Mon – Thur: 9AM to 9PM | Fri – Sat: 9AM to 5PM | Sun: 1PM to 5PM
4613 N Oketo Ave, Harwood Heights, IL 60706 | 708-867-7828
Mon – Thur: 9AM to 9PM
Fri – Sat: 9AM to 5PM
Sun: 1PM to 5PM
4613 N Oketo Ave
Harwood Heights, IL 60706
708-867-7828

4613 N Oketo Ave, Harwood Heights, IL 60706 708-867-7828

Mon – Thur: 9AM to 9PM | Fri – Sat: 9AM to 5PM | Sun: 1PM to 5PM

2023 National Book Critics Circle Award Winners

Founded in 1974, the National Book Critics Circle Awards are given annually to honor outstanding writing and to foster a national conversation about reading, criticism, and literature. The awards are open to any book published in the United States in English. The National Book Critics Circle comprises more than 700 critics and editors from leading newspapers, magazines and online publications.

Fiction
I Am Homeless if This Is Not My Home by Lorrie Moore

A teacher visiting his dying brother in the Bronx. A mysterious journal from the nineteenth century stolen from a boarding house. A therapy clown and an assassin, both presumed dead, but perhaps not dead at all…

With her distinctive, irresistible wordplay and singular wry humor and wisdom, Lorrie Moore has given us a magic box of longing and surprise as she writes about love and rebirth and the pull towards life. Bold, meditative, theatrical, this new novel is an inventive, poetic portrait of lovers and siblings as it questions the stories we have been told which may or may not be true.

Nonfiction
Winnie and Nelson: Portrait of a Marriage by Jonny Steinberg

One of the most celebrated political leaders of a century, Nelson Mandela has been written about by many biographers and historians. But in one crucial area, his life remains largely untold: his marriage to Winnie Madikizela-Mandela. During his years in prison, Nelson grew ever more in love with an idealized version of his wife, courting her in his letters as if they were young lovers frozen in time. But Winnie, every bit his political equal, found herself increasingly estranged from her jailed husband’s politics. Behind his back, she was trying to orchestrate an armed seizure of power, a path he feared would lead to an endless civil war.

Jonny Steinberg tells the tale of this unique marriage—its longings, its obsessions, its deceits—making South African history a page-turning political biography. Winnie and Nelson is a modern epic in which trauma doesn’t affect just the couple at its center, but an entire nation. It is also a Shakespearean drama in which bonds of love and commitment mingle with timeless questions of revolution, such as whether to seek retribution or a negotiated peace. Steinberg reveals, with power and tender emotional insight, how far these forever-entwined leaders would go for each other and where they drew the line. For in the end, both knew theirs was not simply a marriage, but a contest to decide how apartheid should be fought.

Biography
G-Man: J. Edgar Hoover and the Making of the American Century by Beverly Gage

G-Man is the groundbreaking portrait of a colossus who dominated half a century of American history and planted the seeds for much of today’s conservative political landscape. Hoover transformed a scandal-riddled law-enforcement backwater, into a modern machine—one just as oppressive as it was promising. He rose to power and then stayed there, decade after decade, using the tools of the state to create a personal fiefdom unrivaled in U.S. history. Beverly Gage’s monumental work explores the full sweep of Hoover’s life and career, from his birth in 1895 to a modest Washington civil-service family to a strongarm for white supremacists and the politicized Christian right, serving eight presidents. G-Man places Hoover back where he once stood in American political history–not at the fringes, but at the center–and uses his story to explain the trajectories of governance, policing, race, ideology, political culture, and federal power as they evolved over the course of the 20th century.

Autobiography
How to Say Babylon: A Memoir by Safiya Sinclair

Throughout her childhood, Safiya Sinclair’s father, a volatile reggae musician and militant adherent to a strict sect of Rastafari, became obsessed with her purity, in particular, with the threat of what Rastas call Babylon, the immoral and corrupting influences of the Western world outside their home. He worried that womanhood would make Safiya and her sisters morally weak and impure, and believed a woman’s highest virtue was her obedience.

In an effort to keep Babylon outside the gate, he forbade almost everything. In place of pants, the women in her family were made to wear long skirts and dresses to cover their arms and legs, head wraps to cover their hair, no make-up, no jewelry, no opinions, no friends. Safiya’s mother, while loyal to her father, nonetheless gave Safiya and her siblings the gift of books, including poetry, to which Safiya latched on for dear life. And as Safiya watched her mother struggle voicelessly for years under housework and the rigidity of her father’s beliefs, she increasingly used her education as a sharp tool with which to find her voice and break free. Inevitably, with her rebellion comes clashes with her father, whose rage and paranoia explodes in increasing violence. As Safiya’s voice grows, lyrically and poetically, a collision course is set between them.

