Margaret Atwood, “MaddAddam”
It’s true that Margaret Atwood is much more than a novelist—she’s a prolific poet, literary critic, essayist and an activist for the environment and education. But I’ve always felt Atwood’s most essential and compelling works are her novels. Her fourteenth novel, “MaddAddam,” the concluding book of the Oryx and Crake trilogy, will be released this September. The previous books of the trilogy, “Oryx and Crake” and “The Year of the Flood” explore a world of manmade plagues designed to wipe out the human species, bioengineered humans and tyrannical corporate empires. “MaddAddam” picks up with the survivors of the previous novels, and amidst violent battles, cyberhacking and murder, explores humanity’s potential for reaching that which still lies beyond us. Publishes September 3
Jane Austen Society of North America
If, like me, you’ve ever obsessed over what it would be like to be a character in one of Jane Austen’s famous novels, the Chicago Public Library and the Jane Austen Society of North America have teamed up to host an event that’s likely to get your bonnets and breeches in a twist. Iris Lutz, President of the Jane Austen Society of North America, will present a lecture at Harold Washington Library on the estates Jane Austen lived in and wrote about. The lecture will feature illustrations of Longbourn, Pemberley, Sotherton Park and others. My sixteen-year-old heart is fluttering. Ardently. September 7 at Harold Washington Library
Jhumpa Lahiri, “The Lowland”
It’s been five years since Lahiri’s last book, “Unaccustomed Earth,” and ten years since her last novel, “The Namesake,” so much anticipation surrounds the release of “The Lowland,” the latest novel from this Pulitzer Prize-winning author. “The Lowland” is a story about two brothers, Subhash and Udayan, who are so closely tethered that one is often mistaken for the other. However, they mature into very different young men and find themselves on very polarized paths: Udayan commits himself to a rigorous and rebellious political movement, while Subhash retreats into a quiet career of scientific study in America. The story spans generations and continents, taking place in both India and America, but brings the two brothers together again in a very intimate tangle of emotion and suspense. Publishes September 24. Lahiri reads at the Palmer House October 8.
Home Front: Daily Life in the Civil War North
This fall, the Newberry Library presents its newest exhibition, “Home Front: Daily Life in the Civil War North.” The exhibition explores what the Civil War experience was like as a civilian living in the North, and will feature paintings by Winslow Homer, first-edition books by Emily Dickinson, Walt Whitman, Harriet Beecher Stowe and Louisa May Alcott, as well as sheet music, magazine illustrations, and more. Special tours and events will be offered throughout the duration of the exhibition. Opens September 27 at the Newberry Library