We are fortunate to have many creative people who were born and raised in our fair state or consciously made Illinois their home.
On our walls, Visiting Art at Books on First is our showcase of local visual artists, including Alex Paschal, Lisa Higby LeFevre, Sydni Reubin, Jane Cress Edgar, John DeLong, Ralph Pifer, Deb Munson, Rick Munson, Pat Lathe and Todd Lorenc, among others.
On our shelves are a wealth of culture from around the world, as far away as Thailand and as close as our own front yard.
You will find CDs of music made by local musicians, most of whom have played live at Books on First on a Saturday night throughout the years. As we always say, you'll find the best pass-the-hat live entertainment in Sauk Valley right here at Books on First.
And, you can find note cards with the beautiful photography of local Scot curmudgeon Charles Kerr for sale right here at Books on First. Dixon never looked so good as it does through Charlie's lens. Resident Artiste Sydni Reubin also occasionally has for sale here cards, magnets and other items imprinted with a reproduction of her beautiful paintings.
Now, we are proud to offer Candles for SMA by Dixonite Lisa Wood. SMA (or Spinal Muscular Atrophy) is genetic and hereditary, but with 1 in 50 Americans of all races and genders as carriers, 1 in 10,000 babies are affected. There is currently no cure for the lack of a gene which produces a vital protein needed by nerve cells controlling muscles. Lisa makes these candles during her daily "energy spurts," but she takes great care to make top quality soy-based candles in covered tins with all-cotton, hot-burning wicks and incredible scents like Fresh Coffee and Cinnamon Bun, which we carry. The scent of the candles fills a room even without being lit. Come in and have a sniff, and maybe walk out with great gifts for your own home and others'.
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Northwestern Illinois's National Public Radio affiliate, bringing us the best in current affairs & feature journalism, cultural news and broadcasting art.
Chicagoan Sara Paretsky writes the first V.I. Warshawski novel set outside of Chicagoland, and the world has not ended. Beginning with the agreement to find a young filmmaker who seems to have gone missing while pursuing an idea of portraying athe life of a legend, the veteran P.I. goes to Kansas and probably tells her dog Peppy, "We're definitely not in Chicago anymore," although the troubles of race are not for the big city alone.
Author Mark Maronde lives in Dixon, IL.
Dunphy daughter and grandson are both enthusiastic Meno fans, as are we and many customers. Author Joe Meno lives in Chicago and teaches Fiction at Columbia College in Chicago. We are still awaiting Nelson Algren Literary Prize, Pushcart Prize and Great Lakes Book Award winner Joe Meno's descent into Dixon for a reading and signing. Maybe he'll be by when Dixon Stage Left produces one of his plays.
Poet Ric Amezquita is a native of Sterling, IL, and now lives in DeKalb. This title was featured as one of WNIJ's Winter Cabin Fever Reads.
Author Courtney Walsh hails from Rockford, IL.
Dixon writer A.K. (Erin) Thompson has a contribution in this latest collection of short fiction, which (the title says it all) are a little bit Southern and not a little bit Surreal (and not a bit surprising). In December, A.K. read from her piece in the book, "The Taxidermist," as well as some of her work-in-progress. We have a few autographed copies. Please call to reserve.
Yes, we consider cooking an Art! Author Helen Walker Linsenmeyer is a native Southern Illinoisan, now residing in Grand Tower on the Mississippi.
Born in Walnut, IL, the late journalist & humorist Don Marquis introduced Archy and Mehitabel in 1927. Beloved by readers of all ages, they are the only writers Carolyn would be willing to call "aspiring."
When this book was first introduced to us in an advance catalog of titles coming soon, we thought, 'Story of guy with a mother whose family migrated from Kansas to Hawaii, looking for his Kenyan father's roots? Will this play in Dixon, IL?' Yet, it was by an Illinois author, so we brought it in. It languished on our shelves and we might have sold 2 copies before the author and then candidate for US Senator Barack Obama gave a speech at the Democratic National Convention. The rest, as they say, is history. Read the memoir of an aspiring President written before he became a household name around the world.
We have copies signed by both Rick Kogan and Charles Osgood, both of the Chicago Tribune. Please make a note in your order that you want an autographed copy.
Illinois photographer Larry Kanfer has been a customer favorite, especially with his Barns of Illinois. And, now, he returns with 30 years of University of Ilinois Champaign-Urbana, photographed as passionate visual artist and alumnus.
Celebrate the 95th Anniversary of the introduction of John Carter and his Princess of Mars by Chicago-born and Oak Park-raised author Edgar Rice Burroughs, a man who felt he could write just as entertaining "rot" as he enjoyed reading and by golly, he did! He redeemed himself as a son of a military family by becoming the oldest US war correspondent in WWII. John Carter was an inspiration to many a writer and film director and this 3-story volume was printed just in time for Andrew Stanton's movie -- the first successfully launched (although unfortunately, not commercially successful) feature film based on the books: John Carter. Illinois could be rightly proud to call Burroughs a Native Son.
We stil have a few autographed copies of this WNIJ Winter Cabin Fever pick. Please let us know upon ordering if you'd like us to reserve one for you.
Author Karla Clark is now living in Rockford, IL. In traveling for her work, she has frequently come to Books on First, and proprietor Carolyn Chin has reviewed Clark's first book, Between Courses: A Culinary Love Story, for which she is rumored to be currently writing a sequel.
This volume features writer & former Dixon resident (she hated to leave!) Nancy Pieters Mayfield's essay, "Satisfaction with a Job Well Done" which she read on Bob Edwards's weekend National Public Radio program.
Author Callie Norse is from Rock Falls, IL.
Sorry, Willis, that building in Chicago will always be known as Sears Tower to those of us who remember the Company in its retailing heyday. Sears boasted that it sold everything and affordably, too. We have several Sears homes still standing in Dixon (although the Reagan Home is not one).
A native Dixonite whose family still lives here and comes into the store, Johnson's plays reflect his world view which naturally includes his Midwestern upbringing. Look for little tiny bits of insider Dixon. It is too bad he doesn't have more in print for us to enjoy and find producers to get on the stage.