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 Pulitzer Prize

The 2024 Pulitzer Prizes were announced last week. Established in 1917 by provisions in the will of newspaper publisher Joseph Pulitzer, prizes are awarded yearly in twenty-one categories. For our purposes, we’ll skip the journalism awards and focus on the book categories. But don’t let that stop you from visiting the Pulitzer Website and exploring all the awards.

Fiction
Night Watch by Jayne Anne Phillips

In 1874, in the wake of the War, erasure, trauma, and namelessness haunt civilians and veterans, renegades and wanderers, freedmen and runaways. Twelve-year-old ConaLee, the adult in her family for as long as she can remember, finds herself on a buckboard journey with her mother, Eliza, who hasn’t spoken in more than a year. They arrive at the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum in West Virginia, delivered to the hospital’s entrance by a war veteran who has forced himself into their world. There, far from family, a beloved neighbor, and the mountain home they knew, they try to reclaim their lives.

The omnipresent vagaries of war and race rise to the surface as we learn their story: their flight to the highest mountain ridges of western Virginia; the disappearance of ConaLee’s father, who left for the War and never returned. Meanwhile, in the asylum, they begin to find a new path. ConaLee pretends to be her mother’s maid; Eliza responds slowly to treatment. They get swept up in the life of the facility—the mysterious man they call the Night Watch; the orphan child called Weed; the fearsome woman who runs the kitchen; the remarkable doctor at the head of the institution.

History
No Right to an Honest Living: The Struggles of Boston’s Black Workers in the Civil War Era
by Jacqueline Jones

Impassioned antislavery rhetoric made antebellum Boston famous as the nation’s hub of radical abolitionism. In fact, however, the city was far from a beacon of equality. 
 
In No Right to an Honest Living, historian Jacqueline Jones reveals how Boston was the United States writ small: a place where the soaring rhetoric of egalitarianism was easy, but justice in the workplace was elusive. Before, during, and after the Civil War, white abolitionists and Republicans refused to secure equal employment opportunity for Black Bostonians, condemning most of them to poverty. Still, Jones finds, some Black entrepreneurs ingeniously created their own jobs and forged their own career paths. 
 
Highlighting the everyday struggles of ordinary Black workers, this book shows how injustice in the workplace prevented Boston—and the United States—from securing true equality for all. 

Memoir or Autobiography
Liliana’s Invincible Summer: A Sister’s Search for Justice by Cristina Rivera Garza

October 18, 2019. Cristina Rivera Garza travels from her home in Texas to Mexico City, in search of an old, unresolved criminal file. “My name is Cristina Rivera Garza,” she writes in her request to the attorney general, “and I am writing to you as a relative of Liliana Rivera Garza, who was murdered on July 16, 1990.” It’s been twenty-nine years. Twenty-nine years, three months, and two days since Liliana was murdered by an abusive ex-boyfriend. Inspired by feminist movements across the world and enraged by the global epidemic of femicide and intimate partner violence, Cristina embarks on a path toward justice. Liliana’s Invincible Summer is the account—and the outcome—of that quest .

In luminous, poetic prose, Rivera Garza tells a singular yet universally resonant story: Liliana is a spirited, wondrously hopeful young woman who tried to survive in a world of increasingly normalized gendered violence. Rivera Garza traces her sister’s history, depicting everything from Liliana’s early romance with a handsome but possessive and short-tempered man to that exhilarating final summer of 1990 when she loved, thought, and traveled more widely and freely than she ever had before.

Using her skills as an acclaimed scholar, novelist, and poet, Rivera Garza collected and curated evidence—handwritten letters, police reports, school notebooks, interviews with Liliana’s loved ones—to document her sister’s life. Through this remarkable and genre-defying memoir, she confronts the trauma of losing her sister and examines how this tragedy continues to shape who she is—and what she fights for—today.

