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.

Eric Charles May Discusses “Bedrock Faith” at Cliff Dwellers in March

bedrock-faith-cover

The Cliff Dwellers next book club on Saturday morning March 25 features Eric Charles May as he discusses his novel Bedrock Faith. The book, written in 2014, grabs the reader in so many different ways as it is poignant, amusing and tragic, often in the same chapter. But it does grab you, and you remain fixed on the book until its conclusion. Set in a middle-class African American community on Chicago’s Far South Side, the author brilliantly narrates the challenge of a cohesive group of long settled residents dealing with the horrific actions of a mentally unhinged neighbor. The discussion begins at 11 and is free and open to the public. Mr. May will be staying afterwards for lunch, which you do need to make a reservation at reservations@cliff-chicago.org.