whose struggles are otherwise filtered through political agenda. Nadia and Saeed help us to understand what it means to be forced into change despite overwhelming adversity, to be loyal to a past that is all but lost, and to finally find a new home in hope and love. Mohsin Hamid has given us a lens into the hard reality of our time while suggesting that with some humility, tenderness, and revision, we might just arrive to a new future battered but in tact and looking forward.

The One-Eyed Man Cover Image
ISBN: 9780670025350
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Viking - March 7th, 2017

The One-Eyed Man is provocative and exasperating. 
Ron Currie has presented readers with a unique insight on the human condition. Is our narrator painfully honest or unreliable to a fault? After the death of his wife and a moment of enlightenment, K. has found the ability (or so we are lead to believe) to see without bias and speak without filter. Grief and pain are irrelevant. But by "liberating" himself, K. may have doomed those around him. Is it better to drown in delusion or to be ripped apart by awareness? 
In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king of his own mind until the blind revolt.
Incredibly well done.

All Our Wrong Todays Cover Image
ISBN: 9781101985137
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Dutton Books - February 7th, 2017

Pardon the temporal drag, but I believe that's future me declaring this my favorite book of 2017.
I am so grateful for the few months I have to digest this novel so I can present it to customers without dissolving into squeals and feels (Because if you review the audio of me reading the last 50 pages of this book, I very loudly experience the full range of human emotion)! 

Where this book is science fiction, it is smart and quirky, as fresh as a lemon tart and just as delicious. When it starts getting too complicated, our narrator reminds us that he doesn't really get it either.
But WAIT, this book is more than time travel. It is the consequences of our actions, the hope for a better tomorrow, the strength to be our best selves, the guilt we endure, and the love we live for. 
Plus it's REALLY fun, and is going to make an amazing film some day. 5 stars, plus a little gold star sticker on the side.

Sweetbitter Cover Image
ISBN: 9781101875940
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Knopf Publishing Group - May 24th, 2016

Savory and delicious--with a hint of cocaine and a strong note of self-discovery (and maybe a tinge of regret).

The kind of book that keeps you up until 2am screaming THIS BOOK IS AMAZING. My favorite book of the year so far.


The Ocean at the End of the Lane Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062255662
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: William Morrow & Company - June 3rd, 2014

Ocean at the End of the Lane was the most gripping novel on my 2015 list, occupying my time on two flights to and from Orange County. Complicated and heart-wrenching, it had me squirming in my seat. I found myself horrified and in awe of this young boy whose innocence allows him to recognize a danger that no "grown-up" can while leaving him feeling incapable of confronting its authority. Sitting on that plane, I felt both enlightened and powerless.

This book knows what it means to be a child.

Girl Through Glass Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062326270
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Harper - January 26th, 2016


Bad Feminist Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062282712
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Harper Perennial - August 5th, 2014


The Fiery Cross Cover Image
ISBN: 9780440221661
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Dell - August 30th, 2005


Small Victories: Spotting Improbable Moments of Grace Cover Image
ISBN: 9781594486296
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Riverhead Books - November 10th, 2014



Three Things I Like: red meat, Nintendo, and my bed

Currently Reading:  Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell


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Blood Meridian: Or the Evening Redness in the West Cover Image
ISBN: 9780679728757
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Vintage - May 5th, 1992

Terrifying.  McCarthy didn't just change the novel of the American West, he changed the novel period.  The only way this book could be more frightening is if it were written in blood.



Three Things I Like: scuba diving, Indian food, and Moroccan Riads

Currently reading: The Narrow Road to the Deep North by Richard Flanagan

A Gentleman in Moscow Cover Image
ISBN: 9780670026197
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Viking - September 6th, 2016

I love Russian novels -- give me Tolstoy or Dostoevsky and I'll be entertained for days. It's hard to adapt/capture the feelings evoked by these classic Russian novels in the 21st centure, let alone by the hand of an American author.  Towles came damn close, through this tale of a count sentenced to life in the Metropol Hotel, which is across from the Kremlin in Moscow.  Recounting days spent and lives lived in this swanky hotel, this book offers a great escape. Highly recommend!

