Women and Children First, Chicago ~ Great Books, Great Places

I am trying to remember the first time I went to a reading at Women and Children First Bookstore, and who it was… A. Manette Ansay, maybe? Julia Alvarez? Carol Anshaw? Achy Obejas? It was well more than a dozen years ago. I do remember that the first book I ever bought there was Mary Gaitskill’s Two Girls Fat and Thin; I think I might have bought Margaret Atwood’s collection Bluebeard’s Egg that day as well. Since then I have been back many, many times, to see readings (recently April Newman and Sheree Greer at the Sapho Salon, and Bonnie Jo Campbell with her new book Once Upon a River) and to buy and order books. When I need to find the perfect something for my little nephews or a friend’s recent arrival, this is the place I go. When I just want to browse, to find something new, I do that here as well. Women and Children First is a great place to find gifts, journals, periodicals, and cards. And, if you’ve visited my site much before you know this too–it is a truly wonderful place to launch a book.

I welcome your input about great places to buy great books. Consider sending me note about and some photos of your favorite independent bookstore. I’ll try to help you get the word out. (Guidelines here.)

As always, thanks for reading! -PMc←

The Pointer Sisters and Me ~ I’m So Excited!

Today is the day! Tonight I will read from THE TEMPLE OF AIR in front of friends and family and perhaps–if I am lucky–some new acquaintances who enjoy listening to writers read their own work. I am very, very excited about this event to be held in this lovely place, Women and Children First Bookstore in the Andersonville neighborhood of Chicago, and I feel as though I should write something here today that is deep and profound. But my body is full of butterflies, the back of my head is buzzing, and my toes are curling; there is no quiet space in me to find the deep and profound words this occasion might warrant.

I keep hearing the Pointer Sisters singing:

(sorry about the commercial; the song is really there!)

See you tonight!

The Temple of Air, book launch at Women and Children First (image above from Google), 5233 N. Clark St., Chicago. 7:30 PM, Friday, September 9, 2011.←

On the Shelf with THE HELP


It would be hard to express how very exciting it is to see my book, THE TEMPLE OF AIR, in the window of Women and Children First in Chicago– a bookstore I have admired and supported for many, many years. And look, it is right next to the New York Times Best Seller THE HELP. What is it the realtors say? Location, location, location.

Hope to see you at the launch on Friday, September 9, 2011, 7:30 PM. Women and Children First, 5233 N. Clark Street, Chicago. TimeOut Chicago dubbed the reading a “Critics’ Pick” event!


My book, The Temple of Air, is slated to be launched at Women and Children First on September 9, 2011. I thought I’d share my excitement with you by putting together a little contest to honor this occasion. The prize? An autographed copy of The Temple of Air. (Hey, it’s my blog after all!)

Below is a compilation of the ninth full sentences on the ninth page of the editions that I have on my shelves of nine books. That sounds more complicated than it needs to be. Let me try again: 9/9. Ninth full sentence on page nine. (Also, in case you didn’t make the connection, the date of my book launch.)

Your challenge:

  • In the order I have the quotes below, name each book by its full title.
  • Provide each author’s full name in the same order.
  • Submit your response by 6 PM CST, August 4, 2011 to templeofair@gmail.com.
  • Post this in your response: “I agree to let Patricia Ann McNair use my name and any part of my answers in her blog.”
  • The first completely correct response (all books, all titles, all authors) will receive The Temple of Air.
  • Answers received after the deadline will not be considered.
  • No one I am married to or who shares my last name can participate in this challenge.
  • In the case of a tie—well, I’ll deal with that if it comes up.
  • If no one has all the correct answers, I will consider awarding the participant who comes the closest. So even if you don’t know for certain, guesses may serve you well.
  • And yes, editions do vary. As I said, I am using the ones I have on my shelf. And page 9 means the page with a “9” on it. Not a Roman numeral. Don’t make it any harder than it needs to be. I am not trying to trick you.
  • Make sure I have a way to contact you (email is best) so that I can let you know if you are the lucky winner.

Cool? Cool.

