Upcoming Events

June 2 | Online Event by Bookends University | 3:00 PM: Writing Buddies

June 4 | In-Store Event | 6:00 PM: Nash Jenkins and Rebecca Makkai: a Campus Novel Symposium and Paperback Launch

June 7 | In-Store Event | 6:00 PM: Lawrence Wood with Bob Mankoff: Your Caption Has Been Selected: More Than Anyone Could Possibly Want to Know About The New Yorker Cartoon Caption Contest 

June 10 | In-Store Event | 6:00 PM: Writers at Work: A Bookends University Book Club

June 11 | Off-Site Event | 7:00 PM: Amy Tan in conversation with Field Museum Ornithologists Shannon Hackett and John Bates: The Backyard Bird Chronicles

June 18 | In-Store Event | 6:00 PM: LitWits Trivia

June 19 | In-Store Event | 6:00 PM: Robert Creamer: Nuts and Bolts: The Formula for Progressive Electoral Success

June 20 | In-Store Event | 6:00 PM: Al Yellon in conversation with Bruce Miles: Chicago Cubs Firsts: The Players, Moments, and Records That Were First in Team History

June 22 | In-Store Event | 11:00 AM: Gene Kannenberg, Jr.: Here Comes Charlie Brown! A PEANUTS Pop-Up

June 26 | Off-Site Event with WBEZ | 7:30 PM: Dr. Anthony Fauci in conversation with Sasha-Ann Simons: On Call

June 29 | In-Store Event | 6:00 PM: RHINO Poetry with Jameka Williams, Matt Kelsey, and Rebecca Morgan Frank

Heads Up! July 17 | In-Store Event | 6:00 PM: The Read It & Meet Evanston Book Club: Politics Is for Power, led by Mayor Daniel Biss

An Online Workshop from Bookends University

Writing Buddies: Accountability, Support, and Time to Write!

Sunday, June 2, 2024 @ 3:00 PM

Writing Buddies returns for a 10-week summer session!

Calling all writers—of any level of experience: Are you ready to make a weekly commitment to yourself? Join Writing Buddies! This online writing group is intended to be friendly, flexible, affordable, and encouraging.

Writing Buddies will meet every Sunday afternoon for ninety minutes, from June 2 through August 11 (no meeting on June 16). The schedule will follow this general structure:

3:00-3:15: Checking in and stating intentions

3:15-4:15: Quiet writing time, with optional writing prompts offered on your screen

4:15-4:30: Reporting back in small breakout rooms and sharing work, as time allows

Writing Buddies will be moderated by Bookends University programming director Freda Love Smith. Please email Freda with any questions: freda@bookendsandbeginnings.com

Tuition for the entirety of the ten week course is $45.

Register Here

An In-Store Event at Bookends & Beginnings

Writing the Campus Novel: a Symposium and Launch with Nash Jenkins and Rebecca Makkai

Tuesday, June 4 @ 6:00 PM

From Charlotte Brontë's Villette and Tom Brown's School Days to modern classics like A Separate Peace and Never Let Me Go, the particular setting of boarding school has captivated readers again and again. On Tuesday, June 4, Chicago authors Nash Jenkins (Foster Dade Explores the Cosmos) and Rebecca Makkai (I Have Some Questions for You and The Great Believers) will discuss why the campus novel maintains such a hold on readers' attention and imagination.

This event is also the launch party for the paperback edition of Foster Dade Explores the Cosmos, Nash Jenkins' dazzling debut novel. Foster Dade Explores the Cosmos is about privilege and power, the pitfalls of masculinity and its expectations, and, most distinctly, how we create the mythologies that give meaning to our lives. Nash Jenkins brilliantly captures the emotional intensities of adolescence in the dizzying early years of the twenty-first century. Nash Jenkins and Rebecca Makkai will both be available to sign their books.

From 5-6 pm, we'll be having a meet-and-greet with the authors at the MiniBar. Come have a drink and chat before the symposium begins at 6:00. At 7:00, the authors will be available for signing.

This is a free event. Please register through Eventbrite.

Register Here

An In-Store Event at Bookends & Beginnings

Lawrence Wood with Bob Mankoff: Your Caption Has Been Selected, a Book Launch and Caption Contest

Friday, June 7 @ 6:00 PM


Chicagoan Lawrence Wood holds the record number of wins for the iconic New Yorker Caption Contest, with eight trophy captions under his belt. To celebrate the publication of his new book Your Caption Has Been Selected: More Than Anyone Could Possibly Want to Know About The New Yorker Cartoon Caption Contest, Bookends & Beginnings is hosting an exclusive conversation between him and legendary New Yorker cartoon editor Bob Mankoff—accompanied by a special caption contest in which all registered attendees are invited to participate.