Poetry
Phantom Pain Wings by Kim Hyesoon, translated by Don Mee Choi

An iconic figure in the emergence of feminist poetry in South Korea and now internationally renowned, Kim Hyesoon pushes the poetic envelope into the farthest reaches of the lyric universe. In her new collection, Kim depicts the memory of war trauma and the collective grief of parting through what she calls an “I-do-bird-sequence,” where “Bird-human is the ‘I.’” Her remarkable essay “Bird Rider” explains: “I came to write Phantom Pain Wings after Daddy passed away. I called out for birds endlessly. I wanted to become a translator of bird language. Bird language that flies to places I’ve never been.” What unfolds is an epic sequence of bird ventriloquy exploring the relentless physical and existential struggles against power and gendered violence in “the eternal void of grief” (Victoria Chang, The New York Times Magazine). Through intensely rhythmic lines marked by visual puns and words that crash together and then fly away as one, Kim mixes traditional folklore and mythology with contemporary psychodramatic realities as she taps into a cremation ceremony, the legacies of Rimbaud and Yi Sang, a film by Agnes Varda, Francis Bacon’s portrait of Pope Innocent X, cyclones, a princess trapped in a hospital, and more. A simultaneity of voices and identities rises and falls, existing and exiting on their delayed wings of pain.

Criticism
Deadpan: The Aesthetics of Black Inexpression by Tina Post

Arguing that inexpression is a gesture that acquires distinctive meanings in concert with blackness, Deadpan tracks instances and meanings of deadpan―a vaudeville term meaning “dead face”―across literature, theater, visual and performance art, and the performance of self in everyday life.

Tina Post reveals that the performance of purposeful withholding is a critical tool in the work of black culture makers, intervening in the persistent framing of African American aesthetics as colorful, loud, humorous, and excessive. Beginning with the expressionless faces of mid-twentieth-century documentary photography and proceeding to early twenty-first-century drama, this project examines performances of blackness’s deadpan aesthetic within and beyond black embodiments, including Young Jean Lee’s The Shipment and Branden Jacobs-Jenkins’s Neighbors, as well as Buster Keaton’s signature character and Steve McQueen’s restitution of the former’s legacy within the continuum of Black cultural production.

John Leonard Prize
Cold Nights of Childhood by Tezer Özlü, translated by Maureen Freely

Set across the rambling orchards of a childhood in the Turkish provinces and the smoke-filled cafes of European capitals, Cold Nights of Childhood offers a sensual, unflinching portrayal of a woman’s sexual encounters and psychological struggle, staging a clash between unbridled feminine desire and repressive, patriarchal society. Originally published in 1980, six years before her death at 43, Cold Nights of Childhood cemented Tezer Özlü’s status as one of Turkey’s most beloved writers. A classic that deserves to stand alongside The Bell Jar and Jean Rhys’s Good Morning, MidnightCold Nights of Childhood is a powerfully vivid, disorienting, and bittersweet novel about the determined embrace of life in all its complexity and confusion.

Gregg Barrios Book in Translation Prize
Waiting to Be Arrested at Night: A Uyghur Poet’s Memoir of China’s Genocide by Tahir Hamut Izgil, translated by Joshua L. Freeman

One by one, Tahir Hamut Izgil’s friends disappeared. The Chinese government’s brutal persecution of the Uyghur people had continued for years, but in 2017 it assumed a terrifying new scale. The Uyghurs, a predominantly Muslim minority group in western China, were experiencing an echo of the worst horrors of the twentieth century, amplified by China’s establishment of an all-seeing high-tech surveillance state. Over a million people have vanished into China’s internment camps for Muslim minorities.

Tahir, a prominent poet and intellectual, had been no stranger to persecution. After he attempted to travel abroad in 1996, police tortured him until he confessed to fabricated charges and sent him to a re-education through labor camp. But even having endured three years in the camp, he could never have predicted the Chinese government’s radical solution to the Uyghur question two decades later. Was the first sign when Tahir was interrogated for hours after a phone call with a fellow poet in the Netherlands? Or when his old friend was sentenced to life in prison simply for calling for Uyghurs’ legal rights to be enforced? Perhaps it was when the police seized Uyghurs’ radios and installed jamming equipment to cut them off from the outside world.

