Saturday, June 21, 2008

Upcoming Events

Karen Essex
Stealing Athena
Tuesday, June 24th 7 p.m.

The Elgin Marbles have been displayed in the British Museum for nearly two hundred years, and for just as long they have been the center of a raging controversy. In Stealing Athena, Karen Essex chronicles the Marbles’ amazing journey through the dynamic narratives of Mary Nisbet and Aspasia. At the height of the Napoleonic Wars, the twenty-one-year-old, newly wed Mary Nisbet, Countess of Elgin, enchanted the power brokers of the Ottoman Empire, using her charms to obtain their permission for her husband’s audacious plan to deconstruct the Parthenon and bring its magnificent sculptures to England. Two millennia earlier, Aspasia, a female philosopher and courtesan, and a central figure in Athenian life, plied her wits, allure, and influence with equal determination, standing with Perikles at the center of vehement opposition to his vision of building the most exquisite monuments the world had ever seen. Stealing Athena is an enthralling work of historical fiction and a window into the intimate lives of some of history’s most influential and fascinating women.

Luncheon with Karen Abbott
Sin in the Second City: Madams, Ministers, Playboys, and the Battle for America's Soul
Wednesday, June 25th 1:00 p.m.
Please speak with Kathleen or Jake, or comment here, if you're interested in attending the luncheon

Step into the perfumed parlors of Chicago's Everleigh Club, the most famous brothel in American history--and the catalyst for a culture war that rocked the nation. Minna and Ada Everleigh, the two sisters who operated the Club at the dawn of the last century, were unlike other madams: the Everleighs made sure their girls dined on gourmet food, were examined by an honest physician, and were even tutored in the literature of Balzac. But not everyone appreciated the sisters' attemps to elevate the industry. Progressive Era reformers, spouting lurid tales of "white slavery," ignited a furor that shaped America's sexual culture and had repercussions all the way to the WHite House, even leading the formation of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. With a cast of characters that includes Jack Johnson, John Barrymore, John D. Rockefeller, Jr., William Howard Taft, "Hinky Dink" Kenna, and Al Capone, Sin in the Second City provides a vivid snapshot of America's journey from Victorian-era propriety to twentieth-century modernity.

Kathryn Harrison
While They Slept: An Inquiry into the Murder of a Family
Wednesday, June 25th 7 p.m.

Early on an April morning, eighteen-year-old Billy Frank Gilley, Jr., killed his sleeping parents. Surprised in the act by his younger sister, Becky, he turned on her as well. Billy then climbed the stairs to the bedroom of his other sister, Jody, and said, “We’re free.”But is one ever free after an unredeemable act of violence? The Gilley family murders ended a lifetime of physical and mental abuse suffered by Billy and Jody at the hands of their parents. And it required each of the two survivors–one a convicted murderer, the other suddenly an orphan–to create a new identity, a new life. In this mesmerizing book, bestselling writer Kathryn Harrison brilliantly uncovers the true story behind a shocking and unforgettable crime as she explores the impact of escalating violence and emotional abuse visited on the children of a deeply troubled family. Weaving in meditations on her own experience of parental abuse, Harrison searches out answers to the question of how survivors of violent trauma shape a future when their lives have been divided into Before and After.

Darin Strauss
More Than It Hurts You
Thursday, June 26th 7 p.m.

Josh Goldin was savoring a Friday afternoon break in the coffee room, harmlessly flirting with coworkers while anticipating the weekend at home where his wife, Dori, waited with their eight-month-old son, Zack. And then Josh’s secretary rushed in, using words like intensive care, lost consciousness, blood. . . .That morning, Dori had walked into the emergency room with her son in severe distress. Enter Dr. Darlene Stokes: an African-American physician and single mother whose life is dedicated both to her own son and navigating the tricky maze of modern-day medicine. But something about Dori stirred the doctor’s suspicions. Darlene had heard of the sensational diagnosis of Munchausen by Proxy, where a mother intentionally harms her baby, but had never come upon a case of it before. It was rarely diagnosed and extraordinarily controversial. Could it possibly have happened here?As their four lives intersect with dramatic consequences, Darlene, Dori, and Josh are pushed to their breaking points as they confront the nightmare that has become their new reality.

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