Biography
King: A Life
by Jonathan Eig

Vividly written and exhaustively researched, Jonathan Eig’s King: A Life is the first major biography in decades of the civil rights icon Martin Luther King Jr.―and the first to include recently declassified FBI files. In this revelatory new portrait of the preacher and activist who shook the world, the bestselling biographer gives us an intimate view of the courageous and often emotionally troubled human being who demanded peaceful protest for his movement but was rarely at peace with himself. He casts fresh light on the King family’s origins as well as MLK’s complex relationships with his wife, father, and fellow activists. King reveals a minister wrestling with his own human frailties and dark moods, a citizen hunted by his own government, and a man determined to fight for justice even if it proved to be a fight to the death. As he follows MLK from the classroom to the pulpit to the streets of Birmingham, Selma, and Memphis, Eig dramatically re-creates the journey of a man who recast American race relations and became our only modern-day founding father―as well as the nation’s most mourned martyr.

In this landmark biography, Eig gives us an MLK for our times: a deep thinker, a brilliant strategist, and a committed radical who led one of history’s greatest movements, and whose demands for racial and economic justice remain as urgent today as they were in his lifetime.

Biography
Master Slave Husband Wife: An Epic Journey from Slavery to Freedom by Ilyon Woo

In 1848, a year of international democratic revolt, a young, enslaved couple, Ellen and William Craft, achieved one of the boldest feats of self-emancipation in American history. Posing as master and slave, while sustained by their love as husband and wife, they made their escape together across more than 1,000 miles, riding out in the open on steamboats, carriages, and trains that took them from bondage in Georgia to the free states of the North.

Along the way, they dodged slave traders, military officers, and even friends of their enslavers, who might have revealed their true identities. The tale of their adventure soon made them celebrities, and generated headlines around the country. Americans could not get enough of this charismatic young couple, who traveled another 1,000 miles criss-crossing New England, drawing thunderous applause as they spoke alongside some of the greatest abolitionist luminaries of the day—among them Frederick Douglass and William Wells Brown.

But even then, they were not out of danger. With the passage of an infamous new Fugitive Slave Act in 1850, all Americans became accountable for returning refugees like the Crafts to slavery. Then yet another adventure began, as slave hunters came up from Georgia, forcing the Crafts to flee once again—this time from the United States, their lives and thousands more on the line and the stakes never higher.

General Nonfiction
A Day in the Life of Abed Salama: Anatomy of a Jerusalem Tragedy by Nathan Thrall

Five-year-old Milad Salama is excited for a school trip to a theme park on the outskirts of Jerusalem. On the way, his bus collides with a semitrailer. His father, Abed, gets word of the crash and rushes to the site. The scene is chaos―the children have been taken to different hospitals in Jerusalem and the West Bank; some are missing, others cannot be identified. Abed sets off on an odyssey to learn Milad’s fate. It is every parent’s worst nightmare, but for Abed it is compounded by the maze of physical, emotional, and bureaucratic obstacles he must navigate because he is Palestinian. He is on the wrong side of the separation wall, holds the wrong ID to pass the military checkpoints, and has the wrong papers to enter the city of Jerusalem. Abed’s quest to find Milad is interwoven with the stories of a cast of Jewish and Palestinian characters whose lives and histories unexpectedly converge.

In A Day in the Life of Abed Salama, Nathan Thrall―hailed for his “severe allergy to conventional wisdom” (Time)―offers an indelibly human portrait of the struggle over Israel/Palestine and a new understanding of the tragic history and reality of one of the most contested places on earth.

Poetry
Tripas: Poems by Brandon Som

With Tripas, Brandon Som follows up his award-winning debut with a book of poems built out of a multicultural, multigenerational childhood home, in which he celebrates his Chicana grandmother, who worked nights on the assembly line at Motorola, and his Chinese American father and grandparents, who ran the family corner store. Enacting a cómo se dice poetics, a dialogic poem-making that inventively listens to heritage languages and transcribes family memory, Som participates in a practice of mem(oir), placing each poem’s ear toward a confluence of history, labor, and languages, while also enacting a kind of “telephone” between cultures. Invested in the circuitry and circuitous routes of migration and labor, Som’s lyricism weaves together the narratives of his transnational communities, bringing to light what is overshadowed in the reckless transit of global capitalism and imagining a world otherwise―one attuned to the echo in the hecho, the oracle in the órale.

Categories: Adults and Blog.