Staff Pick Logo
A Constellation of Vital Phenomena Cover Image
ISBN: 9780770436407
Availability: Special Order
Published: Hogarth - May 7th, 2013

I usually struggle with plots that move back and forth through space and time, but this book flowed unlike any I've ever read.  It is beautifully written and very moving.  You'll also learn a lot about Chechnya.


The Narrow Road to the Deep North Cover Image
ISBN: 9780804171472
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Vintage - April 14th, 2015

Americanah Cover Image
ISBN: 9780307455925
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Anchor Books - March 4th, 2014

Suzy T

Three Things I Like: animals, traveling, and golf 
Currently reading: The Forgetting Time by Sharon Guskin
Staff Pick Logo
The Watch Cover Image
ISBN: 9780307955913
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Hogarth Press - March 12th, 2013

The watch was one of my favorite fiction reads last year.  The story describes a sentinel event for the characters during the Afghan war.  Each chapter tells the same event from a different characters point of view.  My heart raced and pounded as if I were present.


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The Kates!

Join us at The Book Cellar for a night of comedy with our favorite funny ladies, The Kates

The show starts as 7 pm, so be sure to arrive early for seats and drinks!

Event date: 
Saturday, January 27, 2018 - 7:00pm
Event address: 
Events Terms: 

Local Author Night ft. Kevin Theis, Tori Telfer, P.M. White, and Michael Moreci

Our monthly Local Author Night returns featuring Kevin Theis (Invading Nirvana), Tori Telfer (Lady Killers), P.M. White (Buzz Ride), and Michael Moreci (Black Star Renegades).

About Kevin Theis:

Kevin is a Chicago writer, actor and director. His published works include "Confessions of a Transylvanian," written with co-author Ronald Fox (published by Berwick Court Publishing), "Invading Nirvana: a Chicagoan in the City of Angels" (published by Fort Raphael Publishing) and adaptations of both Thomas Heywood's play "The Fair Maid of the West" and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's "The Sign of the Four," the latter of which was written in conjunction with Shanghai Low Theatricals (both published by Dramatic Publishing).

Apart from his writing, Kevin has been an actor on stage and screen in Chicago for over 25 years. He has appeared on stage in the roles of Salieri in "Amadeus," the title role in "Richard III," George in "Of Mice and Men," Edward in "Someone Who'll Watch Over Me" (Jeff Award nomination, Best Actor) and Mr. Lockhart in "The Seafarer" (Jeff Award winner, Best Ensemble).

Kevin is also a director for the stage, having been thrice nominated for Jeff Awards for his direction of his own "Fair Maid of the West," City Lit's production of "Jeeves and the Mating Season," and greasy joan and co.'s "The Mandrake." Kevin has directed over thirty shows in Chicago, including an adaptation of Terry Prachett's "Monstrous Regiment" for Lifeline Theatre, "A Moon for the Misbegotten" for Seanachai Theatre and numerous shows for the Oak Park Festival Theatre.

He has also appeared on television in NBC's "Chicago Fire" and "Chicago PD", Fox's "Empire" and ABC's "Betrayal."

About Invading Nirvana:

Chicago theater veteran Kevin Theis, co-author of the cult classic “Confessions of a Transylvanian: a Story of Sex, Drugs and Rocky Horror,” presents: “Invading Nirvana: a Chicagoan in the City of Angels” the story of one actor’s quixotic odyssey into the heart of the entertainment industry: Hollywood, California.

From the early preparations for his trip to La La Land to his search for representation, his encounters with the famous (and soon-to-be famous) as well as his deep-dive exploration of this unique and fascinating city, “Invading Nirvana” is a must-read for anyone considering moving to L.A. to pursue a dream of breaking into show business.

The author is both candid and unsparing in his description of the industry, the city of Los Angeles and the challenges of being a performer in Hollywood looking for work.  Casting agents, pay-to-meet workshops, the comedy club scene, film and TV auditions as well as a peek inside the audiobook world; every aspect of the entertainment industry is thoroughly examined in this hilarious and comprehensive look at life as a professional actor in Hollywood.

