Chicago's Independent Bookstore Day!

Mark your calendars for July 12, and help us celebrate Chicago's first annual Independent Bookstore Day! Find all details here. 

The Witty Women Summer Reading List

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

 Sarah Pekkanen

 

Alena

Three things I like: Russians, boxing, and traveling.  
 
Currently reading: The Collected Works of Billy the Kid, Michael Ondaatje 
 
 

Dispatches (Paperback)

$15.00
ISBN-13: 9780679735250
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 days
Published: Vintage, 8/1991

Easily my favorite book ever.

I've read it nine times (and counting) and I still, when reading it fresh, find new meaning, new depth, new genius in Herr's prose. A beautiful book written by a beautiful person will open your eyes to the beautiful nature of human nature and the beautiful dualistic nature of war.


$17.00
ISBN-13: 9780312243357
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 days
Published: Picador, 9/1999
A staggeringly good piece of journalism that delves into, not only the intricate history of the Rwandan Genocide, not only what it means to have survived, but also the complexity of what it means to have been complicit in its undertaking. Moving, insightful, important!

$14.00
ISBN-13: 9780679760801
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 days
Published: Vintage, 3/1996

How can I really explain this book other than to say that after finishing it, I felt lonesome for it, as if it were a good friend who had departed suddenly and has no set return date.  But after I remembered that I was lonely for a book (and almost immediately snapped out of it) I realized that I had unwittingly stumbled upon one of the bravest, funniest, most honest books of the 20th century.  READ THIS BOOK!  If the devil coming to the Soviet Union to throw a dinner party doesn't interest you, what will?

 -Alena- 


Bec

Three things I like: hot plates of food, mountains, and androgynous vocals. 

Currently Reading: Tolerance Trap by Suzanna Danuta Walters  

$17.00
ISBN-13: 9780316199988
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 days
Published: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 4/2014

This is a tale about an imaginary friend waiting to be imagined by a child. It's an adorable story about finding your place in the world & making friendships that fit you you are.

--Bec 


$7.95
ISBN-13: 9780618492398
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 days
Published: Mariner Books, 8/2004

This story is about the "green and crazy summer" during which 12 year old Frankie "belonged to no club" and "hung around in doorways." I usually love stories with child protagonists and McCullers depicts the end of childhood so well.

Also, the descriptions of summer are so vivid that I always feel like it's summer, no matter what the weather's like.

--Bec 


Batwoman: Elegy (Paperback)

$17.99
ISBN-13: 9781401231460
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 days
Published: DC Comics, 6/2011

I love staring at the art in this series. I think I actually got tangled up once in Batwoman's hair just by reading this. The storyline and characters are well developed, and this is a great book to introduce the series. 

--Bec 


$15.95
ISBN-13: 9780544002234
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 days
Published: Mariner Books, 4/2013

This memoir is in the form of a graphic novel and is beautifully illustrated in shades of red and grey. Bechdel uses classic literature, psychological studies, and her own keen insight to explore and better understand her relationship with her mother, and, in the process, better understand herself.

--Bec

P.S. Bechdel's Fun Home is also amazing!


Claire

 

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.  

Einstein's Dreams (Paperback)

$14.95
ISBN-13: 9781400077809
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 days
Published: Vintage, 11/2004

Lightman explores differenent ideas of "time" in the most lovely book. Reading this book feels like a dream upon waking-- hard to remember and packed with strange and beautiful things.

--Claire 


$21.50
ISBN-13: 9780743236720
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 days
Published: Scribner, 10/2013

Andrew Solomon investigates horizontal identities. This book is for anone not a carbon-copy of their parents (so, everyone). Nonfiction that reads like literature-- often heartbreaking, always illuminating!

--Claire 


$17.00
ISBN-13: 9780143038580
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 days
Published: Penguin Books, 9/2007

I read this book maybe annually and then am unable to eat anything (animal or vegetable) guilt-free for the next 6 months--until I forget it all, and eat everything in happy forgetful ignorance.  But really, read this book.  It makes me wish i had a garden.

-Claire- 


Danielle

 
Three things I like: soccer, swords, and sandwiches. 
 
Currently reading: Twistrose Key by Tone Almhjell
$9.99
ISBN-13: 9781442426412
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 days
Published: Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 12/2010

This AMAZING series is what made me fall in love with books! It's the story of a girl who disguises herself as a boy in order to follow her dreams and become a knight. These books are packed with action, adventure, the drive to overcome adversity, and just the right amount of MAGIC!!