2024 Pulitzer Prize

The 2024 Pulitzer Prizes were announced last week. Established in 1917 by provisions in the will of newspaper publisher Joseph Pulitzer, prizes are awarded yearly in twenty-one categories. For our purposes, we’ll skip the journalism awards and focus on the book categories. But don’t let that stop you from visiting the Pulitzer Website and exploring all the awards.

Fiction
Night Watch by Jayne Anne Phillips

In 1874, in the wake of the War, erasure, trauma, and namelessness haunt civilians and veterans, renegades and wanderers, freedmen and runaways. Twelve-year-old ConaLee, the adult in her family for as long as she can remember, finds herself on a buckboard journey with her mother, Eliza, who hasn’t spoken in more than a year. They arrive at the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum in West Virginia, delivered to the hospital’s entrance by a war veteran who has forced himself into their world. There, far from family, a beloved neighbor, and the mountain home they knew, they try to reclaim their lives.

The omnipresent vagaries of war and race rise to the surface as we learn their story: their flight to the highest mountain ridges of western Virginia; the disappearance of ConaLee’s father, who left for the War and never returned. Meanwhile, in the asylum, they begin to find a new path. ConaLee pretends to be her mother’s maid; Eliza responds slowly to treatment. They get swept up in the life of the facility—the mysterious man they call the Night Watch; the orphan child called Weed; the fearsome woman who runs the kitchen; the remarkable doctor at the head of the institution.

History
No Right to an Honest Living: The Struggles of Boston’s Black Workers in the Civil War Era
by Jacqueline Jones

Impassioned antislavery rhetoric made antebellum Boston famous as the nation’s hub of radical abolitionism. In fact, however, the city was far from a beacon of equality. 
 
In No Right to an Honest Living, historian Jacqueline Jones reveals how Boston was the United States writ small: a place where the soaring rhetoric of egalitarianism was easy, but justice in the workplace was elusive. Before, during, and after the Civil War, white abolitionists and Republicans refused to secure equal employment opportunity for Black Bostonians, condemning most of them to poverty. Still, Jones finds, some Black entrepreneurs ingeniously created their own jobs and forged their own career paths. 
 
Highlighting the everyday struggles of ordinary Black workers, this book shows how injustice in the workplace prevented Boston—and the United States—from securing true equality for all. 

Memoir or Autobiography
Liliana’s Invincible Summer: A Sister’s Search for Justice by Cristina Rivera Garza

October 18, 2019. Cristina Rivera Garza travels from her home in Texas to Mexico City, in search of an old, unresolved criminal file. “My name is Cristina Rivera Garza,” she writes in her request to the attorney general, “and I am writing to you as a relative of Liliana Rivera Garza, who was murdered on July 16, 1990.” It’s been twenty-nine years. Twenty-nine years, three months, and two days since Liliana was murdered by an abusive ex-boyfriend. Inspired by feminist movements across the world and enraged by the global epidemic of femicide and intimate partner violence, Cristina embarks on a path toward justice. Liliana’s Invincible Summer is the account—and the outcome—of that quest .

In luminous, poetic prose, Rivera Garza tells a singular yet universally resonant story: Liliana is a spirited, wondrously hopeful young woman who tried to survive in a world of increasingly normalized gendered violence. Rivera Garza traces her sister’s history, depicting everything from Liliana’s early romance with a handsome but possessive and short-tempered man to that exhilarating final summer of 1990 when she loved, thought, and traveled more widely and freely than she ever had before.

Using her skills as an acclaimed scholar, novelist, and poet, Rivera Garza collected and curated evidence—handwritten letters, police reports, school notebooks, interviews with Liliana’s loved ones—to document her sister’s life. Through this remarkable and genre-defying memoir, she confronts the trauma of losing her sister and examines how this tragedy continues to shape who she is—and what she fights for—today.

