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

2024 J. Anthony Lukas Nonfiction Book Prize Shortlist

The J. Anthony Lukas Book Prize, presented by the Columbia Journalism School and the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard University, recognizes superb examples of nonfiction writing that exemplify the literary grace, commitment to serious research, and original reporting that characterized the distinguished work of the award’s namesake, J. Anthony Lukas.

Bottoms Up and the Devil Laughs: A Journey Through the Deep State by Kerry Howley

Who are you? You are data about data. You are a map of connections—a culmination of everything you have ever posted, searched, emailed, liked, and followed. In this groundbreaking work of narrative nonfiction, Kerry Howley investigates the curious implications of living in the age of the indelible. Bottoms Up and the Devil Laughs tells the true story of intelligence specialist Reality Winner, a lone young woman who stuffs a state secret under her skirt and trusts the wrong people to help. After printing five pages of dangerous information she was never supposed to see, Winner finds herself at the mercy of forces more invasive than she could have possibly imagined.

Following Winner’s unlikely journey from rural Texas to a federal courtroom, Howley maps a hidden world, drawing in John Walker Lindh, Lady Gaga, Edward Snowden, a rescue dog named Outlaw Babyface Nelson, and a mother who will do whatever it takes to get her daughter out of jail. Howley’s subjects face a challenge new to history: they are imprisoned by their past selves, trapped for as long as the Internet endures. A soap opera set in the deep state, Bottoms Up and the Devil Laughs is a free fall into a world where everything is recorded and nothing is sacred, from a singular writer unafraid to ask essential questions about the strangeness of modern life.

Blood Farm: The Explosive Big Pharma Scandal that Altered the AIDS Crisis by Cara McGoogan

By the mid 1980s, AIDS hysteria was so rampant that a fearful and prejudiced public ignored stories of gay men falling ill with lesions and mouth ulcers. President Reagan avoided mentioning the disease entirely. Then, as chronicled in Blood Farm, a new HIV-positive population emerged, one that included kids like Ken Dixon, Brad Cross, and Ryan White who had been infected as young as ten years old. But how?

Unbeknownst to doctors and patients, pharmaceutical companies like Bayer, Baxter, and Armour collected plasma on skid row, in night clubs, and in some of America’s most notorious prisons to make Factor VIII, a new miracle treatment for hemophilia. Companies knew these practices put patients at high risk of HIV, but miracles are a lucrative business, so they knowingly sold an infected product and effectively played Russian Roulette with hemophiliacs’ lives. The results were catastrophic. In America, some 8,000 people with hemophilia contracted HIV; only 700 are alive today.

Award-winning journalist Cara McGoogan daringly exposes an expansive map of corporate greed and negligence that led to one of the biggest overlooked medical scandals in history. Alongside her we meet survivors turned activists, determined small town lawyers, and fearless reporters desperate for justice. Their fight for retribution created a critical inflection point in the AIDS crisis: stigmas shifted, settlements were awarded, and, later, President George H.W. Bush signed into law the largest federal program on HIV. In shocking, riveting detail, Blood Farm uncovers how a miracle treatment became a deadly poison and forever changed our understanding of AIDS.

American Gun: The True Story of the AR-15 by Cameron McWhirter and Zusha Elinson

In the 1950s, an obsessive firearms designer named Eugene Stoner invented the AR-15 rifle in a California garage. High-minded and patriotic, Stoner sought to devise a lightweight, easy-to-use weapon that could replace the M1s touted by soldiers in World War II. What he did create was a lethal handheld icon of the American century.

In American Gun, the veteran Wall Street Journal reporters Cameron McWhirter and Zusha Elinson track the AR-15 from inception to ubiquity. How did the same gun represent the essence of freedom to millions of Americans and the essence of evil to millions more? To answer this question, McWhirter and Elinson follow Stoner―the American Kalashnikov―as he struggled mightily to win support for his invention, which under the name M16 would become standard equipment in Vietnam. Shunned by gun owners at first, the rifle’s popularity would take off thanks to a renegade band of small-time gun makers. And in the 2000s, it would become the weapon of choice for mass shooters, prompting widespread calls for proscription even as the gun industry embraced it as a financial savior. Writing with fairness and compassion, McWhirter and Elinson explore America’s gun culture, revealing the deep appeal of the AR-15, the awful havoc it wreaks, and the politics of reducing its toll. The result is a moral history of contemporary America’s love affair with technology, freedom, and weaponry.