Here goes:

  1. “The others present, including the landlord, he regarded with the boredom of long habit and with a shade of lofty disdain, as if he considered them too much his inferiors in rank and education to speak to.”
  2. “Way up beyond the white pines, out of sight, was the open, hilly land full of bristly mosses, ground birds, deer, and wild turkeys, even.”
  3. “Pulses were beating in his eyes, veiling their sight, and he felt the fever of his cheeks.”
  4. “The flowers came up to his waist.”
  5. “Her face was sad and lovely with bright things in it, bright eyes and a bright passionate mouth, but there was an excitement in her voice that men who had cared for her found difficult to forget: a singing compulsion, a whispered “Listen,” a promise that she had done gay, exciting things just a while since and that there were gay, exciting things hovering in the next hour.”
  6. “Ran away.”
  7. “I shake my head quite a lot.”
  8. “I had planted them too far down in the earth.”
  9. “After which they are sent down to the Embryo Store.”

Some hints:

All fiction.

Published: 1866, 2009, 1934 (1922 UK), 2009, 1925, 2010, 1951, 1970, 1932

Man, woman, man, man, man, woman, man, woman, man

Some authors quoted from here may have written for this blog.

Novel, collection, novel, collection, novel, collection, novel, novel, novel

And more hints because I’ve been told the quiz is too hard ~ some words from some of these book titles in no particular order: Great·American·In·Crime·Brave·Thieves·Eye·Storm

The rest is up to you. Looking forward to reading your answers.

Summer in the Literary City

Getting up into the nineties here in Chicago, the kind of hot and humid summer days the city is known for. As many of us have to head to work on a sticky Monday morning, our shirts clinging to our backs from the heat, the air heavy in our lungs, it helps to look back over the last few days of Chicago literary delights.

Thursday evening started things off with Bonnie Jo Campbell at Women and Children First, reading from her new novel Once Upon a River. Bonnie Jo’s readings are always good (how can they not be if she is reading her own fine work?) but even more impressive is how generous and charming she is with her audience. A really good time.

On Saturday night at Women and Children First we enjoyed a treat of a reading that featured two of my former students, April Newman and Sheree L. Greer, sharing the stage with Chelsea Clammer and Allison Gruber. The women read various pieces that made the audience laugh, lust, cringe, and–yes—some of us cried. Part of the bookstore’s Sapho Salon hosted by Kathie Bergquist, another of the fine writers lurking around Chicago these days. (Oh, and by the way–Sheree has a new collection out: Once and Future Lovers.)

Finally, on Sunday afternoon, we had the opportunity to celebrate the release of Michael Burke‘s new story collection: What You Don’t Know About Men. Michael knows how to fill a room and throw a party. The bash was held in the very elegant Edgewater Beach Café, on the ground floor of the historic, iconic, pink Edgewater Beach building on Sheridan Road. Robert Charles, Michael’s partner, was there to do a little of his magic (I mean that literally here, Robert is a magician, you know) and Michael read a moving story for us after he made an incredibly gracious toast and pretty much thanked everyone in the room individually.

All in all, friends, I’d say it was a good weekend. Hope you had a good one, too. Stay cool.

“The Bones of the Book Glimmer…” ~ A Review from TNB

I have just found out that The Temple of Air was reviewed in The Nervous Breakdown. Such a stellar review. So thoughtful and positive. A great way to have my review cherry popped.

Here’s a snippet of what the reviewer, Leah Tallon, wrote: “The bones of the book glimmer in the spirit of Winesburg, Ohio. McNair’s sentences are free flowing and emotionally charged, electric power lines running straight to your brain. Each word is honest and relatable.”

Not bad, eh?

I would encourage you to read the review in its entirety if you are willing, and I also remind you that while the book will be officially launched at Women and Children First in Chicago on September 9, 2011, advanced orders are being taken at Elephant Rock Books.




On Electronic Publication ~ Achy Obejas and Linda Bubon

image from blogtrepreneur.com

When I tell my friends and family (and anyone else willing to listen) that my short story collection will be released in September, without fail at least two out of five folks say: “Cool. Can I get it on Kindle?”

Frankly, I don’t know. My publisher and I have talked about our electronic strategy, but right now, nothing is etched in stone. So this fine and informative exchange between the writer Achy Obejas and independent bookstore co-owner Linda Bubon, has given me plenty to think about: WCF, E-readers.

Linda Bubon is one of the co-founders of the very wonderful Women and Children First in the Andersonville neighborhood of Chicago. And lucky me, I get to launch my book there on September 9, 2011. More information about this coming soon.