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The Book Cellar Book Club will meet virtually to discuss their March pick, Picnic in the Ruins by Todd Robert Petersen.
Journalist and Chicago native Eric Johnson presents his debut novel, a coming-of-age story of corporate greed, familial rupture, falling apart, and putting yourself back together. He will be joined by Mary Wisniewski (Algren: A Life)
Event is free, but pre-registration is required. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line "Eric Johnson RSVP" to reserve your spot!
Access credentials will be sent on the day of the event.
About Whenever A Happy Thing Falls: Bale Ratcliffe is flourishing during a semester studying abroad in London, enjoying literature and poetry classes and an exciting budding romance with a precocious young actress. But as graduation approaches, Bale’s father, Bruce Ratcliffe, a shrewd businessman obsessed with his son's material success and a hidden agenda, forces Bale to throw away his dreams of becoming a writer and the love of his life to join an elite investment bank run by his friend.
Plunged into a chaotic corporate culture rife with greed, criminality, misogyny, and racism, Bale’s life crumbles during months of 100-hour work weeks and mounting alcohol and drug abuse. Spiraling out of control, Bale eventually causes an explosive event inside the firm’s office after a late-night debauch, and escapes to a rural cabin where, over the course of a weekend, he must decide what he stands for and how he can ultimately save his own life.
About Eric Johnson: Eric M. Johnson is an American journalist, novelist, and outdoorsman. Born and raised in Chicago, he now lives in Seattle, where he writes about Boeing and the billionaire space race for Reuters News.
Join Gina Barreca and Nicole Hollander for an evening of funny flash fiction from the upcoming anthology Fast Funny Women!
Event is free, but pre-registration is required. Please e-mail email@example.com with the subject line "Fast Funny Women RSVP" to reserve your spot. Access credentials will be sent over the day of the event.
About Fast Funny Women: These seventy-five flash nonfiction pieces written by internationally celebrated women authors and dazzlingly hilarious newcomers, are no flashes in the pan: they provide a feast of insights, generously garnished with wit, spice and an exhilarating attention to craft. In Fast Funny Women, you’ll find everything you want from thoughtful essays in a short, delicious form. Perfect for students of writing, writers of humor, and all readers who welcome laughter, insight, and perspective into their lives.
About Gina Barreca: Hailed as “smart and funny” by People and “Very, very funny. For a woman,” by Dave Barry, Gina Barreca was deemed a “feminist humor maven” by Ms. Magazine. Novelist Wally Lamb said, “Barreca’s prose, in equal measures, is hilarious and humane." Author of ten books and editor of eleven others, her works have been translated into several languages, including Chinese, Japanese, Spanish, Portuguese, and German.
About Nicole Hollander: "I was a syndicated cartoonist for 25 years, which encouraged me to read the newspaper and listen to people’s conversations on the bus, to use sarcasm perhaps a bit much and to make people oddly angry…luckily no one knew my address."
(Lauren's photo courtesy of: Pete Voelker)
Let's get weird! Adam Levin's widely praised alternate history/sci-fi/dystopia Bubblegum is now in paperback! He will be joined in conversation by Lauren Oyler (Fake Accounts, out 2/2!), and George Saunders (Lincoln in the Bardo) will also stop by to share his thoughts!
"Delightful. . .As funny, sad, compelling and exhilarating as anything on the internet or IRL. . .Levin unspools a story that dramatizes thinking to an extent that thought itself becomes as riveting as plot, but in which there's also actual plot in abundance." --The Chicago Tribune
"Fantastic. . .Deeply reimagines our world for better or worse. . .Huge and deep and dark and hilarious and trenchant and powerful and complex." --The Austin Chronicle
Event is free, but pre-registration is required. Please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line "Adam Levin RSVP" to reserve your spot.
Access credentials will be sent the day of the event.
About Bubblegum: Bubblegum is set in an alternate present-day world in which the Internet does not exist, and has never existed. Rather, a wholly different species of interactive technology--a flesh-and-bone robot called the Curio--has dominated both the market and the cultural imagination since the late 1980s. Belt Magnet, who as a boy in greater Chicago became one of the lucky first adopters of a Curio, is now writing his memoir, and through it we follow a singular man out of sync with the harsh realities of a world he feels alien to, but must find a way to live in.
At age thirty-eight, still living at home with his widowed father, Belt insulates himself from the awful and terrifying world outside by spending most of his time with books, his beloved Curio, and the voices in his head, which he isn't entirely sure are in his head. After Belt's father goes on a fishing excursion, a simple trip to the bank escalates into an epic saga that eventually forces Belt to confront the world he fears, as well as his estranged childhood friend Jonboat, the celebrity astronaut and billionaire.
In Bubblegum, Adam Levin has crafted a profoundly hilarious, resonant, and monumental narrative about heartbreak, longing, art, and the search for belonging in an incompatible world. Bubblegum is a rare masterwork of provocative social (and self-) awareness and intimate emotional power.
About Adam Levin: ADAM LEVIN is the author of The Instructions and Hot Pink. He has been a New York Public Library Young Lions Fiction Award winner, a recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship, and a National Jewish Book Award finalist. A longtime Chicagoan, Levin currently lives in Gainesville, Florida.
