Beth Finke Speaks at Max and Benny’s on September 16

Over the years, I had heard many wonderful things about Beth Finke. These words of praise were mostly from seniors who had taken one of memoir writing classes. And finally, at the celebration of International Women’s Day this past March at the Cliff Dwellers, I met Beth and heard her speak to a full house, that included sixty young women who were high school students in Chicago.
Beth, who is blind, is a truly outstanding inspirational speaker. She captivated the audience, students and adults alike, through a telling of powerful anecdotes relating her significant obstacles in life and how she devised strategies to overcome them. Beth is a master of interjecting humor into her stories, just at the right time, to lighten the mood for her listeners.
Two years ago, Beth wrote a book entitled Writing Out Loud. The subtitle of the book is “what a blind teacher learned from leading a memoir class for seniors.” I read the book and was blown away by the wonderful stories of these senior memoir writers.
I invited Beth to speak at an author night at Max and Benny’s. She graciously accepted and will speak there on Monday evening September 16, starting at 7:00 pm. Registration for Beth’s event is now open and can be found at “Upcoming Events” on the Max and Benny’s website


Upcoming Literary Events

January and February are the perfect months to attend literary events in Chicago. The weather outside is usually horrid; thus, limiting our outdoor activities. It is truly a time conducive to listening to authors discuss their books. Here is an interesting lineup of author events for you to consider at three separate venues starting next month:
January 27-Stuart Dybek will be discussing “Coast of Chicago.”
February 22-Angela Jackson will be discussing “A Surprised Queenhood in the New Black Sun: The Life & Legacy of Gwendolyn Brooks.”
The Cliff Dwellers Book Club
200 South Michigan Avenue, Chicago.
Discussion begins at 11:00 am
Free and open to the public. Lunch is available at the club after the discussion.

January 14-Devin Murphy will be discussing “The Boat Runner.”
February 11-Renee Rosen will be discussing “Windy City Blues.”
Emanuel Congregation Speakers Series
5959 North Sheridan Road,
Chicago. Discussion begins at 10:15 am
Free and open to the public

January 15-Ronald Balson will be discussing “The Trust.”
February 26-Laurie Levy will be discussing “The Stendhal Summer.”
Max and Benny’s Author Series
461 Waukegan Road, Northbrook. Discussion begins at 7:00 pm
No admission charge for speaker. Attendees order food off the menu.
If interested in attending any of these, rsvp at

In Conversation with Carol Felsenthal at Max and Benny’s on June 26

Carol Felsenthal is one of Chicago’s most knowledgeable and insightful political observers. An accomplished author, Carol has written biographies of Alice Roosevelt Longworth, Katharine Graham and Bill Clinton among others. You often hear Carol on local television and radio shows as a commentator. She has written extensively on political and social matters for Chicago magazine, where she also blogs at In addition, her blog posts can be found on Politico, the New Republic, The Hill and the Huffington Post. She will join us at Max and Benny’s on Monday evening, June 26, in a political conversation about what’s happening on the local and national scenes. It should be a fascinating discussion. The program starts at 7:00 p.m. Max and Benny’s is located at 461 Waukegan Road in Northbrook.