About Tori Telfer:

Tori Telfer graduated magna cum laude from Northwestern University with a Bachelor of Arts in creative writing. She was the recipient of both the Edwin L. Shuman Best Senior Honors Thesis in the English Major in Writing Award and the Edwin L. Shuman Fiction Award; an NU Undergraduate Research Symposium award; the J.G Nolan Scholarship and the Hulda & Maurice Rothschild Endowment for academic excellence; and a membership in Phi Beta Kappa.

After college, she worked in children's publishing and teaching before going freelance. Over her 4+ years of freelance experience, she has written marketing copy for everything from specialty manicure tools to indie theater companies, worked with CEOs and startup founders as the editor-in-chief of Hippo Thinks to help them publish in places like Forbes and Fast Company, edited numerous PhD dissertations, written viral reported pieces, and been featured several times on  She has also done plenty of catering, which she not-so-secretly adores.

Her writing has appeared in  Salon, VICE, Jezebel, The Hairpin, The Awl, GOOD magazine, Chicago Magazine, The Establishment (forthcoming), and elsewhere. (See Clips.) Her screenplay, DETECTIVE IN THE CITY OF BEAUTIFUL WOMEN, was awarded honorable mention in the Table Read My Screenplay contest. She has written, produced, and directed two plays.

Her first book, LADY KILLERS (Harper Perennial), will be released on October 10, 2017. It's a "thrilling character study of the most diabolically complex, fascinating female psychopaths in history." —New York Times bestselling author M. William Phelps, DANGEROUS GROUND: My Friendship with a Serial Killer.

About Lady Killers:
Inspired by author Tori Telfer's Jezebel column “Lady Killers,” this thrilling and entertaining compendium investigates female serial killers and their crimes through the ages.

When you think of serial killers throughout history, the names that come to mind are ones like Jack the Ripper, John Wayne Gacy, and Ted Bundy. But what about Tillie Klimek, Moulay Hassan, Kate Bender? The narrative we’re comfortable with is the one where women are the victims of violent crime, not the perpetrators. In fact, serial killers are thought to be so universally, overwhelmingly male that in 1998, FBI profiler Roy Hazelwood infamously declared in a homicide conference, “There are no female serial killers.”
Lady Killers, based on the popular online series that appeared on Jezebel and The Hairpin, disputes that claim and offers fourteen gruesome examples as evidence. Though largely forgotten by history, female serial killers such as Erzsébet Báthory, Nannie Doss, Mary Ann Cotton, and Darya Nikolayevna Saltykova rival their male counterparts in cunning, cruelty, and appetite for destruction.

Each chapter explores the crimes and history of a different subject, and then proceeds to unpack her legacy and her portrayal in the media, as well as the stereotypes and sexist clichés that inevitably surround her. The first book to examine female serial killers through a feminist lens with a witty and dryly humorous tone, Lady Killers dismisses easy explanations (she was hormonal, she did it for love, a man made her do it) and tired tropes (she was a femme fatale, a black widow, a witch), delving into the complex reality of female aggression and predation. Featuring 14 illustrations from Dame Darcy, Lady Killers is a bloodcurdling, insightful, and irresistible journey into the heart of darkness.

About P.M. White:
Intense, can’t-shake-it curiosity led Pat White (a pseudonym) to drive for Uber after researching his growing interest in ridesharing and other disruptive and “new economy” businesses for an article in a prestigious business journal. Pat’s articles on technology and strategic communication have been published in professional business journals.
Pat began working in 1979 for the Chicago Board Options Exchange before becoming a retail stockbroker for some of Wall Street’s largest firms. In 1996, he received an MBA in management. He went on to work for the business college he graduated from, focusing first on executive education and then serving as director of the university’s for-profit media company, where he showed his skill at rescuing ailing organizations.
The lifelong Chicagoan was president of a technology company owned by a founder of a prestigious leverage buyout/private equity firm on Wall Street before returning to Chicago after an eleven-year hiatus in Indiana. He has managed money for Hollywood celebrities and advised some of Chicago's most influential families and businesses in the areas of turn-around management and strategic business growth.

