Saul Bellow Centennial

SaulBellow, 1990This year marks the 100th anniversary of the birth of author Saul Bellow, born on June 10, 1915. During his lifetime, no Chicago author achieved more national and international prominence than Bellow. He is the only American writer to have won the Nobel Prize for Literature, the Pulitzer Prize, and to have been awarded the National Book Award three times. Bellow’s social and political views remain controversial, and I am sure that there are many Bellow disparagers reading this post right now, but it is incontrovertible that Bellow was one of the most significant American writers in the twentieth century.

His life and work will be recognized and discussed this year with events throughout the Chicago area. The Chicago Literary Hall of Fame, Chicago Public Library, Highland Park Library, the Cliff Dwellers Club, Chicago Jewish Authors Literary Series and the Chicago Jewish Historical Society have already scheduled events. I will soon post a full schedule of these, but please note that the Bellow Centennial launch event is Friday evening, February 27, at the Cliff Dwellers, 200 South Michigan. There will be a stimulating program that evening, with a dinner following. The particulars will be posted soon.

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My 2014 Reading List

At the request of many of my blog readers who are looking for book recommendations, I am posting a list of books that I read in 2014. They are in descending order, beginning with January and ending in December. Many of the readings are connected with the classes that I teach and the book clubs that I am involved with, as well as my interest in the Man Booker Prize competition.

My Beloved Life– Sonia Sotomayor

The Cliff Dwellers– Henry Blake Fuller

Identical –Scott Turow

Dear Life  -Alice Munro

The Temple of Air- Patricia Ann McNair

The Brooklyn Follies– Paul Auster

You Know Me Al- Ring Lardner

Mission to Paris-Alan Furst

Little Failure-Gary Shteyngart

Gypsy Music Street-Roberta Dietzen

Here and Now-J.M. Coetzee and Paul Auster

Little Known Facts-Christine Sneed

Destiny of the Republic-Candice Millard

The Pitcher-William Hazelgrove

A Petrakis Reader-Harry Mark Petrakis

The Goldfinch– Donna Tartt

A Dream of Kings-Harry Mark Petrakis

Richard Wright: A Biography: Hazel Rowley

Ben Hecht: The Man and the Legend-William MacAdams

The Old Bunch-Meyer Levin

1001 Afternoons in Chicago-Ben Hecht

The Coast of Chicago-Stuart Dybek

So Big-Edna Ferber

One More Time– Mike Royko

Stories of Chicago-George Ade

Can’t and Won’t-Lydia Davis

The New Jim Crow-Michelle Alexander

A Child of the Century-Ben Hecht

The Blazing World-Siri Hustvedt

History of the Rain-Niall Williams

Orfeo-Richard Powers

We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves-Karen Joy Fowler

To Rise Again at a Decent Hour-Joshua Ferris

Once We Were Brothers-Ronald Balson

Shall We Not Revenge-J.M. Pirrone

The Narrow Road to the Deep North-Richard Flanagan

Maude Martha-Gwendolyn Brooks

The River of Doubt-Candice Millard

“J”-Howard Jacobson

How to be Both-Ali Smith

The Lives of Others– Neel Mukherjee

After Visiting Friends-Michael Hainey

Americanah-Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

The Children Act-Ian McEwan

The Twirler-Lester Mehlman

Fred Astaire-Joseph Epstein

Diversey– MacKinley Kantor

Critical Mass-Sara Paretsky

Locked Down, Locked Out-Maya Schenwar

The Adventures of Augie March-Saul Bellow

Humboldt’s Gift-Saul Bellow

Mr. Sammler’s Planet-Saul Bellow

Herzog-Saul Bellow