--Danielle 


Steelheart (Hardcover)

$18.99
ISBN-13: 9780385743563
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 days
Published: Delacorte Press, 9/2013

A world full of superpowers, but no heroes... Set in a post-apocalyptic Chicago, the city is ruled by the most notorious and powerful Epic (as the superpowered are known), Steelheart. One ordinary boy, David, has a plan to take down Steelheart and stop the Epics' reign over humanity. This is an action-packed ride that grabs you from the start, keeps you guessing, and leaves you wanting more.

--Danielle 


Rush (Hardcover)

$17.99
ISBN-13: 9780062192134
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 days
Published: Katherine Tegen Books, 6/2013

The Game:  Book One is a well written sci-fi-esque young adult novel.  It's a fast paced action packed story with description that will pull you in and leave you wanting more.  I would love to give a detailed synopsis of the story line but it would ruin half of the fun of reading the book.  While it's not necessarily post apocalyptic, fans of the genre will love it!  This book will keep you guessing until the very end and you won't be disappointed.

 -Danielle- 


Derek

 

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

 

 

$16.00
ISBN-13: 9781594631771
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 days
Published: Riverhead Trade, 9/2013

Here are nine stories that will remind you of the power of love-- not in the schmaltzy sense, but in love's serrated edges, its senseless typhoon fury, its ability to bend us against our will, coerce us into stupid, irrational behavior in exchange for those fleeting moments of ecstasy. Diaz's voice is utterly inimitable as Yunior, a young Dominican American with the heart of Casanova but the moral compass of a sandwich. These crass, unfiltered stories will bring memories of your first love surging back, that'll make your stomach churn with thoughts of what might have been-- had you not ruined things by being so pathetically typically human.

--Derek 


$17.00
ISBN-13: 9780143116936
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 days
Published: Penguin Books, 6/2010

David Foster Wallace's first novel (conceived as an undergrad thesis) is a typhoon of ideas about language, identity, and purpose bound to make any fiction you read thereafter take on dimensions of meaning you'd never considered. It's the semi-autobiographical story of Lenore Beadsman, a 24 year old switchboard operator who feels that her life has no real meaning beyond what she says and does, and that even those things seem entirely beyond her control. This blueprint for Infinite Jest has mystery, slapstick, philosophy, and some of the most acutely perceptive and laugh-out-loud dialogue I've ever read. Like everything Wallace has written, it reminds you just how miraculous language is. "The world is words."

--Derek 


The Blue Fox (Paperback)

$10.00
ISBN-13: 9780374114459
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 days
Published: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 4/2013

In 19th century Iceland, Reverend Baldur Skuggason hunts a mystical blue fox for reasons unknown, lured deep into the frozen tundra by his shape shifting quarry. Elsewhere, herbalist Fridrick Fridjonsson reflects on the fortuitous seris of events that led him back to Iceland and eventually to a young woman with Down Syndrome named Abba. Fridrick’s story begins on the evening of Abba’s funeral, winding steadily into the past, when Abba was discovered shackled and terrified in the holds of an abandoned shipwreck. Sjón weaves these anecdotes in and out of one another with remarkable finesse, trusting his readers with disparate elements until they seamlessly unite in the final pages.


$14.95
ISBN-13: 9780618711659
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 days
Published: Mariner Books, 4/2006

Ostensibly, this is the story of Oscar Schell, a unique boy looking for an unseen truth after his father is killed during the September 11 attacks. His journey begins when, inside his father's closet, he finds a vase. Inside the vase he finds and envelope. Inside the envelope he finds a key, a key to a lock somewhere in NYC. The pure energy of Foer's prose, along with a refreshing postmodern style of storytelling, make this an instant favorite of mine. 

--Derek 


Joyland (Paperback)

$12.95
ISBN-13: 9781781162644
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 days
Published: Hard Case Crime, 6/2013

In the early 2000's, after he was struck and nearly killed by a van, Stephan King announced he would retire from writing. A decade later, he's written three story collections, six e-book shorts, and over a dozen novels.  The man just can't stop.  And as long as he keeps writing books, I'll be glad to read them.  His newest, Joyland, is a meditation on adolescence, heartbreak, love found and lost, the thrill of summer, and how time ultimately takes all.  It's vintage King, and it's great.

-Derek- 


Heather

  

Three things I like: red meat, Nintendo, my bed .

Currently Reading:  Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell

 

$15.95
ISBN-13: 9780679728757
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 days
Published: Vintage, 5/1992

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.

-Heather- 


Jon

 
Three things I like:  all things spicy, all things tiny, crossword puzzles over coffee.
 
