September/October Events

September 4th, 2023

“Freedom of expression is the cornerstone of a vibrant society. Without it, we are condemned to live in a state of intellectual poverty.” –     Margaret Atwood


In the spring of 2022,  Margaret Atwood’s publisher in the USA – Penguin Random House – partnered with her to create an unburnable copy of her beloved Handmaid’s Tale.

They auctioned it off to benefit the Pen America Foundation.  They had hoped to raise between $50,000 -$100,000.  It sold for $130,000.

Margaret Atwood, like so many authors, has seen her books challenged over and over again in different school and library districts, municipalities, states, and occasionally even by whole countries.

Groups like Pen America, the American Library Association, American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression, and the ACLU work to defend our right to read.   Supporting any one of these worthy organizations is one way to join the fight.

You can also support authors whose books were challenged in 2022.  Unfortunately, you’ll have plenty to choose from. 

According to the American Library Association, 2,571 different titles were challenged around the country in 2022.  That is the largest number that they have ever recorded for one year.  And it only includes the challenges that were reported to them.

Or, you could read one of the 11,300 titles that have been challenged since 1982.  Again, these numbers don’t include anything that was not reported to the ALA.

If you know any teachers, librarians, or booksellers who have been impacted by all of this, try to show your support for their efforts to keep America reading, and reading freely.

And if you do drop by the bookstore during banned books week, we will have some goodies for you.  More on that below.

But first, a couple of fun events…


September 7th, 2023


A Taste of Iceland in Chicago…


Secrets of the Sprakkar by Eliza Reid


We are proud to welcome Eliza Reid – First Lady of Iceland –back to the after-words event space at noon on Thursday, September 7th.

Sprakkar is an old Icelandic word that translates to outstanding women.

Based on her internationally bestselling book Secrets of the Sprakkar: Iceland's Extraordinary Women and How They Are Changing the World; Eliza Reid will discuss Iceland's attitude towards gender equality and how working to achieve it benefits everyone in society.

For the past 14 years, Iceland has ranked first in the World Economic Forum's Global Gender Gap Report of its list of countries closing the gap in equality between men and women. She will share the inspiring secrets of some of the 40 women she interviewed for her book.  She will also discuss what we can all do to improve equality and equity worldwide.  

Copies of the book – both in hardback and paperback – will be available for purchase and signing.


October 4th, 2023

For the first time in a decade, I am thrilled to announce that after-words bookstore will be running an in-store book club!

We will be reading a different book each quarter.  We will then choose an evening to have a meeting to discuss the work in question.

Bookseller, writer, and employee Elizabeth S Tieri has generously offered to form and lead this group for us.  We will be choosing the books with her input, and she will be leading our hour-long quarterly meetings.

So. Drumroll please….

Welcome to…


after-words Banned Books Club


We are launching our book club with the graphic memoir

Gender Queer by Maia Kobabe

This was the most-challenged book of 2022

 Started as a way to explain to their family what it means to be nonbinary and asexual, Gender Queer is more than a personal story: it is a useful and touching guide on gender identity—what it means and how to think about it—for advocates, friends, and humans everywhere.

Please join us on Wednesday, October 4th at 7:30pm for our discussion.


October 1st-7th, 2023

Banned Books Week 2023

Let Freedom Read

We will be running in-store specials and doing giveaways all week! 

You can check out our website for more details in the coming weeks.  We will post them as they become available.  But suffice it to say, we will have plenty of goodies to give away and discounts to offer.

And of course, you can shop our banned books display.

Just our way of saying thank you to our customers for helping us to support writers whose works have been challenged, censored, bowdlerized, or banned.