The Book Cellar
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We are so excited to welcome Chris L. Terry back to celebrate the launch of his second novel Black Card!
“Chris L. Terry is so damn good at peeling back all the tricky layers of race and identity and belonging, and grappling with all the icky stuff of being young and trying to figure out how to be. I’m a ’90s kid who spent my afternoons earnestly taping obscure rock songs off college radio in suburban Chicagoland, so Black Card feels like it was written explicitly for me. It’s a hilarious and honest examination of race and punk authenticity that’s probably gonna feel like it was written for you, too.”
—Samantha Irby, author of We Are Never Meeting in Real Life
About Black Card: Chris L. Terry's Black Card is an uncompromising examination of American identity. In an effort to be "black enough," a mixed-race punk rock musician indulges his own stereotypical views of African American life by doing what his white bandmates call "black stuff." After remaining silent during a racist incident, the unnamed narrator has his Black Card revoked by Lucius, his guide through Richmond, Virginia, where Confederate flags and memorials are a part of everyday life.
Determined to win back his Black Card, the narrator sings rap songs at an all-white country music karaoke night, absorbs black pop culture, and attempts to date his black coworker Mona, who is attacked one night. The narrator becomes the prime suspect and earns the attention of John Donahue, a local police officer with a grudge dating back to high school. Forced to face his past, his relationships with his black father and white mother, and the real consequences and dangers of being black in America, the narrator must choose who he is before the world decides for him.
About Chris L. Terry: CHRIS L. TERRY was born in 1979 to an African American father and an Irish American mother. He has an BA in English from Virginia Commonwealth University and a creative writing MFA from Columbia College Chicago. Terry's debut novel, Zero Fade, was named a Best Book of the Year by Slate and Kirkus Reviews. Terry lives in Los Angeles with his family.
Essay Fiesta comes to The Book Cellar once again for an evening of Live Lit. Show starts at 7pm, so get here early to grab a seat and a drink!
Don't forget the theme song!
All donations go to 826 Chicago.
We will be closing at 5PM to give our lovely staff extra time to travel and prep side dishes!
The Classics Book Club meets to discuss their November pick, The Wild Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys.
We're excited to welcome Jonathan Blum to the store to read from his first short story collection The Usual Uncertainties!
"In these wonderfully various stories, gentle and bizarre and tragic and very funny, there are characters the likes of which have rarely been given life in fiction: The young son of a pulmonary oncologist learns excitedly to read x-rays, and that excitement is very different than what his father feels. A widow makes a business of bringing a quality of life to elders, and a thirteen-year-old Roger, on the occasion of his Bar Mitzvah, has a T-shirt stamped: I'd Rather Be Davening. Herm is a one-man ad hoc adoption agency finding unwanted newborns and delivering them into well-appointed futures. Jonathan Blum descends from a great tradition of Jewish storytellers, Richler, Malamud, Michaels, and he brings the tradition into the twenty-first century, and he brings the tradition west, too, to Los Angeles. Oh, and south to Florida, and right up to the Shabbat table where Adam sits with his Thai girlfriend in 'A Certain Light on Los Angeles.' There is a certain light here in these stories and it is very much worth your time."-Michelle Latiolais
About The Usual Uncertainties: Jonathan Blum's highly anticipated first collection is storytelling at its finest. In precise, elegant prose, these stories follow characters and communities often consigned to the edge of the frame: a community college dropout, a geriatric care manager, a square dance bar mitzvah, a Scrabble club, an entrepreneurial Thai immigrant, and a South Florida country club. With echoes of Leonard Michaels, Mavis Gallant, and Lore Segal, Blum explores the ways our divergent histories tether us together and at times push us completely apart. THE USUAL UNCERTAINTIES: STORIES revels in the persistent human struggle to love with abandon and marks a dynamic voice in American short fiction.
About Jonathan Blum: Jonathan Blum is the author of two books of fiction: LAST WORD (Rescue Press, 2013), a novella, and THE USUAL UNCERTAINTIES: STORIES (Rescue Press, 2019), a story collection. Blum grew up in Miami and graduated from UCLA and the Iowa Writers' Workshop. His short stories have appeared in Angels Flight-literary west, The Carolina Quarterly, Gulf Coast, Kenyon Review, Playboy, Sonora Review, Shanxi Literature, among others. He has taught fiction writing at The University of Iowa, Drew University, and the Iowa Summer Writing Festival, and is the recipient of a Michener-Copernicus Society of America Award, a Hawthornden fellowship in Scotland, and a grant from the Helene Wurlitzer Foundation. He has also been a guest writer at the Tianjin Binhai New Area International Writing Program in China. He lives in Los Angeles.
About Christian TeBordo: Christian TeBordo's latest book, Ghost Engine, won the Bridge Eight Fiction Prize and will be published this fall. He is the author of four previous books, including Toughlahoma, published by Rescue in 2015. He lives with his family in Chicago, where he is director of the MFA Program and assistant professor of English at Roosevelt University.