Premier Independent Bookseller/Coffeehouse in Sauk Valley
COVID-19 fight update:
We are open for indoor sitting and sipping (and shopping, of course) with increased capacity allowance!
Congratulations and thanks to all of you who are fully vaccinated. This has made a big difference in the fight.
HOWEVER, the State of Illinois has been experiencing a surge in positive cases and hospital utilization. As of 30 August 2021, all patrons, whether fully vaccinated or not, and including children older than age 2 must cover nose and mouth when not seated and eating or drinking.
(If you must shout at your adjoining table, put your mask on!)
Please do not be offended when we ask you to have a mask. We will respect your decision to leave the premises if you do not want to "mask up" to help all of us stay safe and stay open.
The acclaimed and now-classic biographical novel of Walter Benjamin's last days--adapted into screenplay by Jay Parini.
It is 1940. For the past decade, Walter Benjamin--the German-Jewish critic and philosopher--has been writing his masterpiece in a library in Paris, a city he loves. Now Nazi tanks have overrun the suburbs, and Benjamin is forced to flee. With a battered briefcase that contains his precious manuscript of a thousand handwritten pages, he sets off for the border and is led by chance to a young anti-Nazi who is taking Jews and other refugees over the Pyrenees into Spain, where they may (with luck) make their way to freedom in Portugal or South America. Beloved biographical novelist Jay Parini's thrilling tale of escape is beautifully interwoven with vignettes of Benjamin's complex, cosmopolitan past: his privileged childhood in Berlin, his years with the German Youth Movement, his university days. His close friendship with Gershom Scholem, the eminent scholar of Jewish mysticism, and many other well-known artists and intellectuals who were part of Benjamin's intimate circle between the two world wars. Part tragedy, part dark comedy, this sharply realized historical novel tells one of the great and most moving peripheral stories of the Holocaust.
About the Author
JAY PARINI, a poet and novelist as well as biographer, is Axinn Professor of English at Middlebury College. His novels include The Last Station (adapted as an Academy Award-nominated film and translated into more than thirty languages), Benjamin's Crossing, and The Passages of H. M. His poetry includes The Art of Subtraction: New and Selected Poems and the forthcoming New and Collected Poems, 1975-2015. He has written biographies of Robert Frost, John Steinbeck, William Faulkner, and Jesus. Among his nonfiction books are Why Poetry Matters and Promised Land: Thirteen Books That Changed America.
“A piercing, magnificent novel.” —Amos Oz
"Painstakingly researched and dramatically recounted. . . . [Benjamin’s Crossing] has something important to tell us.” —The New York Times Book Review
"Jay Parini has written an exciting ‘adventure story,’ part Chaplin, part Kafka, and wholly emblematic of our dark age.” —Gore Vidal
"Parini’s re-creation of [Walter Benjamin’s] life is a tender, wise and even sadly funny achievement.” —Daily News
"Benjamin’s Crossing is a stunning novel of war, intellectual history, and the great divide civilization crossed in the year 1940. . . . Humorous, profound, and affecting.” —Erica Jong
Thank you for your support!
For those of you not interested in ordering from that largest river in South America that rivals the Mississippi and the Nile, but BoF is out of stock at the warehouse, try our new affiliate, Bookshop, started by a Columbia University MFA who just wants to help the Indies out a bit while being able to put a meal on the table for himself and others.
We Now Are Affiliated with Hummingbird, a Great eBook Resource!
You can still buy titles in other formats (hardcover, paperback, audio CDs) with a Books on First gift card as well as buy a Books on First giftcard which we will send especially to that lucky recipient (free postage!).
More than a card.
More value than many other store-bought surprises (except a book!)
Put a 3D paper sculpture in a loved one's hands and see the spontaneous delight.
That's a lovepop.
Tim's Bees Have Been Busy and the Honey is Back!
For Sale at Books on First
From Tim Benedict's Orion Artisinal Honey & Garlic Farm
HONEY from Tim's BEES flying around FRANKLIN GROVE, IL
Two types of honey now available in beautiful 12-oz jars:
Prairie Wildflowers -- unadulterally whatever the bees are inclined to like and Echinaea -- from Tim's special stash
It's been said that local honey is great for warding off bad germs and aiding in the relief of sinus/breathing difficulties. Regardless, it tastes great!
And What a Great Gift Idea!
Stock Up Now!
Based on the Book ...
We are always delighted when someone sees a movie in the book, because now, millions of more people know about the book! It might have been a great film or it might have been a total dud.
But, read the book yourself to see just how good or different the original is!