About Fake Accounts: On the eve of Donald Trump's inauguration, a young woman snoops through her boyfriend's phone and makes a startling discovery: he's an anonymous internet conspiracy theorist, and a popular one at that. Already fluent in internet fakery, irony, and outrage, she's not exactly shocked by the revelation. Actually, she's relieved--he was always a little distant--and she plots to end their floundering relationship while on a trip to the Women's March in DC. But this is only the first in a series of bizarre twists that expose a world whose truths are shaped by online lies.
Suddenly left with no reason to stay in New York and increasingly alienated from her friends and colleagues, our unnamed narrator flees to Berlin, embarking on her own cycles of manipulation in the deceptive spaces of her daily life, from dating apps to expat meetups, open-plan offices to bureaucratic waiting rooms. She begins to think she can't trust anyone--shouldn't the feeling be mutual?
Narrated with seductive confidence and subversive wit, Fake Accounts challenges the way current conversations about the self and community, delusions and gaslighting, and fiction and reality play out in the internet age.
About Lauren Oyler: LAUREN OYLER’s essays on books and culture have appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine, London Review of Books, The Guardian, New York magazine’s The Cut, The New Republic, Bookforum, and elsewhere. Born and raised in West Virginia, she now divides her time between New York and Berlin.
Photo Credit: Christine Han
"There's something about Mari Andrew's words and illustrations that make you feel at home. My Inner Sky reminds readers of the shared grief, joy, and sorrow that we experience throughout life--and how to cope with it." --Marie Claire
"To say this year has been challenging is an understatement and it's easy to despair at the scale of the loss we are collectively experiencing accross the globe. This book is a reminder that healing is humbling, that resilience is beautiful, that there is joy in choosing yourself and that life is made of little moments worth paying attention to and celebrating. Mari makes no grand pronouncements and doesn't offer any easy advice. Instead she shares with us one word and one illustration at a time why being alive is so damn worth it." --Aminatou Sow, author of Big Friendship
Ticket required to attend. All tickets include one copy of the book and can be purchased here.
About My Inner Sky: From New York Times bestselling author Mari Andrew, a collection of essays and illustrations, divided into phases of the sky--twilight, golden hour, night, and dawn--that serves as a loyal companion for life's curveballs
A whole, beautiful life is only made possible by the wide spectrum of feelings that exist between joy and sorrow. In this insightful and warm book, writer and illustrator Mari Andrew explores all the emotions that make up a life, in the process offering insights about trauma and healing, the meaning of home and the challenges of loneliness, finding love in the most unexpected of places--from birds nesting on a sculpture to a ride on the subway--and a resounding case for why sometimes you have to put yourself in the path of magic.
My Inner Sky empowers us to transform everything that's happened to us into something meaningful, reassurance that even in our darkest times, there's light and beauty to be found.
About Mari Andrew: Mari Andrew is a writer, artist, and speaker based in New York City. She is the author of Am I There Yet? and posts her writing and illustrations on Instagram at @bymariandrew.
About Kimberlee Rhodes: Kimberlee Rhodes is a writer and editor living in New York City. She has been featured on the TODAY Show and her work can be seen on the women's lifestyle blog, A Cup of Jo.
""An insightful book packed with wonderful writing, practical advice, and hope for a better, kinder future." -- Jonathan Eig, author of Ali: A Life
"Murray is equally emphatic in rejecting a feigned civility that glosses over real differences, noting that some of the nation's most acclaimed communicators, from H.L. Mencken to Hunter S. Thompson, were renowned for their acerbic critiques of fellow Americans. Though politics is Murray's bailiwick, it is his later reflections on the importance of communication in one's personal life that stand out. Essays on the value and intersection of effective communication with marriage, grief, and technology provide a poignancy that transcends politics."
Event is free, but pre-registration is required. Please e-mail email@example.com with the subject line "David Murray RSVP" to reserve your spot.
Event access info will be sent over day of.
About David Murray: David Murray heads the global Professional Speechwriters Association and comments daily on communication issues on his popular blog Writing Boots. He is an award-winning Chicago journalist and is editor and publisher of Vital Speeches of the Day, one of the world's longest continuously published magazines.
About Tony Judge: Tony Judge spent decades in Chicago in broadcast advertising and marketing. He found sponsors for A Prairie Home Companion and produced television documentaries and specials; all the while struggling with golf. He learned author-interviewing at Studs Terkel’s knee.
About An Effort to Understand: This new collection of essays from rhetoric authority and celebrated writing blogger David Murray applies his signature blend of humor and heart to a free-wheeling conversation about how we communicate in America. With essays like "We Deserve Leaders Who Act Like They Like Us," and "Speaking Truth to Power: Talking to Myself," Murray's words give readers a window into everyday American discourse--from the backroads of rural Illinois to the carpeted halls of the C-suite. Guided by an ear for the lessons of history, An Effort to Understand shows that the personal and political gulfs between us are small compared to our common desire to connect.