 

Airships (Paperback)

$14.00
ISBN-13: 9780802133885
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 days
Published: Grove Press, 3/1994

The south has rarely been portrayed with such tenderness, violence and humor as in the works of Barry Hannah.  "Airships", Hannah's first collection of stories, stands out as some of his funniest.  From the Civil War to the Vietnam War; from teenagers fighting in a cemetery to old men making up stories by the lake--Hannah captures a brief history of the South in all its grit and glory.

-Jon- 


Karrie

 

Three things I like: scuba diving, Indian food, and Moroccan Riads.

Currently reading: The Circle, by Dave Eggers 

Q: A Novel (Paperback)

$13.99
ISBN-13: 9780062015839
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 days
Published: William Morrow Paperbacks, 8/2011

I chose this book because I was in the mood for a love story, but I was pleasantly surprised to find much more. This novel is an intelligently written and engrossing take on time travel and the dilemna of choice-making. Mandery explores the possibility of controlling the outcome of your life while still maintaining purpose. Worth a read!

--Karrie 


$26.00
ISBN-13: 9780770436407
Availability: Special Order - Subject to Availability
Published: Hogarth, 5/2013

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.

-Karrie- 


Peter

Three things I like: magic, whimsy, and sports. 

Currently reading: Dr. Bloodmoney by Philip K. Dick

Raising Steam (Hardcover)

$26.95
ISBN-13: 9780385538268
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 days
Published: Doubleday, 3/2014

You would think that a series would risk going stale after 39 titles (particularly when the author has been diagnosed with Alzheimer's), but you'd be wrong. The 40th entry in Pratchett's Discworld is as good as it gets. 

See me with any Discworld queries.

--Pete 


$27.00
ISBN-13: 9781455521586
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 days
Published: Grand Central Publishing, 9/2013
Not just a fascinating account of Moyer's extraordiary career, but also a glimpse into pitching itself; and what it takes to win in the Big Leagues with a 49 year old fastball.

Ready Player One (Paperback)

$14.00
ISBN-13: 9780307887443
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 days
Published: Broadway Books, 4/2012

Hey, remember the 80s? 

In the early 2040s, the more you know your 1980s pop culture, the better your chances are of becoming a billionaire. James Halliday, product of the garish decade, earned a vast fortune by revolutionizing the web into the OASIS-- a virtual reality universe. Now, Halliday has died and left behind no family and no heir-- just a winner-take-all scavenger hunt inside his OASIS which transforms a generation into obscure 80s pop culture reference scholars.

Fun even for non-80s Geeks.

--Peter 


Riley

Three things I like:  eggs, hiphop, and frisbee.
 
Currently reading: Red or Dead by David Peace
 
 
$15.00
ISBN-13: 9780143123262
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 days
Published: Penguin Books, 3/2014

Bolaño, Poe, and Kafka chained naked to a wall in a hole. There is no light. They are being tortured. Instead of confessions, their tormentors demand stories. The tales they scream from the darkness resemble those in The Corpse Exhibition.

Hassan Blasim's stories sound the depths of human misery and evil (much deeper than you thought), probe the transient line between Magic and Madness, and ask "can Literature really save anything?" I read these stories with dread and wonder. I want to say they're ultimately hopeful.

There is no hope, but I think, maybe, there is Art.

--Riley 


Warlock (Paperback)

$16.95
ISBN-13: 9781590171615
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 days
Published: NYRB Classics, 11/2005

Well now, this Oakley Hall feller's gone n writ himself a dang good book! I tell ya, Warlock sucked me in like a deep patch of mud sucks up yer boot. It's got heroes n guns n workin men n frontiers men all workin out-- well, tryin ta work out-- them big questions long troublin this here country of ours.

 


$24.00
ISBN-13: 9781555976514
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 days
Published: Graywolf Press, 9/2013

Sooo you've read Tenth of December, and now you need something to fill that void.

Ok. I present to you Kevin Barry, in my opinion, one of the most exciting new writers working in the English langauge. In Dark Lies the Island, Barry, like Saunders, probes the mundanity of everyday life-- peeling away the facades we so carefully build to feign normalcy and revealing uncomfortable, often painful, realities of "normal life," or, sometimes, glimmers of hope where there seemed only darkness. He is a writer to watch.

 


$14.99
ISBN-13: 9780062041289
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 days
Published: Ecco, 2/2012

Eli and Charlie Sisters kill people. They are very good. But Eli is having something of a mid-life crisis; just because you're good at something, does that mean you're meant to do it? 

Patrick deWitt's novel has everything you could ask of a Western-- wit, violence, treasure. The only trouble is, it moves so fast, it's easy to overlook the fact deWitt is doing some pretty big things, too.

