The Book Cellar
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You should not be surprised to learn that these women (some of our very favorite women!) who write such great books also read great books. Their summer reading lists have everything you need to while away the warmer hours (and a few to look forward to as winter looms again).
Stacy Ballis's Picks
Amy Hatvany's Picks
Jen Lancaster's Picks
Three things I like: succulent gardens, exploitative reality TV shows, and making lists of threes.
Currently reading: Empire of the Summer Moon, by S C Gwynne.
Three things I like: music festivals, Hot Tamales, and any movie starring John Cusack.
Currently reading: Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us by Michael Moss
We are excited to welcome poets from the anthology St. Peter's B-List: Contemporary Poems Inspired by the Saints to the Book Cellar to read excerpts of their work.
Alessandra Simmons is a writer and editor, currently working for a fundraising consulting firm in Chicago. She holds her MFA in Creative Writing from Indiana University. While at IU, she was the editor of Indiana Review. Her current obsessions are saints, sweeping, succulents & podcasts.
Wendy Vardaman has a Ph.D. in English from University of Pennsylvania and a B.S. in Engineering from Cornell University. Co-editor and webmaster of Verse Wisconsin and co-founder/editor and webmaster of Cowfeather Press, her poems, reviews, and interviews have appeared online and in a variety of anthologies and journals.
Naoko Fujimoto was born in Nagoya, Japan. She is a poet, artist, and occasionally a pianist. Her current favorite word is “spatula” - she found seventeen spatulas in her apartment; none of them are from her purchase— but she is not an admitted spatula collector or detective of all seventeen spatulas.
Kristy Odelius is a poet and professor living in Chicago, Illinois. She teaches creative writing and literature at North Park University, where she is an Assistant Professor in the English department. She is a co-editor and co-founder of Near South, a Chicago-based journal of innovative writing. Last November, her poem "Vertigo to Eros" was nominated for a 2003 Pushcart Prize, and she recently received the 2004 Charles Goodnow Memorial Award in Poetry.
Timothy Yu was born and raised in the suburbs of Chicago. He earned his BA at Harvard and a PhD at Stanford University. Yu’s scholarly and creative work explores the intersections of race and avant-garde writing traditions.
In Going On Nine, On a sweltering St. Louis afternoon, a child swipes her mother's ring, snatches her sister's nightgown, and runs outside to play "bride." She promptly loses the ring, rips the gown, assumes it’s about to rain daggers, and runs away from home to find a 'better' family than her own wonderful family. What happens next is a summer-long journey around her deceptively sleepy neighborhood, a full-circle quest in which Grace Townsend travels on foot and by horseback, rides shotgun in a shiny new Plymouth Belvedere, hunkers in the back of a rattletrap vegetable truck, crawls into a crumbling tunnel, treks out to a fire in the hinterlands, explores the closet of a prom queen, keeps vigil in the bedroom of a molestation victim, and helps tame a killer dog. Told in the unique voice of an eight-year-old girl and, in wise hindsight by the woman she becomes, Going on Nine is steeped with a sense of place and of a time gone by. Nostalgic but not cloying, each chapter introduces another family in a turning-point situation, reason enough why Grace remembers the summer of 1956 for the rest of her life, and why adults and older YA readers will love Going on Nine.
Catherine Underhill Fitzpatrick grew up in the 1950s and 1960s in suburban St. Louis. After graduating from the University of Missouri School of Journalism, she worked as a staff feature writer in Hannibal, St. Louis, and Milwaukee. In September of 2001, Catherine was in Manhattan to cover New York Fashion Week. At first word of the terrorist attacks, she rushed toward Ground Zero and filed award-winning eyewitness reports that are memorialized in Washington DC’s Newseum and the State Historical Society of Missouri archives. Catherine’s articles, stories, and essays have appeared in The Vocabula Review, Prick of the Spindle, Sew News, Fan Story, Yesterday’s Magazette and Reminisce Magazine. Her debut novel, A Matter of Happenstance, is a four-generation family saga that explores the power of personal character over coincidence. Catherine is a board member of the Chicago-area TallGrass Writers Guild.
Our favorite all-female comedy group The Kates revisit the Book Cellar for a night of comedy! Arrive early for seats and drinks.