Once Tahir noticed that the park near his home was nearly empty because so many neighbors had been arrested, he knew the police would be coming for him any day. One night, after Tahir’s daughters were asleep, he placed by his door a sturdy pair of shoes, a sweater, and a coat so that he could stay warm if the police came for him in the middle of the night. It was clear to Tahir and his wife that fleeing the country was the family’s only hope. 

Categories: Adults and Blog.

2023 National Book Critics Circle Award Winners

Founded in 1974, the National Book Critics Circle Awards are given annually to honor outstanding writing and to foster a national conversation about reading, criticism, and literature. The awards are open to any book published in the United States in English. The National Book Critics Circle comprises more than 700 critics and editors from leading newspapers, magazines and online publications.

Fiction
I Am Homeless if This Is Not My Home by Lorrie Moore

A teacher visiting his dying brother in the Bronx. A mysterious journal from the nineteenth century stolen from a boarding house. A therapy clown and an assassin, both presumed dead, but perhaps not dead at all…

With her distinctive, irresistible wordplay and singular wry humor and wisdom, Lorrie Moore has given us a magic box of longing and surprise as she writes about love and rebirth and the pull towards life. Bold, meditative, theatrical, this new novel is an inventive, poetic portrait of lovers and siblings as it questions the stories we have been told which may or may not be true.

Nonfiction
Winnie and Nelson: Portrait of a Marriage by Jonny Steinberg

One of the most celebrated political leaders of a century, Nelson Mandela has been written about by many biographers and historians. But in one crucial area, his life remains largely untold: his marriage to Winnie Madikizela-Mandela. During his years in prison, Nelson grew ever more in love with an idealized version of his wife, courting her in his letters as if they were young lovers frozen in time. But Winnie, every bit his political equal, found herself increasingly estranged from her jailed husband’s politics. Behind his back, she was trying to orchestrate an armed seizure of power, a path he feared would lead to an endless civil war.

Jonny Steinberg tells the tale of this unique marriage—its longings, its obsessions, its deceits—making South African history a page-turning political biography. Winnie and Nelson is a modern epic in which trauma doesn’t affect just the couple at its center, but an entire nation. It is also a Shakespearean drama in which bonds of love and commitment mingle with timeless questions of revolution, such as whether to seek retribution or a negotiated peace. Steinberg reveals, with power and tender emotional insight, how far these forever-entwined leaders would go for each other and where they drew the line. For in the end, both knew theirs was not simply a marriage, but a contest to decide how apartheid should be fought.

Biography
G-Man: J. Edgar Hoover and the Making of the American Century by Beverly Gage

G-Man is the groundbreaking portrait of a colossus who dominated half a century of American history and planted the seeds for much of today’s conservative political landscape. Hoover transformed a scandal-riddled law-enforcement backwater, into a modern machine—one just as oppressive as it was promising. He rose to power and then stayed there, decade after decade, using the tools of the state to create a personal fiefdom unrivaled in U.S. history. Beverly Gage’s monumental work explores the full sweep of Hoover’s life and career, from his birth in 1895 to a modest Washington civil-service family to a strongarm for white supremacists and the politicized Christian right, serving eight presidents. G-Man places Hoover back where he once stood in American political history–not at the fringes, but at the center–and uses his story to explain the trajectories of governance, policing, race, ideology, political culture, and federal power as they evolved over the course of the 20th century.

Autobiography
How to Say Babylon: A Memoir by Safiya Sinclair

Throughout her childhood, Safiya Sinclair’s father, a volatile reggae musician and militant adherent to a strict sect of Rastafari, became obsessed with her purity, in particular, with the threat of what Rastas call Babylon, the immoral and corrupting influences of the Western world outside their home. He worried that womanhood would make Safiya and her sisters morally weak and impure, and believed a woman’s highest virtue was her obedience.

In an effort to keep Babylon outside the gate, he forbade almost everything. In place of pants, the women in her family were made to wear long skirts and dresses to cover their arms and legs, head wraps to cover their hair, no make-up, no jewelry, no opinions, no friends. Safiya’s mother, while loyal to her father, nonetheless gave Safiya and her siblings the gift of books, including poetry, to which Safiya latched on for dear life. And as Safiya watched her mother struggle voicelessly for years under housework and the rigidity of her father’s beliefs, she increasingly used her education as a sharp tool with which to find her voice and break free. Inevitably, with her rebellion comes clashes with her father, whose rage and paranoia explodes in increasing violence. As Safiya’s voice grows, lyrically and poetically, a collision course is set between them.