About Buzz Ride:
Why would a financially-comfortable, fifty-something father of two – with a Mercedes – drive Uber late at night on the toughest streets of Chicago? Pat White (pseudonym), a financial advisor and business strategist, decided to go undercover to research how the disruptive technology of ridesharing affects commerce. Soon his business study warped into a study of humanity . . . and himself. 
This reserved Baby Boomer first had to face his fear of picking up strangers in his own car and driving them to unknown locations. Most were over-privileged, over-served Millennials in route to their next adrenaline rush or wherever they were crashing for the night. Some treated him like he was invisible – making out, arguing, discussing sex and drugs, and lying to lovers on the phone about their whereabouts as if no one else were in the car. Others wished him to partake in their partying or craved his counsel on the most intimate details of their lives. Still others were just looking to pick a fight. Rarer were the tired and the timid: those returning to family after working long hours with hopes of a brighter tomorrow, those fleeing abuse, and those just fleeing a thunderstorm. 
 This summer experiment took White down roads he never imagined he would travel. Soon he found himself embracing danger, longing for the thrill of voyeuristic glimpses into private lives made public, and facing the depths of his shadow personality.
 Come along for the bumpy ride as this sharp-tongued observer shares the always wild, sometimes dark, often humorous, and surprisingly touching side of Chicago nightlife in the smart-phone generation.

About Michael Moreci:

Michael Moreci is the creator of numerous original comics series and has written and collaborated on multiple established properties. His most recent original works, Roche Limit (Image Comics) and Burning Fields (BOOM! Studios), were both recognized by many publications as being among the best comics of 2015. Roche Limit was called the “sci-fi comic you need to read” by Nerdist and io9, and Paste Magazine named it one of the “50 best sci-fi comics” of all time. 
In 2018, Moreci's debut novel, Black Star Renegades, will be released with St. Martin's Press. Drawing inspiration from the space operatics of Star Wars and the swagger of Guardians of the Galaxy, Black Star Renegades is a galaxy-hopping adventure that blasts its way from seedy spacer bars to sacred temples guarded by strange creatures--all with a cast of misfit characters charged with saving the world.
Moreci is also the author of Curse (BOOM! Studios), a modern-day werewolf story, which is in film development with Blumhouse Productions. His crime-noir series, ReincarNATE, has been optioned for television by Patrice Théroux and Buck Productions with David Hayter (writer of the first two X-Men films, as well as the Watchmen adaptation) attached as showrunner. His Image Comics series Hoax Hunters is currently in development for television with Craig Tittley (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.) attached as the showrunner.
A recent graduate of the DC Comics Writer's Program, Moreci has published the Suicide Squad, Green Lantern, Wonder Woman, and Superman stories. He also wrote the in-canon comic series that bridges the gap between Rise of the Planet of the Apes and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. His other licensed property credits include Conan the Barbarian, The Shadow, Army of Darkness, and Robocop.
Moreci is currently writing the novel Spy Swap for Lawrence Gordon Productions, to be published by Tor Books. A film adaptation, written by Jacob Crane and Jonathan Stewart, is currently in development.
Additionally, Moreci also writes for LucasFilm, contributing to, and he is a regular contributor to A Star Wars obsessive, Moreci has released a Star Wars comics anthology the past two years; in total, they've been downloaded over 30,000 times. Moreci has been profiled by USA Today, Nerdist, Comics Alliance/AOL, Comic Book Resources, and the Hollywood Reporter. He lives in Chicago with his wife, two children, and his dog (who looks like Chewbacca on four legs). 

About Black Star Renegades:

In the tradition of Star Wars, a galaxy-hopping space adventure about a galactic kingdom bent on control and the young misfit who must find the power within before it’s too late.

