The Cliff Dwellers Book Club will be discussing Angela Jackson’s novel, Where I Must Go, when we next meet on Saturday, June 25, at 11:00 am. Ms. Jackson has graciously accepted our invitation to be there and participate in the discussion. Where I Must Go is a fictionalized account of the lives of a group of African American students at a major and prestigious university located on the lakefront just north of the city of Chicago boundary line in the turbulent times of the late 1960s.
The Cliff Dwellers is located at 200 South Michigan on the 22nd floor. The book discussion is free, and usually lasts about an hour. Many in the group stay for lunch and continue the conversation then. Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you plan to come.
Next January marks the start of the third year of our book club at the historic Cliff Dwellers club. I have enjoyed my role as the book club facilitator during these first two years, and look forward to facilitating the discussions once again in 2016. We read a blend of contemporary and past fiction and non-fiction written by Chicago writers. Several of the contemporary authors join us each year as we discuss their books. The book club participants are thoroughly engaged, and the discussions are lively and opinionated. The sessions are informative and fun. Discussions are always on Saturdays, and we begin at 11:00 in the morning. We usually end the formal discussion at about 12:15. Participation in the book club is open to all, and the discussion is free. Many of us stay afterwards and lunch at the club. The Cliff Dwellers is located at 200 South Michigan, 22nd Floor, and the view of Chicago is magnificent. Email me at email@example.com if you have any questions. Here is the reading list:
January 23- The Old Bunch by Meyer Levin
February 27-The Third Coast by Thomas Dyja
March 19-The Beach Umbrella by Cyrus Colter
April 16-Set the Night on Fire by Libby Fischer Hellmann
May 28-Boss by Mike Royko
June 25-Where I Must Go by Angela Jackson
July 23-Moon-Calf by Floyd Dell
August 27-Peel My Love Like an Onion- by Ana Castillo
September 24-A Dream of Kings by Harry Mark Petrakis
October 22-The Fabulous Clipjoint by Frederick Brown
November 26-Many Lives, One Love by Fanny Butcher
Next Saturday (March 28) marks the 106th anniversary of the birth of Nelson Algren. The Algren enthusiast here in Chicago can celebrate his birthday all day long. Beginning at 11:00 am, Algren’s book Never Come Morning, will be discussed at the Cliff Dwellers book club, meeting at 200 S. Michigan. Then one can head north to Lakeview (Algren would have hated the term “Wrigleyville”) and view Michael Caplan’s fine documentary film, Algren, at the Music Box, located at 3733 N. Southport, at 2:00 pm, followed by a special birthday celebration. More festivities will take place that evening at the Bloomingdale Artists Building, 2418 W. Bloomingdale in Bucktown, where the Nelson Algren Committee will host Algren readings, music, and an homage to the love of Algren’s life, his very own “Frenchie,” Simone de Beauvoir.
The launch of the Saul Bellow Centenary celebration will take place with a dinner program at the Cliff Dwellers, 200 South Michigan Avenue, on Friday evening, February 27, beginning at 5:30 pm. I will moderate a panel discussing Bellow’s life and work that includes the writers Don Evans and Dina Elenbogen. There will be some readings from Bellow’s work, as well as an open forum for audience members to share their Bellow stories. The culminating event for the Bellow Centenary will be on the author’s 100th birthday on the evening of June 10, at the Cindy Pritzker Auditorium of the Harold Washington Library, and author Scott Turow will be the featured speaker.
If you are interested in attending the February 27 event, please make your reservations at firstname.lastname@example.org. The cost of the event, which includes the program, light appetizers and dinner, is $40 per person.
The Cliff Dwellers has been hosting thought provoking literary events since the club’s inception in 1907. Such literary giants as William Butler Yeats and Vachel Lindsay graced its rooms in the early years. Cognizant of this great tradition, we were somewhat wary launching the new Cliff Dwellers book club this past January. Yet after three stimulating and informative sessions, the book club has been a smashing success. We are indeed fortunate in having the authors participate in the next two scheduled sessions. On Saturday, April 26, Christine Sneed will discuss her novel “Little Known Facts,” while William Hazelgrove’s novel “The Pitcher” is up for discussion on Saturday, May 31. The book club sessions start at 11:00 am and end about 12:30 pm. Often discussions continue over lunch at the club. If you plan on attending as well as staying for lunch, please make a reservation at email@example.com. The club is located at 200 South Michigan, directly across the street from the Art Institute.
A long overdue homage to Ben Hecht will take place in Chicago at the Cliff Dwellers, the evening of Friday, November 15, 2013, as a prelude to his induction into the Chicago Literary Hall of Fame on December 7. Hecht’s impact on the Chicago literary scene was monumental. As a journalist, his memorable 1001 Afternoons in Chicago columns, written in the early Roaring Twenties of the last century, and eventually published as a book, describe ordinary Chicagoans in ordinary situations in the most extraordinary picturesque language. In his nearly fifteen years in Chicago, Hecht established himself as one of the top literary figures in the nation.
Distinguished Chicago literary personalities, Bill Savage and Paul Durica will be featured in the program. Cliff Dweller members, Jack Zimmerman, Eve Moran and myself will read stories from 1001 Afternoons in Chicago. The cost of the event is $45, which also includes a full dinner. A percentage of the proceeds will be donated to the Chicago Literary Hall of Fame.