Poetry
Phantom Pain Wings by Kim Hyesoon, translated by Don Mee Choi

An iconic figure in the emergence of feminist poetry in South Korea and now internationally renowned, Kim Hyesoon pushes the poetic envelope into the farthest reaches of the lyric universe. In her new collection, Kim depicts the memory of war trauma and the collective grief of parting through what she calls an “I-do-bird-sequence,” where “Bird-human is the ‘I.’” Her remarkable essay “Bird Rider” explains: “I came to write Phantom Pain Wings after Daddy passed away. I called out for birds endlessly. I wanted to become a translator of bird language. Bird language that flies to places I’ve never been.” What unfolds is an epic sequence of bird ventriloquy exploring the relentless physical and existential struggles against power and gendered violence in “the eternal void of grief” (Victoria Chang, The New York Times Magazine). Through intensely rhythmic lines marked by visual puns and words that crash together and then fly away as one, Kim mixes traditional folklore and mythology with contemporary psychodramatic realities as she taps into a cremation ceremony, the legacies of Rimbaud and Yi Sang, a film by Agnes Varda, Francis Bacon’s portrait of Pope Innocent X, cyclones, a princess trapped in a hospital, and more. A simultaneity of voices and identities rises and falls, existing and exiting on their delayed wings of pain.

Criticism
Deadpan: The Aesthetics of Black Inexpression by Tina Post

Arguing that inexpression is a gesture that acquires distinctive meanings in concert with blackness, Deadpan tracks instances and meanings of deadpan―a vaudeville term meaning “dead face”―across literature, theater, visual and performance art, and the performance of self in everyday life.

Tina Post reveals that the performance of purposeful withholding is a critical tool in the work of black culture makers, intervening in the persistent framing of African American aesthetics as colorful, loud, humorous, and excessive. Beginning with the expressionless faces of mid-twentieth-century documentary photography and proceeding to early twenty-first-century drama, this project examines performances of blackness’s deadpan aesthetic within and beyond black embodiments, including Young Jean Lee’s The Shipment and Branden Jacobs-Jenkins’s Neighbors, as well as Buster Keaton’s signature character and Steve McQueen’s restitution of the former’s legacy within the continuum of Black cultural production.

John Leonard Prize
Cold Nights of Childhood by Tezer Özlü, translated by Maureen Freely

Set across the rambling orchards of a childhood in the Turkish provinces and the smoke-filled cafes of European capitals, Cold Nights of Childhood offers a sensual, unflinching portrayal of a woman’s sexual encounters and psychological struggle, staging a clash between unbridled feminine desire and repressive, patriarchal society. Originally published in 1980, six years before her death at 43, Cold Nights of Childhood cemented Tezer Özlü’s status as one of Turkey’s most beloved writers. A classic that deserves to stand alongside The Bell Jar and Jean Rhys’s Good Morning, MidnightCold Nights of Childhood is a powerfully vivid, disorienting, and bittersweet novel about the determined embrace of life in all its complexity and confusion.

Gregg Barrios Book in Translation Prize
Waiting to Be Arrested at Night: A Uyghur Poet’s Memoir of China’s Genocide by Tahir Hamut Izgil, translated by Joshua L. Freeman

One by one, Tahir Hamut Izgil’s friends disappeared. The Chinese government’s brutal persecution of the Uyghur people had continued for years, but in 2017 it assumed a terrifying new scale. The Uyghurs, a predominantly Muslim minority group in western China, were experiencing an echo of the worst horrors of the twentieth century, amplified by China’s establishment of an all-seeing high-tech surveillance state. Over a million people have vanished into China’s internment camps for Muslim minorities.

Tahir, a prominent poet and intellectual, had been no stranger to persecution. After he attempted to travel abroad in 1996, police tortured him until he confessed to fabricated charges and sent him to a re-education through labor camp. But even having endured three years in the camp, he could never have predicted the Chinese government’s radical solution to the Uyghur question two decades later. Was the first sign when Tahir was interrogated for hours after a phone call with a fellow poet in the Netherlands? Or when his old friend was sentenced to life in prison simply for calling for Uyghurs’ legal rights to be enforced? Perhaps it was when the police seized Uyghurs’ radios and installed jamming equipment to cut them off from the outside world.

Once Tahir noticed that the park near his home was nearly empty because so many neighbors had been arrested, he knew the police would be coming for him any day. One night, after Tahir’s daughters were asleep, he placed by his door a sturdy pair of shoes, a sweater, and a coat so that he could stay warm if the police came for him in the middle of the night. It was clear to Tahir and his wife that fleeing the country was the family’s only hope. 

Categories: Adults and Blog.