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The Salon Classics Book Club will meet to discuss their October pick, The Optimist's Daughter by Eudora Welty!
The Book Cellar Book Club will meet to discuss their November pick, I'm Thinking of Ending Things by Iain Reid!
Join us virtually to hear Kevin C. O'Leary read from his new work Madison's Sorrow and to learn about the mess that we've gotten ourselves into.
About Madison's Sorrow: Today’s marriage of white-identity Southerners and their northern allies to moneyed libertarians is no run-of-the-mill political partnership. Instead, it is extraordinarily dangerous. Clearly, conservatives have lost their party. And without conservatives debating liberals in an intellectual, respectful manner to address the nation’s problems, Madisonian democracy breaks down.
A stimulating reinterpretation of the American experience, Madison’s Sorrow exposes the intellectual and moral deficiencies of the illiberal right while offering a robust defense of the liberal tradition.
About Kevin C. O'Leary: Kevin C. O'Leary is a research fellow at the Center for the Study of Democracy at the University of California, Irvine and teaches in the Political Science Department at Chapman University. A contributor to The American Prospect, he was the lead West Coast reporter for TIME, as well as a reporter for the Los Angeles Times. He earned his PhD at Yale University. His previous book, Saving Democracy: A Plan for Real Representation in America, was a finalist for the American Political Science Association's Michael Harrington Award.
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(Mike's headshot taken by: Iwona Biedermann)
“When I read Mike Puican’s Central Air, I can feel Chicago in my bones like hot sidewalks and gridded streets. [...] Wherever you are, open these pages to find a map back to a place where the wind is ruler of everything it touches, a place that ‘twists its way into our hearts." - Tyehimba Jess, author of Ohio
"Mike Puican’s homage to that most relentless of cities is nothing less than revelatory, and the poetic landscape will have to shift in appreciation.” - Patricia Smith, author of Incendiary Art
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About Central Air: Set in the urban Chicago landscape, Central Air explores the human challenge of living with strong desires, limited knowledge, and no saving direction. The voices in this mix of elegies and soft litanies negotiate lives within the strangeness and unpredictability of each moment. In every case, language is a swift prayer, ode, and lyric. Chicago is an intensely experienced, blue-collar homeplace where injustice is a given. The poems are stern, compressed, and unsentimental. But they are also empathic to human shortcomings and doubts, scored in unobtrusive consistency in both voice and language.
Puican’s focus on the city, its people and underbellied spaces, pays homage in the tradition of the great Chicago masters: Carl Sandburg, Gwendolyn Brooks, and Campbell McGrath. This contemporary Chicago son finds his own place with lyrical integrity.
About Mike Puican: MIKE PUICAN has published poems in Poetry, Bloomsbury Review, Crab Orchard Review, and New England Review, among others. His work has also been featured on WBEZ, Chicago’s NPR affiliate. Puican was a member of the 1996 Chicago Slam Team and holds an M.F.A. in poetry from Warren Wilson College. As a longtime board member of the Guild Literary Complex in Chicago, he has been deeply involved in supporting and promoting other Chicago writers. He also leads poetry workshops at St. Leonard’s House for formerly incarcerated men and at the federal Metropolitan Correctional Center in Chicago.
About Rosellen Brown: ROSELLEN BROWN is the author of the novels Lake on Fire, Civil Wars, Half a Heart, Tender Mercies, Before and After, and six other books. Her stories have appeared frequently in O. Henry Prize Stories, Best American Short Stories and Best Short Stories of the Century. She now teaches in the MFA in Writing Program at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and lives in Mr. Obama's neighborhood, overlooking Lake Michigan.
About Tory McCagg: Tory McCagg earned a M.F.A. from Emerson College’s writing program in 1989, where her thesis and novel, Shards, won the Graduate Dean’s Award. Among other accolades, in 1999, “Roots”, an early chapter from her novel Bittersweet Manor was a semifinalist in the New Millennium awards VIII contest; Bittersweet Manor won a Silver medal for Contemporary Fiction from Independent Publishers in 2015. Tory is an accomplished flutist, and lives with her husband, one cat and myriad chickens at Darwin’s View where they all practice an experimental life off-grid and on the land.
About At Crossroads With Chickens: In 2012, McCagg and her husband, Carl built an off-grid, solar-powered house in Jaffrey, New Hampshire. It was to be a weekend getaway for the writer (“what’s this pitchfork for?”) and trombonist (a wannabe farmer). In December, with two cats and six newly adopted chicks, they drove up to Jaffrey from their home in Providence, Rhode Island, ostensibly just for the winter so their new pipes wouldn’t freeze. . . . But their hen “Rhoda Red” turned out to be “Big Red.” Roosters are outlawed by Providence city regulations, so Big Red couldn’t go back. Thus, writes McCagg, “neither did we. Survival of the fittest. Natural selection. Soul evolution. We named our 193-acre home “Darwin’s View” for a reason.” Chicken kerfuffles lighten the mood, but this story is born of heartbreak, of yearning for the great beauty of the world as it used to be. As she moves from full-time weekender to organic gardener, McCagg interlaces her tale with her mother’s battle with Parkinson’s, braiding both Mother and Mother Nature. Add the sun, the wind, and a cock-a-doodle-do, and you have the recipe for a perfect storm of personal growth rippling out to effect a larger transformation.