The Lost Sons of Omaha: Two Young Men in an American Tragedy by Joe Sexton

On May 30, 2020, in Omaha, Nebraska, amid the protests that rocked our nation after George Floyd’s death at the hands of police, thirty-eight-year-old white bar owner and Marine veteran Jake Gardner fatally shot James Scurlock, a twenty-two-year-old Black protestor and young father. What followed were two investigations of Scurlock’s death, one conducted by the white county attorney Don Kleine, who concluded that Gardner had legally acted in self-defense and released him without a trial, and a second grand jury inquiry conducted by Black special prosecutor Fred Franklin that indicted Gardner for manslaughter. Days after the indictment, Gardner killed himself with a single bullet to the head.

The deaths of both Scurlock and Gardner gave rise to a toxic brew of misinformation, false claims, and competing political agendas. The two men, each with their own complicated backgrounds, were turned into caricatures. The twin tragedies amounted to an ugly and heartbreaking reflection of a painfully divided country. Here, Joe Sexton “elevates a made-for-social-media tragedy into a kaleidoscopic account of race, justice, and urban politics” (The New York Times Book Review)masterfully unpacking the whole twisted, nearly unbelievable chronicle and explaining which claims were true and which distorted or simply false. “A book of intense moral weight and integrity” (The Washington Post), The Lost Sons of Omaha involves some of the most pressing issues facing America today, including our country’s broken criminal justice system, the failure to care for the men and women who fight our wars, the dangerous spread of misinformation, particularly on social media, and the urgent need to band together in the collective pursuit of truth, fairness, and healing.

Accountable: The True Story of a Racist Social Media Account and the Teenagers Whose Lives It Changed by Dashka Slater

When a high school student started a private Instagram account that used racist and sexist memes to make his friends laugh, he thought of it as “edgy” humor. Over time, the edge got sharper. Then a few other kids found out about the account. Pretty soon, everyone knew.

Ultimately no one in the small town of Albany, California, was safe from the repercussions of the account’s discovery. Not the girls targeted by the posts. Not the boy who created the account. Not the group of kids who followed it. Not the adults―educators and parents―whose attempts to fix things too often made them worse.

In the end, no one was laughing. And everyone was left asking: Where does accountability end for online speech that harms? And what does accountability even mean?

Award-winning and New York Times–bestselling author Dashka Slater has written a must-read book for our era that explores the real-world consequences of online choices.

Categories: Adults and Blog.

2024 J. Anthony Lukas Nonfiction Book Prize Shortlist

The J. Anthony Lukas Book Prize, presented by the Columbia Journalism School and the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard University, recognizes superb examples of nonfiction writing that exemplify the literary grace, commitment to serious research, and original reporting that characterized the distinguished work of the award’s namesake, J. Anthony Lukas.

Bottoms Up and the Devil Laughs: A Journey Through the Deep State by Kerry Howley

Who are you? You are data about data. You are a map of connections—a culmination of everything you have ever posted, searched, emailed, liked, and followed. In this groundbreaking work of narrative nonfiction, Kerry Howley investigates the curious implications of living in the age of the indelible. Bottoms Up and the Devil Laughs tells the true story of intelligence specialist Reality Winner, a lone young woman who stuffs a state secret under her skirt and trusts the wrong people to help. After printing five pages of dangerous information she was never supposed to see, Winner finds herself at the mercy of forces more invasive than she could have possibly imagined.

Following Winner’s unlikely journey from rural Texas to a federal courtroom, Howley maps a hidden world, drawing in John Walker Lindh, Lady Gaga, Edward Snowden, a rescue dog named Outlaw Babyface Nelson, and a mother who will do whatever it takes to get her daughter out of jail. Howley’s subjects face a challenge new to history: they are imprisoned by their past selves, trapped for as long as the Internet endures. A soap opera set in the deep state, Bottoms Up and the Devil Laughs is a free fall into a world where everything is recorded and nothing is sacred, from a singular writer unafraid to ask essential questions about the strangeness of modern life.

Blood Farm: The Explosive Big Pharma Scandal that Altered the AIDS Crisis by Cara McGoogan

By the mid 1980s, AIDS hysteria was so rampant that a fearful and prejudiced public ignored stories of gay men falling ill with lesions and mouth ulcers. President Reagan avoided mentioning the disease entirely. Then, as chronicled in Blood Farm, a new HIV-positive population emerged, one that included kids like Ken Dixon, Brad Cross, and Ryan White who had been infected as young as ten years old. But how?

