Found in Translation Book Club: Ghachar Ghochar by Vivek Shanbhag Story Time!

Tell Me How It Ends Book Club: Evicted by Matthew Desmond

Thursday, July 20th
at 6:30 pm

Saturday, July 22nd
at 10:30 am

Monday, July 24th
at 6:30 pm

A new John Green book is on the way!

Who’s excited about John Green’s new book coming this October?! The #1 bestselling author of The Fault in Our Stars is back with Turtles All the Way Down this fall!

“It all begins with a fugitive billionaire and the promise of a cash reward.

Turtles All the Way Down is about lifelong friendship, the intimacy of an unexpected reunion, Star Wars fan fiction, and tuatara. But at its heart is Aza Holmes, a young woman navigating daily existence within the ever-tightening spiral of her own thoughts.

In his long-awaited return, John Green shares Aza’s story with shattering, unflinching clarity.”

We’ve got a list of pre-orders going so if you’re as excited as we are, get on it! Click below, send us an email, or give us a call and we’ll have your copy on October 10th!

Turtles All the Way Down Cover Image
$19.99
ISBN: 9780525555360
Availability: Coming Soon - Available for Pre-Order Now
Published: Dutton Books for Young Readers - October 10th, 2017

Michael's Music Machine Debut Album!

 

If you’ve been to our Story Time on Saturday mornings, you’re probably already a big fan of Mr. Michael and his kids tunes. Well, good news – Mr. Michael is working on a children's pop album that's fun for both kids and the grown-ups who drive them around town! That’s right, Michael’s Music Machine Debut Album is on the way!

“As I've been in a classroom or dancing around the living room with my nephews, I wanted to hear children's music that reflected some of my favorite artists.  This album takes inspiration from MIKA, Stevie Wonder, Sia, Elton John, and even a little Patti LaBelle.  Michael's Music Machine will be a full album of original tunes that will get you up and dancing.”

As some of Mr. Michael’s biggest fans, we want to spread the word and help him get this album out! If you want to get involved, check out the Michael’s Music Machine Kickstarter page, and check him out Saturday mornings right here at City Lit Books!

July Book Club Update!

Keep your summer reading goals on track – join one of our book clubs! The booksellers at City Lit have another round of reads picked for July, and we are excited to chat with you about these great books. This month we’ve got stories stretching through time, and exploring the divides between nations, families, man and woman.

First up, our Wilde Readers book club, a reading group for LGBTQ+ stories, takes on Virginia Woolf’s Orlando.

Virginia Woolf described Orlando as "an escapade, half-laughing, half-serious; with great splashes of exaggeration," but many think Woolf's escapade is one of the most wickedly imaginative and sharply observed considerations of androgyny that this century will see. Orlando is, in fact, a character liberated from the restraints of time and sex. Born in the Elizabethan Age to wealth and position, he is a young male aristocrat at the beginning of the story - and a modern woman four centuries later. The hero-heroine sees monarchs come and go, hobnobs with great literary figures, and slips in and out of each new fashion. Woolf presents a brilliant pageant of history, society, and literature as well as subtle appreciation of the interplay between endings and beginnings, past and present, male and female.

Join Wilde Readers for discussion on Tuesday, July 11th at 6:30 pm.

The Found in Translation book club, where each month we dive into fresh English translations of stand-out fiction from around the world, will be reading Ghachar Ghochar by Vivek Shanbhag, translated from the Kannada by Srinath Perur.

A young man’s close-knit family is nearly destitute when his uncle founds a successful spice company, changing their fortunes overnight. As they move from a cramped, ant-infested shack to a larger house on the other side of Bangalore, and try to adjust to a new way of life, the family dynamic begins to shift. Allegiances realign; marriages are arranged and begin to falter; and conflict brews ominously in the background. Things become “ghachar ghochar”—a nonsense phrase uttered by one meaning something tangled beyond repair, a knot that can’t be untied. Elegantly written and punctuated by moments of unexpected warmth and humor, Ghachar Ghochar is a quietly enthralling, deeply unsettling novel about the shifting meanings—and consequences—of financial gain in contemporary India.

Found in Translation will meet Thursday July 20th at 6:30 pm.

Our newest book club, Tell Me How It Ends, for nonfiction titles focusing on current events and social justice, continues with Evicted by Matthew Desmond.

In Evicted, Harvard sociologist and MacArthur “Genius” Matthew Desmond follows eight families in Milwaukee as they struggle to keep a roof over their heads. Hailed as “wrenching and revelatory” (The Nation), “vivid and unsettling” (New York Review of Books), Evicted transforms our understanding of poverty and economic exploitation while providing fresh ideas for solving one of 21st-century America’s most devastating problems. Its unforgettable scenes of hope and loss remind us of the centrality of home, without which nothing else is possible.

