Jen Lancaster Set to Launch New Book with an Anderson’s Bookshop Online Event

Anderson’s Bookshop is proud to welcome back New York Times bestselling author and Chicago-area native Jen Lancaster to celebrate her newest book, The United States of Anxiety: Observations from a Reforming Neurotic.  Lancaster has visited Anderson’s Bookshop half a dozen times, and each event is special, including this launch program on Thursday, October 1 at 7 pm. Participating fans will be the first to get their hands on her latest title.

Register here and you will receive the Zoom link in your confirmation email. https://www.eventcombo.com/e/virtual-event-with-jen-lancasterthe-united-states-of-anxiety-40870

Anderson’s realizes that this is a challenging time for many families.  We are offering a variety of ticket options so that customers may choose what is the best fit.  Every book ticket will include a signed copy of The United States of Anxiety, and all contributions will go towards supporting our independent small business and our employees.

About the Book: New York Times bestselling author Jen Lancaster is here to help you chill the hell out.

When did USA become shorthand for the United States of Anxiety? From the moment Americans wake up, we’re bombarded with all-new terrifying news about crime, the environment, politics, and stroke-inducing foods we’ve been enjoying for years. We’re judged by social media’s faceless masses, pressured into maintaining a Pinterest-perfect home, and expected to base our self-worth on retweets, faves, likes, and followers. Our collective FOMO, and the disparity between the ideal and reality, is leading us to spend more and feel worse. No wonder we’re getting twitchy. Save for an Independence Day–style alien invasion, how do we begin to escape from the stressors that make up our days?

Jen takes a hard look at our elevating anxieties, and with self-deprecating wit and levelheaded wisdom, she charts a path out of the quagmire that keeps us frightened of the future and ashamed of our imperfectly perfect human lives. Take a deep breath, and her advice, and you just might get through a holiday dinner without wanting to disown your uncle–or even worse.

About the Author: Author Jen Lancaster has sold well over a million books, with over a dozen New York Times bestsellers. From Bitter Is the New Black to The Tao of Martha, Lancaster has made a career out of documenting her attempts to shape up, grow up, and have it all – sometimes with disastrous results. Her New York TImes bestselling novel Here I Go Again received three starred reviews (Kirkus, Booklist, Publishers Weekly). She loves bad TV, terrible wine, and will die before she gives up her Oxford comma.

Lancaster can often be seen on The Today Show, as well as CBS This Morning, Fox News and NPR’s All Things Considered, among others. She lives in the Chicago suburbs with her husband and her many ill-behaved dogs and cats. Visit her website: jenlancaster.com, Twitter: @altgeldshrugged, Instagram: @jennsylvania, or Facebook.com/authorjenlancaster.

Hear the stories behind Lancaster’s books on The Stories We’d Tell in Bars podcast, available on iTunes, Podbean, Spreaker, GooglePlay, and iHeartRadio, among other entities.

About Anderson’s Bookshop: Anderson’s Bookshop is a 6-generation family-run neighborhood independent business with locations in Chicago’s western suburbs. The company includes a toyshop and school bookfair division. Recipients of dozens of honors, Anderson’s Bookshops share a passion and knowledge of books and of building community through great reads. Anderson’s Bookshops are located in downtown Naperville at 123 W. Jefferson Ave. and in Downers Grove at 5112 Main St. For additional questions and information, visit AndersonsBookshop.com.

Book review, signing: New book offers fresh take on Gary/Chicago resident, Nelson Algren

Mary Wisniewski was a college student when she first discovered the writings of Chicago writer Nelson Algren.

Author Mary Wisniewski

“Many of his books were set in Wicker Park where my family was from which intrigued me,” says Wisniewski, noting that though Algren’s novels are about shady characters, drug addicts, grifters, drifters and those on the margins of society, she found his writing lyrical, beautiful and poetic.

“It turned me into an Algren hag,” she says

“I told all my friends to read his books, and I started reading everything he had written that I could find — I found it surprising that his writings weren’t part of the literature canon in colleges,” Wisniewski says.

From there it became a natural progression to writing “Algren: A Life,” winner of the 2017 Society of Midland Authors award for best biography and the Chicago Writers Association award for best non-fiction, and the first biography about Algren in more than a quarter-century.

Delving more and more into his life, Wisniewski even read his FBI file, a mammoth collection of investigative reports because of his leftist leanings and, as Wisniewski says, “his belief that the crust of civilization in America is pretty thin.”

Algren lived a chaotic life that included a long-term love affair with French writer, Simone de Beauvoir, who had another lover, the French philosopher, Paul Sartre. Besides sharing a woman, they were friends and liked to box.

Algren often was short of funds — famed Chicago writer and broadcaster Studs Terkel, who was a friend, lent him money, which Algren always repaid. And he married and divorced three times. Having the FBI hounding him and taking away his passport didn’t help.

He also became discouraged with his lack of commercial success, even though two of his novels were made into films with major stars — “The Man with the Golden Arm” starred Frank Sinatra and Kim Novak (another Chicagoan), and “Walk on the Wild Side” featured Lawrence Harvey and Jane Fonda. Through it all, he continued writing.

Surprisingly for someone who wrote about the underside of life, he also expressed feminist sensitivities much earlier than most, Wisniewski says.

“In the 1950s, he wrote an essay about how Playboy magazine objectified women and turned them into commodities,” she says.

Algren, whose grandfather and father were from the Black Oak neighborhood of Gary, also had a Northwest Indiana connection, owned a home in Miller Beach.

The Nelson Algren Museum of Miller Beach, located in the 1928 Telephone Building once owned by his friend, David Peltz, is now owned by the Indiana Landmarks Foundation.

“I think Algren’s time has come again,” Wisniewski says.

“I think he’s like Dickens in London; he’s given Chicago a way to see itself. I always tell people that once they get a Chicago address and CTA card, they need to buy his book, “Chicago: City on the Make.”

If you go:

What: Join Mary Wisniewski as she discusses Nelson Algren and his work. Book signing to follow.

When: 6:30 p.m. Dec. 11

Where: The Betty Barclay Community Room at the Edgewater Branch of the Chicago Public Library, 6000 N. Broadway, Chicago.

FYI: (312) 742-1945; chipublib.org

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