Biography
King: A Life
by Jonathan Eig

Vividly written and exhaustively researched, Jonathan Eig’s King: A Life is the first major biography in decades of the civil rights icon Martin Luther King Jr.―and the first to include recently declassified FBI files. In this revelatory new portrait of the preacher and activist who shook the world, the bestselling biographer gives us an intimate view of the courageous and often emotionally troubled human being who demanded peaceful protest for his movement but was rarely at peace with himself. He casts fresh light on the King family’s origins as well as MLK’s complex relationships with his wife, father, and fellow activists. King reveals a minister wrestling with his own human frailties and dark moods, a citizen hunted by his own government, and a man determined to fight for justice even if it proved to be a fight to the death. As he follows MLK from the classroom to the pulpit to the streets of Birmingham, Selma, and Memphis, Eig dramatically re-creates the journey of a man who recast American race relations and became our only modern-day founding father―as well as the nation’s most mourned martyr.

In this landmark biography, Eig gives us an MLK for our times: a deep thinker, a brilliant strategist, and a committed radical who led one of history’s greatest movements, and whose demands for racial and economic justice remain as urgent today as they were in his lifetime.

Biography
Master Slave Husband Wife: An Epic Journey from Slavery to Freedom by Ilyon Woo

In 1848, a year of international democratic revolt, a young, enslaved couple, Ellen and William Craft, achieved one of the boldest feats of self-emancipation in American history. Posing as master and slave, while sustained by their love as husband and wife, they made their escape together across more than 1,000 miles, riding out in the open on steamboats, carriages, and trains that took them from bondage in Georgia to the free states of the North.

Along the way, they dodged slave traders, military officers, and even friends of their enslavers, who might have revealed their true identities. The tale of their adventure soon made them celebrities, and generated headlines around the country. Americans could not get enough of this charismatic young couple, who traveled another 1,000 miles criss-crossing New England, drawing thunderous applause as they spoke alongside some of the greatest abolitionist luminaries of the day—among them Frederick Douglass and William Wells Brown.

But even then, they were not out of danger. With the passage of an infamous new Fugitive Slave Act in 1850, all Americans became accountable for returning refugees like the Crafts to slavery. Then yet another adventure began, as slave hunters came up from Georgia, forcing the Crafts to flee once again—this time from the United States, their lives and thousands more on the line and the stakes never higher.

General Nonfiction
A Day in the Life of Abed Salama: Anatomy of a Jerusalem Tragedy by Nathan Thrall

Five-year-old Milad Salama is excited for a school trip to a theme park on the outskirts of Jerusalem. On the way, his bus collides with a semitrailer. His father, Abed, gets word of the crash and rushes to the site. The scene is chaos―the children have been taken to different hospitals in Jerusalem and the West Bank; some are missing, others cannot be identified. Abed sets off on an odyssey to learn Milad’s fate. It is every parent’s worst nightmare, but for Abed it is compounded by the maze of physical, emotional, and bureaucratic obstacles he must navigate because he is Palestinian. He is on the wrong side of the separation wall, holds the wrong ID to pass the military checkpoints, and has the wrong papers to enter the city of Jerusalem. Abed’s quest to find Milad is interwoven with the stories of a cast of Jewish and Palestinian characters whose lives and histories unexpectedly converge.

In A Day in the Life of Abed Salama, Nathan Thrall―hailed for his “severe allergy to conventional wisdom” (Time)―offers an indelibly human portrait of the struggle over Israel/Palestine and a new understanding of the tragic history and reality of one of the most contested places on earth.

Poetry
Tripas: Poems by Brandon Som

With Tripas, Brandon Som follows up his award-winning debut with a book of poems built out of a multicultural, multigenerational childhood home, in which he celebrates his Chicana grandmother, who worked nights on the assembly line at Motorola, and his Chinese American father and grandparents, who ran the family corner store. Enacting a cómo se dice poetics, a dialogic poem-making that inventively listens to heritage languages and transcribes family memory, Som participates in a practice of mem(oir), placing each poem’s ear toward a confluence of history, labor, and languages, while also enacting a kind of “telephone” between cultures. Invested in the circuitry and circuitous routes of migration and labor, Som’s lyricism weaves together the narratives of his transnational communities, bringing to light what is overshadowed in the reckless transit of global capitalism and imagining a world otherwise―one attuned to the echo in the hecho, the oracle in the órale.

Categories: Adults and Blog.