Tell Me How It Ends meets Monday, July 24th at 6:30 pm.

Next is our In Brief book club, exploring collections of short stories from writers new and established. For July, we are reading A Manual for Cleaning Women: Selected Stories by Lucia Berlin.

A Manual for Cleaning Women compiles the best work of the legendary short-story writer Lucia Berlin. With the wit of Lorrie Moore, the grit of Raymond Carver, and a blend of humor and melancholy all her own, Berlin crafts miracles from the everyday, uncovering moments of grace in the cafeterias and Laundromats of the American Southwest, in the homes of the Bay Area upper class, among switchboard operators and struggling mothers, hitchhikers and bad Christians. Lovers of the short story will revel in this remarkable collection from a master of the form and wonder how they’d ever overlooked her in the first place.

In Brief will meet Tuesday, July 25th at 6:30 pm.

Our last book club meeting of the month, Weird & Wonderful returns to discuss China Mountain Zhang by Maureen F. McHugh.

Winner of the James Tiptree, Jr. Memorial Award, the Lambda Literary Award, the Locus Award for Best First Novel, and a Hugo and Nebula Award nominee. With this groundbreaking novel, Maureen F. McHugh established herself as one of the decade's best science fiction writers. In its pages, we enter a postrevolution America, moving from the hyperurbanized eastern seaboard to the Arctic bleakness of Baffin Island; from the new Imperial City to an agricultural commune on Mars. The overlapping lives of cyberkite fliers, lonely colonists, illicit neural-pressball players, and organic engineers blend into a powerful, taut story of a young man's journey of discovery. This is a macroscopic world of microscopic intensity, one of the most brilliant visions of modern SF.

Weird & Wonderful meets Wednesday, July 26th at 6:30 pm.

Remember –all our book club choices get a discount, and there’s no sign up, just come ready to talk about the book!

June Book Club Update!

We’re kicking off the summer with an addition to our book club line up! Tell Me How It Ends will be a reading group for nonfiction titles focusing on current events and social justice, hosted by our bookseller Jordan. Appropriately, the first book for this club is Tell Me How It Ends: An Essay in 40 Questions by Valeria Luiselli, ‘a damning confrontation between the American dream and the reality of undocumented children seeking a new life in the U.S.’

Structured around the forty questions Luiselli translates and asks undocumented Latin American children facing deportation, Tell Me How It Ends (an expansion of her 2016 Freeman’s essay of the same name) humanizes these young migrants and highlights the contradiction between the idea of America as a fiction for immigrants and the reality of racism and fear—both here and back home.
Valeria Luiselli was born Mexico City in 1983 and grew up in South Africa. A novelist (The Story of My Teeth and Faces in the Crowd) and essayist (Sidewalks), her work has been translated into many languages and has appeared in publications including the New York Times, the New Yorker, Granta, and McSweeney’s.

Tell Me How It Ends will have its first meeting on Monday, June 26th at 6:30 pm!

This month Wilde Readers, our book club for classic and contemporary LGBTQ+ lit, reads a new short story collection: Daydreamers by Jonathan Harper.

Ne'er-do-wells, prodigal sons, and young men without so much as a clue to their present state of mind let alone their futures are waiting to be met in the stories within Daydreamers, Jonathan Harper's debut collection. But these men are not Walter Mittys-everyday life refuses to allow them languor. Whether it be the roll of the dice in a Dungeons & Dragons game played in a hostile, rural bar, the lure of body modification and being suspended in front of a crowd, or discovering a body on the beach, the rough edges of each young man cannot help but be noticed, even admired. And once a young man is admired, he needs to decide whether or not to awaken from his daydreams.

Wilde Readers will meet Tuesday, June 13th at 6:30 pm.

Next for Found in Translation, the book club where each month we dive into a fresh English translation of stand-out fiction from around the world, is Camanchaca by Diego Zúñiga, translated from the Spanish by Megan McDowell.

A long drive across Chile’s Atacama desert, traversing “the worn-out puzzle” of a broken family—a young man’s corrosive intimacy with his mother, the obtrusive cheer of his absentee father, his uncle’s unexplained death. Camanchaca is a low fog pushing in from the sea, its moisture sustaining near-barren landscape. Sometimes, the silences are what bind us.

Join the Found in Translation book club on Thursday, June 15th at 6:30 pm.

In Brief, our club to explore a collection of short stories from writers new and established, takes on another contemporary pick this month: Hall of Small Mammals by Thomas Pierce.

