Posted September 29, 2011
Excited about the fall book season? If not, you should be. This season sees the return of many beloved authors along with some exciting new voices, so be sure to clear some time in your busy schedule to read.
There is a lot of great fiction heading our way. Highlights include Neal Stephenson's Reamde, On Canaan's Side by Sebastian Barry, The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides (his first novel in nearly a decade), The Cat's Table by Michael Ondaatje, When She Woke by Hillary Jordan (author of the excellent Mudbound), The Forgotten Waltz, the latest from Booker winner Anne Enright, Zone One by Colson Whitehead, The Prague Cemetery by Umberto Eco and Queen of America by Luis Alberto Urrea.
And to name just some of the nonfiction highlights, consider the latest from emerging superstar writer Michael Lewis, Boomerang: Travels in the New Third World, a memoir by Chicago's own Roger Ebert, Life Itself: A Memoir, Dava Sobel's A More Perfect Heaven and Joan Didion's Blue Nights.
Lastly, here's a sampling of titles we think you'll particularly enjoy:
The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach
This debut novel about baseball has already won fans among readers and critics, who praise its intelligence.
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
This debut about circuses, love and magic has been called the next Time Traveler's Wife, and Audrey Niffenegger herself has praised it.
The Taste of Salt by Martha Southgate
Family and the challenges of modern African American identity are among the themes of the book club-friendly latest from acclaimed novelist Southgate.
It Calls You Back by Luis Rodriguez
A new memoir from the poet and author of Always Running.
Rin Tin Tin: The Life and the Legend by Susan Orlean
The most famous dog in American entertainment history gets his due treatment in the overdue latest from Orchid Thief author Orlean.
1Q84 by Haruki Murakami
Already a worldwide smash, the latest novel from Murakami is likely to take his fame to the next level.
Saul Bellow: Letters
Posted September 22, 2011
Please join us at the Harold Washington Library Center this Sunday for what is sure to be an enlightening One Book, One Chicago program. Benjamin Taylor, editor of Saul Bellow: Letters, will be in conversation with Bellow's widow, Janis Freedman-Bellow. They will discuss their collaboration in putting together this most welcome collection. They will be joined by Bellow scholar, Jonathan Wilson. If you're joining your fellow Chicagoans in reading Bellow's The Adventures of Augie March, this will surely enrich your reading experience!
Back to High School
Posted September 20, 2011
I Love You, Beth Cooper by Larry Doyle
Dorky Denis Cooverman declares his love for the popular cheerleader, Beth Cooper, in his graduation speech. Find out what happens next in this novel that "celebrates and mercilessly satirizes all things teen with razor-sharp humor," according to Booklist.
Prep by Curtis Sittenfeld
Midwestern girl Lee Fiora tries to navigate the posh East Coast boarding school she’s attending on scholarship in Prep. Kirkus notes the novel is "Teenaged years served up without sugar: a class act."
Ghost World by Daniel Clowes
This classic graphic novel follows best friends Enid and Rebecca recently graduated from high school. Clowes, the Villiage Voice states, "spells out the realities of teen angst as powerfully and authentically as Salinger did in The Catcher in the Rye for an earlier generation."
Old School by Tobias Wolff
The narrator, a boy on scholarship, enters an elite prep school with strong literary traditions in hopes of becoming a writer. "Wolff…has written a marvelous novel with resonance for old and young alike. His storytelling is economical, his prose is elegant, and his meditations are utterly timeless," notes Booklist.
Carrie by Stephen King
Carrie, an alienated teenager with telekinetic powers, takes revenge on the bullies who brutalize her at school. This early Stephen King novel was frequently challenged in schools and libraries. Read it for Banned Books week.
Skippy Dies by Paul Murray
Skippy does die in Skippy Dies, an entertaining novel that follows a group of young men at a Catholic school in Dublin. Booklist calls it "hilarious" and "heartbreaking".
Crossing California by Adam Langer
Crossing California is set in 1979 in the West Rogers Park neighborhood of Chicago. "Langer depicts diverse households…as he chronicles the comings-of-age of a group of smart-mouthed, free-spirited, and creative teens," notes Booklist.
Election by Tom Perrotta
Who will win the election for student body president? Will it be the opportunistic, attractive go-getter Tracy Flick? Or perhaps Paul Warren, the popular football player; or will his sister, Tammy, come out ahead. Will Mr. McAllister be the real victim in this darkly comic novel by Tom Perrotta? Find out.
Sag Harbor by Colson Whitehead
15 year-old Benji is spending the summer at his family’s beach house in the predominantly African-American Sag Harbor in this hilarious, nostalgic book about coming of age in the 80s. Vanity Fair said "By acknowledging that adolescence’s indignities are universal, and that the search for self is endless, Sag Harbor brings this truth home."
Happy Birthday, One Book One Chicago
Posted September 15, 2011
Our citywide book discussion is ten years old, and we couldn't be more proud. To celebrate we're reading that quintessential Chicago novel, The Adventures of Augie March by Saul Bellow. (Audio versions are also available.) You may recognize the famous first sentence, which begins, "I am an American, Chicago born...."
It's an epic treatment of the life of a young man, born humbly, who embarks on a restless, soul-searching quest to find his place in the world, and though he's of an immigrant family, Augie has a classic sense of the American dream and imposes no limits on himself. The novel also gives us an intriguing look at the rough-and-tumble Chicago of the 1930s, as Augie struggles (and occasionally glides) his way through various jobs, projects and relationships. This is the kind of masterpiece that makes you want to pick up a pen to highlight a great passage, then find you've highlighted most of the book.
Thank you to our generous sponsors and partners for their continued support, and thank you for your continued participation in this decade-long conversation!
D.I.Y. Film Fest: Panic in the Streets
Posted September 13, 2011
Steven Soderbergh's Contagion was tops at the box office this past weekend. The film centers on a lethal virus that reaches pandemic proportions and kills within days. With an all-star cast including Matt Damon, Kate Winslet, Jude Law and Gwyneth Paltrow, it's no surprise that crowds are rushing out to catch this latest disaster flick. We've put together a list of movies you might enjoy if you've caught the end of days bug.
The 10th Anniversary of 9/11
Posted September 6, 2011
With the anniversary of 9/11 just around the corner, one way libraries are recognizing the anniversary is through the September Project, a commemorative project in remembrance of September 11, 2001. Libraries will feature book displays, organize community book readings, screen films, and more, exploring topics including freedom, justice, democracy, and community. The events of 9/11 have also impacted art, including fiction. In anticipation of the 10th anniversary, we've created a list of novels that touch on the events of September 11, 2001.
The Submission by Amy Waldman
Falling Man by Don DeLillo
The Good Life by Jay McInerney
A Disoder Peculair to the Country by Ken Kalfus
Extremely Loud and Incredily Close by Johnathan Safran Foer
A Fortunate Age by Joanna Smith Rakoff
The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Moshin Hamid
A Day at the Beach by Helen Schulman
Exit Ghost by Philip Roth
The Future of Love by Shirley Abbott
The Zero by Jess Walters
The Whole World Over by Julia Glass
Home Boy by H.M. Naqvi
Love Is the Higher Law by David Levithan