How it works: Doors will open for the event at 5:00 pm, with an informal meet-and-greet in our downstairs MiniBar. Anyone wishing to participate in the contest will be provided with an uncaptioned cartoon by Bob Mankoff himself, and will then have until 5:45 to invent a caption. At 5:45, submissions will be collected and Larry Wood will begin judging the contestants.

From 6-7 pm, Larry and Bob will discuss More Than Anyone Could Possibly Want to Know About the New Yorker Cartoon Caption Contest, and then welcome questions from the audience. At 7:00 pm, Larry will announce the winner of the evening’s contest, who will receive a copy of the original cartoon signed by Bob.

Registration for this event is $38 and includes a copy of Your Caption Has Been Selected, which you can get signed by the author. The MiniBar will be open and serving a complete selection of wine, beer, cocktails, and non-alcoholic beverages and snacks.

Seats for this event are limited so act fast!

Register Here

A Bookends University Event

Writers at Work: A Bookends University Book Club

Monday, June 10 @ 6:00 PM

We are delighted to announce the launch of our new IN-PERSON book club for ALL writers!

Each month we will read a book on the craft of writing. Meetings will include an optional happy hour, with time to mix and mingle, get a drink from the MiniBar, and do a little browsing or book buying. Happy hour will be followed by an hour of book discussion and guided, no-pressure writing prompts. You may leave with the start of a new story, essay, or poem!

Writers at Work is for ALL writers, from the experienced professional to the nervous beginner and everyone in between. Join us for inspiration, community, and a hands-on exploration of some of our favorite books on writing.

Dates and Books:

Monday June 10:  Truth Is the Arrow, Mercy Is the Bow: A DIY Manual for the Construction of Stories by Steve Almond. REGISTER HERE

Monday July 8: Story Genius: How to Use Brain Science to Go Beyond Outlining and Write a Riveting Novel (Before You Waste Three Years Writing 327 Pages That Go Nowhere) by Lisa Cron.  REGISTER HERE

Monday, August 12, 25 Great Sentences and How They Got That Way by Geraldine Woods. REGISTER HERE


Optional Happy Hour: 5-6 pm

Book discussion and writing exercises: 6-7 pm

Tuition for each session is $30, which includes a copy of the book. You can pick up your book at the store or have it mailed to you.

Email Freda Love Smith with any questions: freda@bookendsandbeginnings.com

Register for 6/10

An Off-Site Event by Bookends & Beginnings

Amy Tan: The Backyard Bird Chronicles with Field Museum Ornithologists Shannon Hackett and John Bates

Tuesday, June 11 @ 7:00 PM

Nichols Concert Hall

Bestselling author Amy Tan is best known for beloved for novels like The Joy Luck Club and The Kitchen God’s Wife which explore the intricate dynamics of love, family, and home. Now, Tan takes flight into the world of ornithology. In The Backyard Bird Chronicles, Tan illuminates the journey she undertook to reconnect with nature via the practice of birdwatching. As a board member of the American Bird Conservancy, Tan views birds as not only a vital aspect of a healthy ecosystem, but also as individual personalities, brought to the page with delightful vibrancy in prose and her own hand-drawn sketches.

On Tuesday, June 11, Bookends & Beginnings will host Amy Tan at Nichols Concert Hall for an author talk and slide show featuring her original illustrations. Ms. Tan will be in conversation with Field Museum ornithologists Shannon Hackett and John Bates.

Your $50 ticket will include a pre-signed hardback copy of The Backyard Bird Chronicles. Note that there will be no signing line after the event; all copies will be presigned before the event begins, so if you would like your copy personalized, the exact wording for your personalization should be included as a note on your Eventbrite reservation.

Every ticket purchase includes one book; due to limited capacity, we cannot offer a couples ticket for this event.

All tickets purchased for the original date will be honored.

Can’t make the event? You can still order a signed and/or personally inscribed copy, for only $38, for in-store pick-up. Shipping (via USPS Media Mail) is available for an additional fee of $7.

The event will take place from 7-8 pm at Nichols Concert Hall, with doors opening at 6:30 pm. In addition to the copy of Chronicles included with each ticket, Tan’s other books will be available for purchase.

Register Here

An In-Store Event at Bookends & Beginnings

LitWits Trivia

Tuesday, June 18 @ 6:00 PM

Join us at the MiniBar downstairs for literary trivia with Wren, our resident bookseller/trivia nerd. There will be questions about all different genres of literature—just difficult enough to keep things interesting but not so difficult that everyone revolts.