Cade Sura holds the future of the galaxy in his hands: the ultimate weapon that will bring total peace. He didn’t ask for it, he doesn’t want it, and there’s no worse choice to wield it in all of space, but if he doesn’t, everyone’s totally screwed. The evil Praxis kingdom is on the cusp of having every star system under its control, and if that happens, there’ll be no contesting their cruel reign. Especially if its fanatical overlord, Ga Halle, manages to capture Cade and snag the all-powerful weapon for herself.

Cade can’t hide from Praxis, and he can’t run from the destiny that’s been shoved into his hands. So he only has one option:

He has to fight.

Cade’s not going to let destiny send him on a suicide run, though. With some help from his friends—rebels and scoundrels alike—Cade’s going to use this weapon to chart a new destiny for the galaxy, and for himself.

He just has to do so before everyone around him discovers that he’s a complete and total fraud.

Blending the space operatics of Star Wars and the swagger of Guardians of the Galaxy, Black Star Renegades is a galaxy-hopping adventure that blasts its way from seedy spacer bars to sacred temples guarded by deadly creatures—all with a cast of misfit characters who have nowhere to go and nothing to lose.

Event date: 
Wednesday, January 17, 2018 - 7:00pm
Event address: 
The Book Cellar
4736-38 N Lincoln Ave
Chicago, IL 60625
Invading Nirvana: A Chicagoan in the City of Angels Cover Image
ISBN: 9781640079649
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Ft. Raphael Publishing Company - August 11th, 2017

Lady Killers: Deadly Women Throughout History Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062433732
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Harper Perennial - October 10th, 2017

Buzz Ride: Driven to Disruption: Memoirs of an Uber Driver Cover Image
ISBN: 9781893121669
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Lake Claremont Press: A Chicago Joint - August 17th, 2017

Black Star Renegades Cover Image
ISBN: 9781250117847
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: St. Martin's Press - January 2nd, 2018

Events Terms: 

Steven Simoncic, 'Broken Fences'

Playwright Steven Simoncic comes to The Book Cellar for a reading from his recently published play Broken Fences. The evening will feature scenes read by local actors, followed by a discussion of the work.

About Steven Simoncic:
Steven Simoncic’s plays have received productions, readings and workshops at The Goodman, Steppenwolf, Victory Gardens, The Second City, 16 th Street Theatre, Pegasus Players, Stageplays Theatre New York, and Soho Theatre London. Steven’s play, Heat Wave recently received a critically acclaimed production at Steppenwolf’s Garage Rep, and his play Once Upon a Time in Detroit, was recently selected as a semi-finalist for the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center’s National Playwrights Conference. The Space Behind Your Heart was selected as a finalist for the 2017 Heideman Award from the Actors Theatre of Louisville, and Ghost Gardens was a semi-finalist for the 2015 Global Age Project at Aurora Theatre. Broken Fences was selected as a finalist for the 2015 Woodward/Newman Drama Award, and his play, Toxic Donut, won the NAAA Playwriting Festival where it received a workshop production at the Wright Theatre at The London Central School for Dramatics. Steven recently completed critically acclaimed productions of Broken Fences with Ballybeg Productions in New York, 16 th Street Theatre in Chicago and The Road Theatre in LA. The 16 th Street Theatre production was featured in The Chicago Tribune’s annual “Best of Chicago” list. The Road Theatre production of Broken Fences received outstanding reviews, was recommended by the LA Examiner, and a was rated a “Top Rated play in LA” by Theatre in LA, and a “Top 10 Production in Los Angeles” by Stage Raw. In 2018, Broken Fences will be produced by The Detroit Repertory Theatre as part of their 61 st season.
Steven was recently nominated for a Pushcart prize, the Arts & Letters Susan Atefat Prize, and has won an Emmy for short form comedy. Steven was selected as a featured writer for RIPPED, a short play series co-produced by American Blues Theatre and the University of Chicago, and his play Words With C, was selected as a finalist for Play Lab at the 22 nd Annual Last Frontier Theatre Festival.
Steven is a resident artist at The Purple Rose Theatre, an alumni resident playwright at Chicago Dramatists Theatre and Writer in Residence at Pegasus Theatre Chicago, and 16 th Street Theatre. His plays and fiction have appeared in The Chicago Reader, Hippocampus Magazine, Conclave, New Millennium Writings, Spork Magazine, Ampersand and Drift Magazine. Steven’s work of creative non-fiction, “I Like You” was selected as one of the notable American Essays of 2015 by Robert Atwan in the 2016 Best American Essays anthology.
Steven holds BBA from the University of Michigan, an MFA from WarrenWilson and an MLA from the University of Chicago.