The stories in Thomas Pierce’s Hall of Small Mammals take place at the confluence of the commonplace and the cosmic, the intimate and the infinite. A fossil-hunter, a comedian, a hot- air balloon pilot, parents and children, believers and nonbelievers, the people in these stories are struggling to understand the absurdity and the magnitude of what it means to exist in a family, to exist in the world. From this enchanting primordial soup, Pierce’s voice emerges—a distinct and charming testament of the New South, melding contemporary concerns with their prehistoric roots to create a hilarious, deeply moving symphony of stories.

Stop by Tuesday June 27th at 6:30 pm.

Weird and Wonderful, the club for science fiction, speculative fiction, fantasy, magical realism, or any genre otherwise strange, is reading Altered Carbon by Richard K. Morgan in June.

In the twenty-fifth century, humankind has spread throughout the galaxy, monitored by the watchful eye of the U.N. While divisions in race, religion, and class still exist, advances in technology have redefined life itself. Now, assuming one can afford the expensive procedure, a person’s consciousness can be stored in a cortical stack at the base of the brain and easily downloaded into a new body (or “sleeve”) making death nothing more than a minor blip on a screen.Ex-U.N. envoy Takeshi Kovacs has been killed before, but his last death was particularly painful. Dispatched one hundred eighty light-years from home, re-sleeved into a body in Bay City (formerly San Francisco, now with a rusted, dilapidated Golden Gate Bridge), Kovacs is thrown into the dark heart of a shady, far-reaching conspiracy that is vicious even by the standards of a society that treats “existence” as something that can be bought and sold. For Kovacs, the shell that blew a hole in his chest was only the beginning. . . .

Join our monthly celebration of the weird on Wednesday, June 28th at 6:30 pm.

As always, don’t forget our book club discount and check back soon to see what our book clubs will be reading later this summer!

Tell Me How It Ends: An Essay in 40 Questions Cover Image
$12.95
ISBN: 9781566894951
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Coffee House Press - April 4th, 2017

Daydreamers Cover Image
$15.00
ISBN: 9781590212967
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Lethe Press - March 28th, 2015

Camanchaca Cover Image
By Diego Zauaniga, Megan McDowell (Translator)
$15.95
ISBN: 9781566894609
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Coffee House Press - March 7th, 2017

Hall of Small Mammals: Stories Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9781594634055
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Riverhead Books - January 12th, 2016

Altered Carbon Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780345457684
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Del Rey Books - March 4th, 2003

Announcing Our June Book Drive!

One book

Two books

Old books

New books

(In good shape, please--

Read with care!)

What a lot of

Books to share!

We're very excited to announce that we at City Lit Books are partnering with Bernie's Book Bank for the month of June to collect new and gently used books for kids of all ages, newborn up to sixth grade. Starting June 1st and running through the 30th, you can drop off any children’s books you’ve got collecting dust on your shelves, or buy books from us to donate. Our table in the children's section will be devoted to suggested picks, but we're happy with any books you'd love to give. No need to pack anything up—we’ll have collection boxes waiting for you.

Bernie's Book Bank collects, processes and distributes quality new and gently used children's books to significantly increase BOOK OWNERSHIP among at-risk infants, toddlers and school-age children throughout Chicagoland. Their work helps kids build full libraries to love and cherish for years to come. Check out their website to see who they are and how they work.

Stay tuned for details about our June 4th popup at the Logan Square Farmers’ Market, where we’ll be happy to talk books and book banks alike. Happy Spring!

 

April is here and our book clubs are ready for spring!

 

If you don’t know about the book clubs we host at City Lit, now is a good time to get involved. We currently have 4 book clubs that meet once a month, each hosted by one of our booksellers right here in our store – and they are all pretty great. The book clubs, that is. I guess the booksellers are ok, too.

No obligations, no sign up required, just grab your copy here and we’ll give you a discount, then come hang out with us and talk about the book! Here’s what we have coming up in April:

First up is the Wilde Readers Book Club, a reading group focusing on LGBTQ lit, classic and contemporary, and this month’s pick is Giovanni’s Room by James Baldwin. Set in the 1950s Paris of American expatriates, liaisons, and violence, a young man finds himself caught between desire and conventional morality. With a sharp, probing imagination, James Baldwin's now-classic narrative delves into the mystery of loving and creates a moving, highly controversial story of death and passion that reveals the unspoken complexities of the human heart. Wilde Readers will meet Tuesday 4/11 at 6:30pm.