There is no cost to attend, but registration is strongly encouraged, so we know how many chairs to put out!

Wren, your host, is ABD in English Lit and A++ in our hearts. She's been at Bookends since last spring, used to host a weekly trivia game with the Geeks Who Drink pub quiz company, and famously (if you ask her dogs) lost at Jeopardy in 2021!

Register Here

An In-Store Event at Bookends & Beginnings

Robert Creamer: Nuts and Bolts: The Formula for Progressive Electoral Success

Wednesday, June 19 @ 6:00 PM

Robert Creamer's new book Nuts and Bolts: The Formula for Progressive Electoral Success argues that the success of the battle for the future of American Democracy—the struggle for progressive values—the battle between democracy and autocra­cy—between hope and fear—will not be determined entirely by the merits of our values or even the strength of our conviction. It will be determined by how well American progressives organize to promote those values, and especially by how well we exe­cute election campaigns.

On Wednesday, June 19, political consultant, organizer, and author Robert Creamer will give an author talk, Q&A, and book signing at Bookends & Beginnings. The event will be from 6-7 pm, with signing taking place between 7:00-7:30 pm.

This book is a step-by-step field manual for how progressives can win electoral campaigns – and a textbook for anyone who wants to know how electoral politics really works. It lays down the fundamentals of great electoral organizing, effective political communication, understanding the self-interest of the voters, political fund raising, using social media and other new technologies, creating high intensity field programs, voter mobilization, and the qualities of great organizers.

Doors will be open at 5:00 for this event. Stop in early to browse and mingle with a drink from the MiniBar.

Register Here

An In-Store Event at Bookends & Beginnings

Al Yellon in conversation with Bruce Miles: Chicago Cubs Firsts: The Players, Moments, and Records That Were First in Team History

Thursday, June 20 @ 6:00 PM

Summer in Chicago means peanuts and Cracker Jacks, and we've got just the event for all those who bleed blue this season—because what's a better post-Father's Day combination than books and baseball? On Thursday, June 20, sports journalist (and native Chicagoan) Al Yellon will be discussing his new book, Chicago Cubs Firsts: The Players, Moments, and Records That Were First in Team History. Yellon will be in conversation with Bruce Miles, author of The Franchise: The Chicago Cubs and the former beat writer covering the Cubs for The Daily Herald.

Al Yellon is the founder and managing editor of Bleed Cubbie Blue, an online Cubs community dedicated to reporting and commenting on Wrigley Field's home team. A former television director at ABC-7, Yellon is a lifelong Cubs fan with a storied career in Chicago sports media and journalism. Chicago Cubs Firsts tracks the turning points and standout moments of the team's 140-year history.

The event will take place in the Bookends & Beginnings MiniBar from 6:00-7:30 PM. The authors will discuss Chicago Cubs Firsts, Cubs history, and host a round of trivia, followed by a Q&A and book signing. Both authors' books will be available for purchase. Plus, we'll have specials at the bar: $5 for a beer and peanuts combo!

This is a free event. Please register in advance.

Register Here

An In-Store Event at Bookends & Beginnings

Gene Kannenberg, Jr.: Here Comes Charlie Brown! A Peanuts Pop-Up

Saturday, June 22 @11:00 AM

Calling all Evanston parents: spend a perfect Saturday morning strolling through the Evanston farmer's market before popping in for a family-friendly author meet-and-greet at Bookends & Beginnings! On Saturday, June 22, we will be hosting Gene Kannenberg, Jr., author of Here Comes Charlie Brown! A Peanuts Pop-Up. This book is a perfect gift for your Snoopy-crazed kids of all ages—or for anyone nostalgic for the Sunday Funnies. 


Gene will be in the store from 11:00 am until 12:00 pm for a meet-and-greet and book signing. This is an informal signing event, so please feel free to drop in. Registration via Eventbrite is preferred!

Register Here

An Off-Site at the Athenaeum Center for Thought and Culture

Dr. Anthony Fauci: On Call: A Doctor's Journey in Public Service

Wednesday, June 26 @ 7:30 PM

2936 N Southport Ave, Chicago, 60657

Join us for the Chicago launch event of Dr. Anthony Fauci's On Call: A Doctor's Journey in Public Servicea memoir by the doctor who became a beacon of hope for millions through the COVID pandemic, and whose six-decade career in high-level public service put him in the room with seven presidents.