About Broken Fences:
In a neighborhood on Chicago's deep West Side, the momentum of gentrification has taken hold and things have begun to change forever.  As property taxes rise and demographics shift, Hoody and D struggle to keep the only home they have ever known.  But when April and Czar -- a white couple intent on starting a family -- buy their first home and move in next door, the very definition of home is called into question.  With unflinching honesty and unapologetic humor, "Broken Fences" examines identity and invisibility, community and security, hope and hostility in a modern American urban village that is at once foreign, and the place these characters call home.


Event date: 
Thursday, January 18, 2018 - 7:00pm
Event address: 
The Book Cellar
4736-38 N Lincoln Ave
Chicago, IL 60625
Events Terms: 

Corbin Reiff, 'Lighters in the Sky'

What's your all time favorite concet? Corbin Reiff may disagree. Come share yours as he discusses his new book Lighters in the Sky: The All-Time Greatest Concerts, 1960–2016.

About Corbin Reiff:
Corbin Reiff is the author of Lighters In The Sky: The Greatest Concert Of All-Time 1960-2016. He is currently the Deputy Music Editor at UPROXX and has contributed to some of the biggest publications around including, Rolling Stone, Spin, The Washington Post, Pitchfork, Complex, Guitar World, and The A.V. Club to name a few. He lives in Chicago with his wife Jenna and his two dogs Page and Hendrix.

About Lighters in the Sky:
Live. In the age of the studio and digital downloads, that four-letter word stands as the true test of the performer’s talent and the fan’s commitment.

The true greats deliver in concert, and every once in a while they deliver with a sound and fury that rings through the ages. James Brown at the Apollo. Led Zeppelin at Earl’s Court. Nirvana at Reading. The night Tupac, Biggie and Big Daddy Kane found a stage big enough to share at Madison Square Garden. Radiohead at Glastonbury. Some shows crystallize a particular moment in a great performer’s career, like Bowie’s farewell to Ziggy Stardust at the Hammersmith and Prince’s epic set at the Forum at the height of his purple reign. Some—the original Woodstock, The Last Waltz, Lollapalooza ’91 and Coachella ’99—define an era.

The live moment can be hard to capture with a microphone or a camera, let alone on the page. In veteran music writer Corbin Reiff’s deep dive through decades of epic gigs—often including interviews with the participants—he brings these concerts crackling back to life with revealing and lost details about what it was like on the stage and in the hall. Here are the cultural contexts, the backstage dramas, the split-second artistic decisions and the technical details behind the best shows of our amplified age. Year by year, concert by concert, this is a book that’s loud and guaranteed to start an argument.

Event date: 
Friday, January 19, 2018 - 7:00pm
Event address: 
The Book Cellar
4736-38 N Lincoln Ave
Chicago, IL 60625
Lighters in the Sky: The All-Time Greatest Concerts, 1960-2016 Cover Image
ISBN: 9781944713188
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Lesser Gods - October 10th, 2017

Events Terms: 

Ron Aronson, 'We: Reviving Social Hope'

Feeling a little pessemistic about politics? Come get inspired! The Book Cellar is excited to host Ron Aronson and his empowering new book, We: Reviving Social Hope.

Abour Ron Aronson:

 Ronald Aronson grew up in Detroit and was educated at Wayne State University, U.C.L.A., the University of Michigan, and Brandeis University, where he earned a Ph.D. in the History of Ideas. He studied with William Barrett, Page Smith, and Herbert Marcuse. Swept up in the political activism of the 1960s, he became a community organizer in the African American neighborhood of New Brunswick, New Jersey, and an editor of the prominent New Left journal, Studies on the Left. In spring, 1968, as he was completing a doctoral dissertation on “Art and Freedom in the Philosophy of Jean-Paul Sartre,” he participated in the “Freedom School” organized in the aftermath of the student strike at Columbia University.

