The Book Stall book store in Winnetka recently welcomed novelist Jennifer Close for a celebration of her new novel, “Marrying the Ketchups.”
Close, according to The Book Stall website, is a best-selling author of “Girls in White Dresses,” “The Smart One” and “The Hopefuls,” who was born and raised in Glencoe and is a Boston College alum, where she earned a master of fine arts degree in fiction writing.
“’Marrying the Ketchups’ is very much a Chicago book, witty and charming, with a cast of characters inhabiting many different lives – from a Lake Forest mom to a restaurant food server in Oak Park,” said Stephanie Hochschild, owner of The Book stall.
The Thursday evening program was originally intended to be a conversation between Close and author Elizabeth Berg, who penned “The Story of Arthur Truluv” and “Open House” (an Oprah’s Book Club selection), among other books. But Berg was unable to attend due to illness, so in Berg’s place de ella, Robert McDonald, events coordinator for The Book Stall, stepped in.
During McDonald’s introduction of Close, he mentioned that she now lives in Washington, DC and teaches creative writing.
Close explained that she was interested in writing about the atmosphere and community that inspires working for a restaurant.
“Although the menu of JP Sullivan’s in my story is based closely on a restaurant in DC, there is much which I pulled from my years working, waiting tables at Hackney’s on Harms” restaurant in Glenview, Close said.
The book discussion was co-sponsored by 501 Local, a neighborhood bistro located on the corner of Chestnut and Oak in Winnetka. The restaurant sponsored a raffle with prizes that included free copies of “Marrying the Ketchups” and gift cards to 501 Local.
“I have read Close’s earlier books and first met her when she came and spoke to members of our local book club. Since then, I have followed her career with great interest, ”said Marylou Kinsella, of Glenview, who attended the discussion.
“This is a big-hearted book that comes at a perfect time when people are hungry for books they can enjoy, a book that is thoughtful and safe and explores the intricacies of family connections,” Hochschild said.
Gina Grillo is a freelancer.