 

Next is the Weird & Wonderful Book Club, Our monthly celebration of the weird—be it science fiction, speculative fiction, fantasy, magical realism, or any genre otherwise strange! This month they are reading Magic for Beginners by Kelly Link, a favorite author of host Travis. Perfect for readers of George Saunders, Karen Russell, Neil Gaiman, and Aimee Bender, Magic for Beginners is an exquisite, dreamlike dispatch from a virtuoso storyteller who can do seemingly anything. Kelly Link reconstructs modern life through an intoxicating prism, conjuring up unforgettable worlds with humor and humanity. These stories are at once ingenious and deeply moving. They leave the reader astonished and exhilarated. Weird & Wonderful will meet Wednesday 4/12 at 6:30pm.

 

After that is the Found in Translation Book Club, where each month we dive into fresh English translations of stand-out fiction from around the world. Things We Lost in the Fire by Mariana Enriquez is April’s book, a recent favorite of Travis and host Devon. An arresting collection of short stories, reminiscent of Shirley Jackson and Julio Cortazar, by an exciting new international talent. Macabre, disturbing, and exhilarating, Things We Lost in the Fire is a collection of short stories that use fear and horror to explore multiple dimensions of life in contemporary Argentina. From women who set themselves on fire in protest of domestic violence; to angst-ridden teenage girls, friends until death do they part; from street kids and social workers, young women bored of their husbands or boyfriends, to a nine-year-old serial killer of babies; and from a girl who pulls out her nails and eyelids in the classroom, to hikikomori, abandoned houses, black magic, northern Argentinean superstition, disappearances, crushes, heartbreak, regret, and compassion, this is a strange, surreal, and unforgettable collection that asks vital questions of the world as we know it. If the description hasn’t scared you off, meet with the Found in Translation Book Club Thursday 4/20 at 6:30pm.

 

Our last book club meeting this month will be In Brief, a club to explore a collection of short stories from writers new and established. April’s pick is A Good Man is Hard to Find by Flannery O’Connor. In 1955, with this short story collection, Flannery O'Connor firmly laid claim to her place as one of the most original and provocative writers of her generation. Steeped in a Southern Gothic tradition that would become synonymous with her name, these stories show O'Connor's unique, grotesque view of life--infused with religious symbolism, haunted by apocalyptic possibility, sustained by the tragic comedy of human behavior, confronted by the necessity of salvation. Through these classic stories--including "The Life You Save May Be Your Own," "Good Country People," "The Displaced Person," and seven other acclaimed tales--O'Connor earned a permanent place in the hearts of American readers. Join In Brief on Tuesday 4/25 at 6:30pm.

We’re pretty excited about our book club picks for April, and hope you’ll join us! Remember – all our book club books come with a 10% discount!

Giovanni's Room Cover Image
$14.00
ISBN: 9780345806567
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Vintage Books - September 12th, 2013

Magic for Beginners Cover Image
By Kelly Link, Shelley Jackson (Illustrator)
$16.00
ISBN: 9780812986518
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Random House Trade - July 1st, 2014

Things We Lost in the Fire: Stories Cover Image
$24.00
ISBN: 9780451495112
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Hogarth Press - February 21st, 2017

A Good Man Is Hard to Find and Other Stories Cover Image
$13.95
ISBN: 9780156364652
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Mariner Books - August 23rd, 1977

Coming Soon: The Book Apothecary!

Lovelorn? Anxious? Vaguely frightened by a sense of impending apocalypse and/or dwelling in the general alientation and absurdity of the human condition? Have we got books for you! City Lit's upcoming Book Apothecary will feature over 50 pieces of curative literature hand-selected by some of our favorite authors to soothe your most searing of existential ailments.

Our kick off party will be held two weeks from now on Thursday, March 30 from 6:00 – 8:00 PM, with bibliotherapists Juan Martinez and David Welch on hand to prescribe literature.

Authors will read from their recommended books, including Mary Wisniewski (author of Algren)Leslie Parry (author of Church of Marvels), Heidi Stevens (Chicago Tribune columnist), and David Zivan (Editor-in-Chief, CS Magazine). 

A portion of sales that evening will benefit 826CHI, a non-profit organization in Chicago dedicated to supporting students ages six to eighteen with their creative and expository writing skills and to helping teachers inspire their students to write.

The Book Apothecary pop up will run through April 30th.

We look forward to seeing you here!

City Lit Books 2016 Bestsellers

For the curious, below are last year's bestselling books:

(not pictured - Tacky Goblin by T. Sean Steele)

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child - JK Rowling
Between the World and Me - Ta-Nehisi Coates
The Sympathizer - Viet Thanh Nguyen
My Brilliant Friend - Elena Ferrante
A Little Life - Hanya Yanagihara
The Sellout - Paul Beatty
The Girls - Emma Cline
Underground Railroad - Colton Whitehead
The South Side - Natalie Y. Moore
The Argonauts - Maggie Nelson

Holiday Picks Part Two: Fiction

Books make the best gifts! Here are some ideas in a number of categories. 