           Aronson has taught at Wayne State University since 1968, first at Monteith College, and since 1978 in the Department of Interdisciplinary Studies, a nationally recognized program for working adults that was abolished by the WSU Board of Governors in 2007. He is now Distinguished Professor of the History of Ideas in the Department of History. Winner of several scholarly and teaching awards at Wayne State, Aronson is the past president of its Academy of Scholars.

          He was Visiting Professor of Philosophy at DePaul University in Chicago in winter, 2004.  In 1983-4, he was Research Associate at University College London and in 1987 and again in 1990, a guest lecturer at the University of Natal and other South African universities.  The story of his first experience in South Africa, at the height of the struggle to end apartheid, is told in Stay Out of Politics: A Philosopher Views South Africa (Chicago, 1990). In recognition of his scholarly career and political contributions to South Africa, in April, 2002, he was awarded the honorary degree of Doctor of Laws by the University of Natal, Durban, South Africa.

           Author or editor of nine books, Aronson is an internationally recognized authority on Jean-Paul Sartre.  He has focused above all on the process of Sartre’s transformation to a political thinker and activist. He has been Chair of the Sartre Society of North America and founding editor of the journal Sartre Studies International. With support by the National Endowment for the Humanities in 1980 he published Jean-Paul Sartre - Philosophy in the World (Verso); the American Council of Learned Societies supported research for his Sartre’s Second Critique (University of Chicago Press, 1987).

          Aronson’s latest book is Living Without God: New Directions for Atheists, Agnostics, Secularists, and the Undecided (Counterpoint, September, 2008).  Other recent books include Camus & Sartre: The Story of a Friendship and the Quarrel that Ended It (Chicago, 2004) and After Marxism (Guilford, 1995).  He has published articles in The Nation, Bookforum, The Yale Review, The Chronicle of Higher Education, The Washington Post, The International Herald-Tribune, The Toronto Star, The (London) Times Higher Education Supplement, and The (London) Times Literary Supplement.

          Aronson has produced televised political debates on democratic values and affirmative action (participants have included Cornel West, Barbara Ehrenreich, Abigail Thernstrom, David Frum, and Dinesh D’Souza) He is co-producer of the feature-length documentary film Professional Revolutionary about legendary Detroit social and political activist Saul Wellman and, most recently, 1st Amendment on Trial: The Case of the Detroit Six, focused on the Federal government's trial of Michigan Communist Party leaders in the '50s.

          One of Aronson’s lifelong concerns has been to study and write about the nature of hope, especially as related to political commitment. Since the beginning of the invasion of Iraq, he has been active in the Huntington Woods (MI) Peace, Citizenship, and Education Project.

About We: Reviving Social Hope:
The election of Donald Trump has exposed American society’s profound crisis of hope. By 2016 a generation of shrinking employment, rising inequality, the attack on public education, and the shredding of the social safety net, had set the stage for stunning insurgencies at opposite ends of the political spectrum. Against this dire background, Ronald Aronson offers an answer. He argues for a unique conception of social hope, one with the power for understanding and acting upon the present situation. Hope, he argues, is far more than a mood or feeling—it is the very basis of social will and political action. It is this kind of hope that Aronson sees brewing in the supporters of Bernie Sanders, who advocated the tough-minded and inspired disposition to act collectively to make the world more equal, more democratic, more peaceful, and more just.  And it was directly contrasted by Trump’s supporters who showed a cynical and nostalgic faith in an authoritarian strongman replete with bigotry and misogyny. 
Beneath today’s crisis Aronson examines our heartbreaking story: a century of catastrophic violence and the bewildering ambiguity of progress—all of which have contributed to the evaporation of social hope. As he shows, we are now in a time when hope is increasingly privatized, when—despite all the ways we are connected to each other—we are desperately alone, struggling to weather the maelstrom around us, demoralized by the cynicism that permeates our culture and politics, and burdened with finding personal solutions to social problems.
Yet, Aronson argues, even at a time when false hopes are rife, social hope still persists. Carefully exploring what we mean when we say we “hope” and teasing hope apart from its dangerously misconstrued sibling, “progress,” he locates seeds of real change. He argues that always underlying our experience—even if we completely ignore it—is the fact of our social belonging, and that this can be reactivated into a powerful collective force, an active we. He looks to various political movements, from the massive collective force of environmentalists to the movements around Sanders and Jeremy Corbyn, as powerful examples of socially energized, politically determined, and actionably engaged forms of hope. Even in this age of Donald Trump, the result is an illuminating and inspiring call that anyone can clearly hear: we can still create a better future for everyone, but only if we resist false hopes and act together.