Anthony Fauci is arguably the most famous – and most revered – doctor in the world today. His role guiding America sanely and calmly through Covid earned him the trust of millions during one of the most terrifying periods in modern American history. But this was only the most recent of the global epidemics in which Dr. Fauci played a major role. His crucial contribution in researching HIV and bringing AIDS into sympathetic public view and his leadership in navigating the Ebola, SARS, West Nile, and anthrax crises, make him truly an American hero.

His memoir reaches back to his boyhood in Brooklyn, New York, and carries through decades of caring for critically ill patients, navigating the whirlpools of Washington politics, and behind-the-scenes advising and negotiating with seven presidents on key issues from global AIDS relief to infectious disease preparedness at home. On Call will be an inspiration for readers who admire and are grateful to him and for those who want to emulate him in public service. He is the embodiment of “speaking truth to power,” with dignity and results.

Tickets include a copy of On Call that includes a signed bookplate. There will be no signing line for this event.

Register Here

An In-Store Event at Bookends & Beginnings

RHINO Poetry: A Reading With Rebecca Morgan Frank, Jameka Williams, & Matt Kelsey

Saturday, June 29 @ 6:00 PM

Celebrate the 2024 print release of the award-winning poetry journal RHINO with a reading by three contributing poets! On Saturday, June 29, Rebecca Morgan Frank, Matthew Kelsey, and Jameka Williams will share their work at Bookends & Beginnings.

RHINO's 2024 print issue includes new work by Laura Bandy, T. De Los Reyes, Denise Duhamel, Ian-Khara Ellasante, Rebecca Morgan Frank, Alison Granucci, Jessica Hincapie, Matthew Kelsey, Maurya Kerr, Alejandro Lucero, Adrian S. Potter, Mike Puican, José Edmundo Ocampo Reyes, Joni Wallace, Evan Wang, Jameka Williams--just to name a few! Visit www.rhinopoetry.org to learn more.

The event will take place downstairs at the MiniBar from 6:00-7:30 pm. Copies of all three poets' books will be available for sale. This is a free event, but please register.

Register Here

An In-Store Event at Bookends & Beginnings

The Read It & Meet Evanston Book Club: Politics Is for Power, led by Mayor Daniel Biss

Wednesday, July 17 @ 6:00 PM

We are excited to announce the launch of our Read It & Meet Evanston Book Club! Each meeting will be led by a guest host, a different leader or personality from the Evanston community, who will choose the book to be discussed and will lead the conversation. The goal is to gather a book-loving community to meet people behind the scenes or in the spotlight by engaging in thoughtful conversation about a meaningful work of literature or nonfiction. Attendance will require purchasing the book from our store and three free books will be made available to attendees who may not be able to purchase a book.

Participants will be expected to have read the book in advance! These meetings are not intended to be lectures about the books, but rather discussions by people who’ve done some homework!

We’re kicking off the book club on July 17 with Mayor Daniel Biss, who has selected the book Politics Is for Power: How to Move Beyond Political Hobbyism, Take Action, and Make Real Change, by Eitan Hersh.

Do you consider yourself politically engaged? Probably, yes! But are you, really? The uncomfortable truth is that most of us have good intentions. We vote (sometimes) and occasionally sign a petition or attend a rally. But we mainly "engage" by consuming politics as if it's entertainment or a hobby. Instead, in Politics is for Power, political scientist and data analyst Eitan Hersh argues that we should be spending the same number of hours building political organizations, implementing a long-term vision for our local communities, and getting to know our neighbors, whose votes will be needed for solving hard problems.

“We live in a time of heightened political awareness, intense anxiety, and seemingly constant agitation,” Mayor Biss wrote, explaining why he chose Hersh’s book for discussion. “But is all this activity moving us toward real change, or is it just giving us something to do? This discussion of Hersh's cleared-eyed and engaging analysis of what we can actually do to make a difference will empower everyone concerned about the world we live in.”

Register Here

Browse, Order, and Preorder Today!

Bookends & Beginnings is a community-centered and community-sustained, full-service, general-interest independent bookstore, now in our ninth calendar year. We are a member of the Chicago Independent Bookstore Alliance (ChIBA), the Great Lakes Independent Bookstore Association (GLIBA), and the American Booksellers Association (ABA). Show your support by shopping in our store (and other Chicago-area independent bookstores), by bringing your local and out-of-town friends and family to shop with us, by attending our events, and by "liking" us on Facebook and posting reviews on other social media. Remember that you can always see event photos and news updates on our Facebook page, which is updated almost daily. There you can also subscribe to our events feed with a single click.


Above all, keep reading good books! 

Visit our Website
Bookends & Beginnings
1620 Orrington Avenue
Evanston, IL 60201 

RSVP for events with