 


The Black Book (Paperback)

$15.95
ISBN-13: 9781400078653
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 days
Published: Vintage, 7/2006

 

Anyone who cares about, or thinks about, Art or Literature will find in Black Book a profound and lyrical love letter. But it's also about love and coping and lines--the lines between individuals (is there such a thing?), between Truth and story, between writer, reader, narrator, character--or the dissolving of lines. When you finish, you will feel as though you've undergone some strange mitosis and meiosis, dividing and reassembling with some unexpected pieces.

 


Sky

Three things I like: Derrick Rose's crossover, heist-related film and literature, and the Red Dead Redemption soundtrack.

Currently Reading: Galveston by Nic Pizzolatto Burning Down the House by Charles BaxterThe King in Yellow by Robert Chambers, Correction by Thomas Bernhard

$15.00
ISBN-13: 9780307279415
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 days
Published: Vintage, 5/2013

The single most useful book on writing I've ever read and I've read an embarrassing number of them.

--Sky 


Dr. Bloodmoney (Paperback)

$13.95
ISBN-13: 9780547572529
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 days
Published: Mariner Books, 10/2012

Mariner Books has done its civic duty by reissuing PKD's entire archive in beautiful editions and giving second life to a few of his more obscure titles. Imagined as an unofficial sequel to Dr. Strangelove, Dr. Bloodmoney's post-bomb America is a toxic country populated by a human race deeply effected both emotionally and genetically by fallout. Centered around the man responsible for the planet-wide catastrophe, Dr. Bloodmoney himself, the novel terrified me in a way all great sci-fi should: because the world feels all too real. Also, Roberto Bolaño called it a "masterpiece," so that's something.

--Sky 


The Luminaries (Hardcover)

$27.00
ISBN-13: 9780316074315
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 days
Published: Little, Brown and Company, 10/2013
Just fun, excellent storytelling. The scope and structure of the plot is amazingly executed. At 28 years old, Catton understands things about fiction that most contemporary writers can only gesture towards. Back when I read her debut novel, I knew she was good, but I didn't know she was this good. She makes all other working writers look lazy as hell.

$15.95
ISBN-13: 9780307947512
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 days
Published: Vintage, 6/2013

I have complicated feelings about Dave Eggers. A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius was important to me in my early 20s, and was a gateway to larger literary drugs, but he's become a symbol of an overexposed literary movement. BUT, with A Hologram for the King, he has matured into a damn fine storyteller. The language reflects his influences (think a flowery Hemingway and a hopeful Beckett), the structure is gently complex, and even though nothing really happens (which is kinda the point) the plot clicks along at a strangely quick pace. Dave Eggers is a relevant fiction writer again and accomplishes what Franzen only promises.

 --Sky 


$14.95
ISBN-13: 9780393320039
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 days
Published: W. W. Norton & Company, 10/1999

So, you wanna be a novelist, huh? Well, this is pretty much required reading for you then. If you're looking for all the magic answers they will not be found in this book. Gardner offers wisdom, honesty, and spiritual instruction to the young writer full of self-doubt. Garnder doesn't sugar coat the writing life and tells you all the things you needed to hear but were too afraid to admit to yourself. The truth you learn from Gardner will discourage you at first but like all great truths, it will lift you up.

-Sky- 


Suzy T

Three things I like:  animals, traveling, golf 
 
 
 
 

The Watch (Paperback)

$15.00
ISBN-13: 9780307955913
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 days
Published: Hogarth, 3/2013

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.

-Suzy- 


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Celebrate with us July 12!



Indie Next List

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  • The Kates!!!

    07/11/2014 8:00 pm
    America/Chicago

    The Kates drop by for a night of comedy!  Get here early to get seats and drinks.

     

    Location: 
    Street:
    4736-38 N Lincoln Ave
    City:
    Chicago
    ,
    Province:
    Illinois
    Postal Code:
    60625
    Country:
    United States
  • Chicago Independent Bookstore Day

    07/12/2014
    America/Chicago
     
     
    Drop by the independent bookstores of Chicago for special give-aways and puzzle pieces!  Complete the puzzle for a collectable art piece by local graphic artist Lilli Carré.