Unbeknownst to doctors and patients, pharmaceutical companies like Bayer, Baxter, and Armour collected plasma on skid row, in night clubs, and in some of America’s most notorious prisons to make Factor VIII, a new miracle treatment for hemophilia. Companies knew these practices put patients at high risk of HIV, but miracles are a lucrative business, so they knowingly sold an infected product and effectively played Russian Roulette with hemophiliacs’ lives. The results were catastrophic. In America, some 8,000 people with hemophilia contracted HIV; only 700 are alive today.

Award-winning journalist Cara McGoogan daringly exposes an expansive map of corporate greed and negligence that led to one of the biggest overlooked medical scandals in history. Alongside her we meet survivors turned activists, determined small town lawyers, and fearless reporters desperate for justice. Their fight for retribution created a critical inflection point in the AIDS crisis: stigmas shifted, settlements were awarded, and, later, President George H.W. Bush signed into law the largest federal program on HIV. In shocking, riveting detail, Blood Farm uncovers how a miracle treatment became a deadly poison and forever changed our understanding of AIDS.

American Gun: The True Story of the AR-15 by Cameron McWhirter and Zusha Elinson

In the 1950s, an obsessive firearms designer named Eugene Stoner invented the AR-15 rifle in a California garage. High-minded and patriotic, Stoner sought to devise a lightweight, easy-to-use weapon that could replace the M1s touted by soldiers in World War II. What he did create was a lethal handheld icon of the American century.

In American Gun, the veteran Wall Street Journal reporters Cameron McWhirter and Zusha Elinson track the AR-15 from inception to ubiquity. How did the same gun represent the essence of freedom to millions of Americans and the essence of evil to millions more? To answer this question, McWhirter and Elinson follow Stoner―the American Kalashnikov―as he struggled mightily to win support for his invention, which under the name M16 would become standard equipment in Vietnam. Shunned by gun owners at first, the rifle’s popularity would take off thanks to a renegade band of small-time gun makers. And in the 2000s, it would become the weapon of choice for mass shooters, prompting widespread calls for proscription even as the gun industry embraced it as a financial savior. Writing with fairness and compassion, McWhirter and Elinson explore America’s gun culture, revealing the deep appeal of the AR-15, the awful havoc it wreaks, and the politics of reducing its toll. The result is a moral history of contemporary America’s love affair with technology, freedom, and weaponry.

The Lost Sons of Omaha: Two Young Men in an American Tragedy by Joe Sexton

On May 30, 2020, in Omaha, Nebraska, amid the protests that rocked our nation after George Floyd’s death at the hands of police, thirty-eight-year-old white bar owner and Marine veteran Jake Gardner fatally shot James Scurlock, a twenty-two-year-old Black protestor and young father. What followed were two investigations of Scurlock’s death, one conducted by the white county attorney Don Kleine, who concluded that Gardner had legally acted in self-defense and released him without a trial, and a second grand jury inquiry conducted by Black special prosecutor Fred Franklin that indicted Gardner for manslaughter. Days after the indictment, Gardner killed himself with a single bullet to the head.

The deaths of both Scurlock and Gardner gave rise to a toxic brew of misinformation, false claims, and competing political agendas. The two men, each with their own complicated backgrounds, were turned into caricatures. The twin tragedies amounted to an ugly and heartbreaking reflection of a painfully divided country. Here, Joe Sexton “elevates a made-for-social-media tragedy into a kaleidoscopic account of race, justice, and urban politics” (The New York Times Book Review)masterfully unpacking the whole twisted, nearly unbelievable chronicle and explaining which claims were true and which distorted or simply false. “A book of intense moral weight and integrity” (The Washington Post), The Lost Sons of Omaha involves some of the most pressing issues facing America today, including our country’s broken criminal justice system, the failure to care for the men and women who fight our wars, the dangerous spread of misinformation, particularly on social media, and the urgent need to band together in the collective pursuit of truth, fairness, and healing.

Accountable: The True Story of a Racist Social Media Account and the Teenagers Whose Lives It Changed by Dashka Slater

When a high school student started a private Instagram account that used racist and sexist memes to make his friends laugh, he thought of it as “edgy” humor. Over time, the edge got sharper. Then a few other kids found out about the account. Pretty soon, everyone knew.

Ultimately no one in the small town of Albany, California, was safe from the repercussions of the account’s discovery. Not the girls targeted by the posts. Not the boy who created the account. Not the group of kids who followed it. Not the adults―educators and parents―whose attempts to fix things too often made them worse.

In the end, no one was laughing. And everyone was left asking: Where does accountability end for online speech that harms? And what does accountability even mean?

Award-winning and New York Times–bestselling author Dashka Slater has written a must-read book for our era that explores the real-world consequences of online choices.

Categories: Adults and Blog.