Today, it's Fiction! And click here for Part One: Art and Culture!


The beloved first book of the Harry Potter series, now fully illustrated by award-winning artist Jim Kay. For the first time, J.K. Rowling's beloved Harry Potter books will be presented in lavishly illustrated full-color editions. Kate Greenaway-award winning artist Jim Kay has created over 100 stunning illustrations, making this deluxe format a perfect gift as much for a child being introduced to the series, as for the dedicated fan. Harry Potter has never been the star of a Quidditch team, scoring points while riding a broom far above the ground. He knows no spells, has never helped to hatch a dragon, and has never worn a cloak of invisibility. All he knows is a miserable life with the Dursleys, his horrible aunt and uncle, and their abominable son, Dudley--a great big swollen spoiled bully. Harry's room is a tiny closet at the foot of the stairs, and he hasn't had a birthday party in eleven years. But all that is about to change when a mysterious letter arrives by owl messenger: a letter with an invitation to an incredible place that Harry--and anyone who reads about him---will find unforgettable. (from the publisher)


Reading a ghost story on Christmas Eve was once as much a part of traditional Christmas celebrations as turkey, eggnog, and Santa Claus. Biblioasis is thrilled to offer this series of beautifully illustrated, collectible books that share these classic Christmas ghost stories with readers across North America. Seth, our world-famous and beloved cartoonist, designs and illustrates each book in his own inimitable way. Trimmed to fit the coziest stocking, they’re perfect gifts for those who want a bit of extra Christmas chill. (from the publisher)


Penguin Galaxy’s set includes a bunch of books you’ve probably already read before: The Once and the Future King by T.H. White; Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert A. Heinlein; Dune by Frank Herbert; 2001: A Space Odysseyby Arthur C. Clarke; The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin; and Neuromancer by William Gibson. Most people probably wouldn’t buy this set just to read the books, though. What you’re actually purchasing is the iconic designs of cover artist Alex Trochut. Penguin Galaxy also went a step further and asked Neil Gaiman, author of American Gods and Sandman, to write the series introduction. That makes this, officially, one of the coolest gifts you can get for your favorite scifi geek. (from io9)

Holiday Picks Part One: Art and Culture

Books make the best gifts! Here are some ideas in a number of categories. 

Today, it's Art and Culture!


ART AND CULTURE

  

HAMILTON: THE REVOLUTION gives readers an unprecedented view of both revolutions, from the only two writers able to provide it. Miranda, along with Jeremy McCarter, a cultural critic and theater artist who was involved in the project from its earliest stages--"since before this was even a show," according to Miranda--traces its development from an improbable perfor­mance at the White House to its landmark opening night on Broadway six years later. In addition, Miranda has written more than 200 funny, revealing footnotes for his award-winning libretto, the full text of which is published here. (from the publisher)


The 373-page HEARTS IN SUSPENSION, published by the University of Maine Press, a division of UMaine’s Fogler Library, marks the 50th anniversary of King’s enrollment at UMaine — fall 1966. In the years that followed, the escalating Vietnam War and social unrest nationwide, especially on college and university campuses, had “a profound impact on students of the period and deeply influenced King’s development as a writer and a man,” according to the publisher on the book’s dust jacket. The volume includes a reprint of “Hearts in Atlantis,” which tracks the “awakenings and heartbreak” of his fictional counterpart, Peter Riley, during his first year at UMaine. The novella is accompanied by King’s new essay, “Five to One, One in Five,” in which he reflects on his undergraduate years, creating “a revealing portrait of the artist as (a) young man and a ground-level tableau of this highly charged time. Along with photographs and documents of this era at UMaine are four installments of King’s student newspaper column, “King’s Garbage Truck.” The columns, reprinted for the first time, are described by the publisher as “lively examples of King’s damn-the-torpedoes style.” The entertaining and shrewd youthful perceptions “more than hint at a talent about to take its place in the American literary landscape.” (from the publisher)


Created by Joshua Foer, Dylan Thuras and Ella Morton, ATLAS OBSCURA revels in the weird, the unexpected, the overlooked, the hidden and the mysterious. Every page expands our sense of how strange and marvelous the world really is. And with its compelling descriptions, hundreds of photographs, surprising charts, maps for every region of the world, it is a book to enter anywhere, and will be as appealing to the armchair traveler as the die-hard adventurer. Anyone can be a tourist. Atlas Obscura is for the explorer. (from the publisher)

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