    PARTICIPATING BOOKSTORES INCLUDE:
    • 57th Street Books (Hyde Park)
    • Seminary Coop (Hyde Park)
    • US! The Book Cellar (Lincoln Square)
    • City Lit Books (Logan Square)
    • Open Books (River North)
    • Powell's Bookstore (University Village)
    • Sandmeyer's (Printer's Row)
    • Unabridged Books (Lakeview)
    • Women & Children First (Andersonville)
     
    ** email chicagobookstoreday@gmail.com or visit chicagobookstoreday.com for details! **

    Location: 
    Street:
    4736-38 N Lincoln Ave
    City:
    Chicago
    ,
    Province:
    Illinois
    Postal Code:
    60625
    Country:
    United States
  • Nina Sankovitch, "Signed, Sealed, Delivered: Celebrating the Joys of Letter Writing"

    07/16/2014 7:00 pm
    America/Chicago

    Nina Sankovitch drops by the Book Cellar to read from her new book, Signed, Sealed, Delivered: Celebrating the Joys of Letter Writing.

    Nina's first book, Tolstoy and the Purple Chair, about the joys and therapeutic benefits of reading, was published in 2011.  Tolstoy and the Purple Chair was hailed as “an outstanding debut” by Kirkus Reviews and designated a “book to read now” by Oprah.

    $24.95
    ISBN-13: 9781451687156
    Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 days
    Published: Simon & Schuster, 4/2014

    Location: 
    Street:
    4736-38 N Lincoln Ave
    City:
    Chicago
    ,
    Province:
    Illinois
    Postal Code:
    60625
    Country:
    United States
  • James Browning, "The Fracking King"

    07/17/2014 7:00 pm
    America/Chicago
     
    James Browning stops by the Book Cellar to read from his new book, The Fracking King.
     
     
    James is a spokesman and chief strategist for Common Cause and has appeared on NPR and MSNBC to talk about fracking and other environmental issues. His essays have been published in The Believer and The Village Voice.
     
    The Fracking King is very much informed by his position as a spokesman and chief strategist for Common Cause, and his interest in the fracking industry. The Fracking King follows Winston Crwth – a boarding school kid, a loner, a scrabble prodigy – who becomes an unlikely hero in the fight to stop fracking in Pennsylvania. When he and his friends discover the effects of fracking when the water from their bathroom sink lights on fire, they hatch a plan to win a scrabble tournament and meet the governor of Pennsylvania and expose the dangerous consequences. This is a new kind of environmental novel, that is playful and profound, and also about the power of believing in yourself and pursuing your own particular genius.

    The Fracking King (Hardcover)

    $23.00
    ISBN-13: 9780544262997
    Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 days
    Published: New Harvest, 7/2014

    Location: 
    Street:
    4736-38 N Lincoln Ave
    City:
    Chicago
    ,
    Province:
    Illinois
    Postal Code:
    60625
    Country:
    United States
  • Launch Party: Lori Rader-Day, "The Black Hour"

    07/19/2014 7:00 pm
    America/Chicago
     We're excited to have Lori Rader-Day revisit the Book Cellar to launch her new book, The Black Hour!
     
    Her fiction has been previously published or is forthcoming in Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, TimeOut Chicago, Crab Orchard Review, Freight Stories, and in the anthology Dia de los Muertos (Elektrik Milkbath Press). Bestselling author Jodi Picoult chose her story as the grand prize winner of Good Housekeeping’s first fiction contest.
     
    Originally from central Indiana, she grew up frequenting the local libraries, reading all the Judy Blume and Lois Duncan she could get her hands on.
     
    She studied journalism at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana, but eventually gave in to her dream and studied creative writing at Roosevelt University in Chicago.
     
    Now a decade-long resident of Chicago, she's active in the area’s crime writing community. She's the vice president of the Midwest Chapter of the Mystery Writers of America, and a member of Sisters in Crime Chicagoland and the International Thriller Writers (ITW). She's a 2014 ITW Debut Author, and blog with the 2014 class at The Debutante Ball.

    The Black Hour (Paperback)

    $15.95
    ISBN-13: 9781616148850
    Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 days
    Published: Seventh Street Books, 7/2014

    Location: 
    Street:
    4736-38 N Lincoln Ave
    City:
    Chicago
    ,
    Province:
    Illinois
    Postal Code:
    60625
    Country:
    United States
  • Essay Fiesta!

    07/21/2014 7:00 pm
    America/Chicago

     

    Essay Fiesta takes over The Book Cellar once again for an evening of Live Lit. Get here early to grab a seat and grab a drink! All donations go to 826Chicago!

    Location: 
    Street:
    4736-38 N Lincoln Ave
    City:
    Chicago
    ,
    Province:
    Illinois
    Postal Code:
    60625
    Country:
    United States
All titles are subject to availability. Prices Subject to Change. Please call (773) 293-2665 to confirm.
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