Moderator: Richard Reeder (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Our book club is unique for two reasons. First of all, we feature either a Chicago-themed book and/or a Chicago author. Second, we often find that contemporary Chicago-based authors join us for a discussion of their books. We usually, but not always, meet on the fourth Saturday of the month. We start at 11:00 AM and the discussion continues to about noon. The discussion is open to members and the general public. Many of us stay for lunch afterwards.
February 25- Binga: The Rise and Fall of Chicago’s First Black Banker– Don Hayner (the author will be joining us)
March 18-Last Summer on State Street– Toya Wolfe
April 22- Death Before Life– John Gorman (the author will be joining us)
May 20- A Boy Named Shel: The Life and Times of Silverstein– Lisa Rogak
June 24- Speed of Dark– Patricia Ricketts (the author is a member of the Cliff Dwellers and will be joining us)
July 29- The World of Juliette Kinzie: Chicago Before The Fire- Ann Durkin Keating
August 26- Herzog– Saul Bellow
September 30- The Loop: The “L” Tracks That Shaped and Saved Chicago– Patrick Reardon (the author will be joining us)
October 28- Goddess of Anarchy: The Life and Times of Lucy Parsons, American Radical– Jacqueline Jones
November 18- Crying in the Bathroom: A Memoir– Erika Sanchez
I want to thank Devin Murphy, author of Tiny Americans and The Boat Runner, for what he wrote about my recently published novella. Here it is:
“An impeccably researched and imagined story. The Curious Odyssey of Rudolph Bloom delivers a choir of fascinating characters, piecing together shards of story that is larger than any of them can imagine. When Oscar Wilde and Bram Stoker discover the heart of the story, the rich life of Rudolph, they usher in the proper reverence. Richard Reeder has picked up Joyce’s famous story and delivered his own captivating myth.”
This is the lovely cover of my new novella, The Curious Odyssey of Rudolph Bloom, which will be released February 2, 2022, the centennial of the publication of James Joyce’s Ulysses. The book tells the story of the life and death of Rudolph Bloom, the father of Leopold. Rudolph had a most fascinating life, and thanks to literary luminaries Oscar Wilde and Bram Stoker, Rudolph’s most curious story is now revealed. It is the first ever prequel to Joyce’s Ulysses. Pre-orders are now available through my publisher Propertius Press. Just click on the link below and go to the CHECK OUT OUR LATEST BOOKS! box.
Kurt Meyer (holding the book), the President of the Hamlin Garland Society, paid a recent visit to the Cliff Dwellers Club. He met with Club President Carla Funk (on the right), Club Vice-President Joan Pantsios (on the left), and me, the Club Secretary (between Kurt and Carla). A portrait of Garland is behind us.
Hamlin Garland was a prominent American literary figure in the first three decades of the 20th Century. He won the Pulitzer Prize in 1922 for the biography, A Daughter of the Middle Border. He was one of the charter members of the Cliff Dwellers, and the Club’s first President.
An outcome of Kurt’s visit was an agreement to start planning programs at the Cliff Dwellers on the works and life of Garland in partnership with the Hamlin Garland Society.
Mary Wisniewski, the author of the outstanding biography “Algren: A Life,” will be our special guest for the Cliff Dwellers book club discussion of Algren’s “Chicago: City on the Make” on Saturday morning, September 25th. It will be a virtual discussion, that begins at 11:00 A.M. and ends at Noon. If any of you are interested in joining this discussion, please contact me at email@example.com, and I will send you the Zoom access information.
I never cease to be amazed when an artist can transform a mundane item into an objet d’art. My very talented cousin, Harriet Winograd, has a created series of portraits of distinguished women painted on hubcaps. One is of the poet Emily Dickinson, featured on this post. Harriet has included the opening line and title of Dickinson’s poem “ Hope is the thing with feathers” on the hubcap as well. Here is the first stanza of the poem:
“Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune without words,
And never stops at all,
Thadious Davis is a Professor Emerita of English at the University of Pennsylvania. She is one of the leading Black scholars of the work of William Faulkner. She is the author of Faulkner’s “Negro”: Art and the Southern Context (1982), and Games of Property: Law, Race, Gender, and Faulkner’s Go Down Moses (2003). Here are two snippets from Faulkner’s “Negro” that I want to share with you:
“ Faulkner has created a mythical region out of his own imagination and his creative understanding of the South, her traditions and legacies. Since then he has scrutinized his created world and set it forth in minute detail which ultimately magnifies the most significant aspects of the human situation. His characters (the Sartorises, and Compsons, Dilsey and Nancy, the Sutpens and Snopeses alike) are people caught in the act of life, and they are distinctly southern, not incidentally but by dint of his conscious, repeated design. His intense probing of the human condition urges the reader to interact imaginatively in translating the experience of the exposed people of the South into symbolic meaning.”
“Unfortunately, his (Faulkner’s) ‘ Negro’ has often received critical attention solely because of the sociological implications relating to southern society. The focus is on discovering Faulkner’s ‘real’ feelings or attitudes toward blacks, at the expense of viewing his people as characters. In addition, identifying Faulkner the Mississippian too closely with his individual characters or narrators has resulted in some hysterical and misleading writing on the race issue in his fiction.”
Ellen Blum Barish will be relaunching the popular Max and Benny’s author series on Monday evening, July 19. The series will be starting its 11th year. I will be in conversation with Ellen that evening as we discuss her recently published memoir, Seven Springs. The presentation begins at 7:00 PM. Seating is limited, so please make your reservation for the event at www.maxandbennys.com.
Penelope Fitzgerald’s novel, The Bookshop, is truly a delightful book. It tells the story of Florence Green, a World War Two widow, who opens a bookstore in a long-abandoned centuries-old house in a small town in Suffolk. It’s a tale of Florence’s courage to go ahead with the bookshop despite the opposition of the most powerful woman in town who had designs to make the ancient house a community arts center.
Fitzgerald believed that the world we live in is divided in her own words of “exterminators and exterminatees.” And the spunky Florence falls into the latter category, as the powerful Mrs. Gamart triumphs in the end. Yet her grace and tenacity in fighting the good fight to the end are inspiring.
Penelope Fitzgerald began her literary career rather late in life at age 58. Her first novel was published at age 60. She soon received literary recognition as her third novel, The Bookshop, was shortlisted for the Booker Prize in 1978. The following year, her novel Offshore, won the Booker Prize. Both these novels reflected true life experiences of the author, who had worked in a Suffolk bookshop and lived on a barge on the Thames.
CELEBRATE BLOOMSDAY 2021 IN THE CHICAGO AREA!
READ A FAVORITE PASSAGE OF YOURS FROM ULYSSES
MEET AND MINGLE WITH FELLOW BLOOMITES
JUST HAVE FUN
JUNE 16, 2021
GARDEN PATIO OF ILLINOIS SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
PARK IN SKOKIE
STREET PARKING ON THE 8000 AND 8100 BLOCKS OF NILES AVENUE.
AT 8100 NILES AVENUE, LOOK FOR FIRST PAVED PATH LEADING EAST. IT GOES DIRECTLY INTO THE GARDEN PATIO.
LIMITED SEATING. YOU MIGHT WANT TO BRING A FOLDING CHAIR.
firstname.lastname@example.org if you have questions.