Event date: 
Saturday, January 20, 2018 - 6:00pm
Event address: 
The Book Cellar
4736-38 N Lincoln Ave
Chicago, IL 60625
We: Reviving Social Hope Cover Image
ISBN: 9780226334660
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: University of Chicago Press - April 26th, 2017

Events Terms: 

Tom Weinberg, 'Chasing the Lost City'

Four- time Emmy Award winner, a well-known Chicago pioneer in the documentary and TV film world Tom Weinberg comes to The Book Cellar with his newest immersive book, Chasing the Lost City: My Chronicles of Discovery in Honduras. If you loved Lost City of the Monkey God, come learn about the expedition from a whole new angle.

About Tom Weinberg:
Author and video/TV pioneer documentary producer Tom Weinberg has penned this personal account of a 20-year journey to discovery.
​He is a fourth generation Chicagoan who started as a print journalist and became an out-of-the-mainstream producer of more than 500 nonfiction TV shows.
​His credits include the breakthrough national PBS series THE 90’s, Image Union a public TV staple for 30 years, and more than a dozen documentaries.  He has won four Emmy awards and taught college courses for 13 years.
 His text about media and documentaries has been used by several university professors.  He founded and is Board Chair of the Media Burn Independent Video Archive which contains more that 8,000 nonfiction videos, 3,000 of which are available free online at As of September, 2017, the site’s videos had more than 17 million page views from 200 countries.
 He writes a monthly personal blog PY-O-MY Letter/Weinberg House Organ, founded in 1952 by his father which Tom revived in 2013.

About Chasing the Lost City: My Chronicles of Discovery in Honduras:

The story traces the 20-year quixotic obsession of a few guys that blossomed into a world-renowned scientific, historical and archaeological breakthrough. Pals since the 1970s,  Weinberg and expedition leader Steve Elkins and his expert team 
uncover incontrovertible evidence of a previously unknown civilization.
It includes the author’s private journals written in Honduras, plus more than 180 photographs and Weinberg’s deep reflections on his “Adventure of a Lifetime.”
 The reader is brought into the world of the discoverers, complete with dangerous snakes and insects, gorgeous untouched beauty, exhilaration and a rare disease that came with the discovery.
It’s a great read and the pictorial and personal companion to the 2017 New York Times #1 bestseller, Lost City of the Monkey God: A True Story by Douglas Preston (Grand Central, 2017.) Preston calls Weinberg “The Official Chronicler” who wrote on his laptop in impenetrable Mosquitia Jungle. Chasing The Lost City: Chronicles of Discovery in Honduras sparkles with the insights and foibles of a first-time explorer with pithy, sometimes self-deprecating and brutally honest reflections. The compelling images, many of which are video still frames from an upcoming major documentary, have been beautifully orchestrated by award winning designer Elan Soltes. As the stunning photographs prove, this tiny spot in the Mosquitia Jungle of Honduras is a rugged, pristine,frightening, and almost sacred place.

Event date: 
Thursday, January 25, 2018 - 7:00pm
Event address: 
The Book Cellar
4736-38 N Lincoln Ave
Chicago, IL 60625
Events Terms: 
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