A Chicago Area Connection to Joyce’s Ulysses

The Scottish born evangelist John Alexander Dowie is mentioned in four chapters of Ulysses. Dowie believed he was the third incarnation of the prophet Elijah, following Elijah himself and John the Baptist. He was fond of wearing Elijah-like clothing quite often, especially when he was touring the world from “Frisco beach to Vladivostok” to raise funds for his holy city of Zion, situated thirty miles or so north of Chicago. The “throwaway” of a paper flyer announcing Dowie’s upcoming evangelical meeting in Dublin plays a major role in the book’s narrative.

Ethan Michaeli at Emanuel Congregation on Sunday Morning April 30

Ethan Michaeli is the next featured presenter this year in Emanuel Congregation’s Sunday morning lecture series on April 30 at 10:30. Mr. Michaeli, is the author of the highly acclaimed book The Defender: How the Legendary Black Newspaper Changed America, which was named as a Notable Book of 2016 by the New York Times. His presentation at Emanuel however will focus on the new book he is writing entitled Twelve Tribes: Promise and Peril in the New Israel. In this book he weaves together “the personal histories of Holocaust survivors, tech millionaires, Torah scholars, Ethiopian immigrants, Russian refuseniks, West Bank settlers and Palestinians into a narrative of social and political change.” The lecture is free and open to the public. Emanuel Congregation is located at 5959 N. Sheridan Road in Chicago’s Edgewater community.

Two April Events Featuring Renee Rosen

Renee Rosen is one of my favorite contemporary authors writing novels based on Chicago social history. Her 2014 book, What the Lady Wants, brilliantly tells the story of Marshall Field, both as the great Chicago businessman, as well as a man deeply conflicted in his personal life. Renee’s recently published book, Windy City Blues, is a tale of an interracial love affair set in the context of Chicago’s iconic Chess Records and the Civil Rights movement. I will be facilitating two events with Renee this month. On Saturday morning, April 22, at 11:00 she will be discussing What the Lady Wants at the Cliff Dwellers book club at 200 S. Michigan Avenue downtown. Two days later, on the evening of April 24, at 7:00, Renee is the featured author at the Max and Benny’s book series where she will be presenting on Windy City Blues. Both of these events will be well attended, so if you plan to go to one or both, please contact me for further information on reserving a place at richardreeder34@gmail.com or on the Comment section of this post.

My Class on Bernard Malamud’s Short Stories

The author Bernard Malamud is best known for two of his novels, The Natural and The Fixer, both of which were made into very successful movies. However Malamud also wrote many short stories, over the course of some forty years, which feature an amazing gamut of colorful and memorable characters, as well as compelling narrative lines. I will be teaching a course on Malamud’s short stories at Oakton Community College’s Emeritus Program beginning May 2nd. The course will consist of four ninety-minute sessions, meeting on consecutive Tuesday mornings from 10:00 to 11:30, concluding on May 23rd. For information on how to register for the course, which is called “Bernard Malamud’s Stories,” please go to http://www.oakton.edu/conted.

The End of The Red Book


This a sad post, discussing the demise of a book, non-literary in content, that was part of my life for the last 43 years. I’m talking about the end of the print edition of Who’s Who in Baseball, popularly referred to as The Red Book. I starting buying The Red Book in 1973, in the age before Google. It contained statistics of active Major League ballplayers, going back to their Minor League and foreign baseball careers as well. It was my constant companion as I watched a baseball game on TV at home, always ready to tell me a pertinent stat on a player. I never threw copies of The Red Book away, stacking them neatly, side-by-side on a shelf in my basement. But now the age of Google is in few swing, and the print edition of The Red Book  has become a relic.

Steven Gan Next Featured Author at Max and Benny’s

What motivated a nice Jewish young man from Northbrook to move to Japan for fifteen years and become a debt collector there? Well Steven Gan has just written his tell all first book, “Making It & Breaking It in Japan” relating his commercial adventures in the Land of the Rising Sun. Some of these adventures were indeed perilous as Gan confronted the Japanese Mafia. He even wound up in the clink in Tokyo. But now Gan is back in Northbrook, safe and sound, and he will tell his story at Max and Benny’s on Monday evening, March 27, starting at 7:00 p.m. Come early to get a good seat and eat before the presentation.