Individual Author Record
Name: Scott SimonPen Name: None Genre: Born: 1952 in Chicago, Illinois Sites:
Illinois ConnectionSimon is a Chicago native.
Biographical and Professional InformationScott Simon is one of America’s most admired writers and broadcasters. He has reported from all fifty states, five continents, and ten wars, from El Salvador to Sarajevo to Afghanistan and Iraq. His books have chronicled character and characters, in war and peace, sports and art, tragedy and comedy.
- Home and Away, Memoir of a Fan, Hyperion, 1997
- Pretty Birds: A Novel, Random House 2006
- Jackie Robinson and the Integration of Baseball, Wiley, 2007
- Windy City: A Novel of Politics, Random House 2008
- Baby, We Were Meant for Each Other: In Praise of Adoption, Random House, 2010
Titles At Your Library
Pretty Birds: A Novel
ISBN: 0812973305 Random House Trade Paperbacks. 2006 The universally respected NPR journalist and bestselling memoirist Scott Simon makes a dazzling fiction debut. In Pretty Birds, Simon creates an intense, startling, and tragicomic portrait of a classic character–a young woman in the besieged city of Sarajevo in the early 1990s.
In the spring of 1992, Irena Zaric is a star on her Sarajevo high school basketball team, a tough, funny teenager who has taught her parrot, Pretty Bird, to do a decent imitation of a ball hitting a hoop. Irena wears her hair short like k. d. lang’s, and she loves Madonna, Michael Jordan, and Johnny Depp. But while Irena rocks out and shoots baskets with her friends, her beloved city has become a battleground. When the violence and terror of “ethnic cleansing” against Muslims begins, Irena and her family, brutalized by Serb soldiers, flee for safety across the river that divides the city.
If once Irena knew of war only from movies and history books, now she knows its reality. She steals from the dead to buy food. She scuttles under windows in her own home to dodge bullets. She risks her life to communicate with an old Serb school friend and teammate. Even Pretty Bird has started to mimic the sizzle of mortar fire.
In a city starved for work, a former assistant principal offers Irena a vague job, “duties as assigned,” which she accepts. She begins by sweeping floors, but soon, under the tutelage of a cast of rogues and heroes, she learns to be a sniper, biding her time, never returning to the same perch, and searching her targets for the “mist” that marks a successful shot. Ultimately, Irena’s new vocation will lead to complex and cataclysmic consequences for herself and those she loves.
As a journalist, Scott Simon covered the siege of Sarajevo. Here, in a novel as suspenseful as a John le Carré thriller, he re-creates the atmosphere of that place and time and the pain and dark humor of its people. Pretty Birds is a bold departure, and the auspicious beginning of yet another brilliant career for its author.
From the Hardcover edition.
Jackie Robinson and the Integration of ball (Turning Points in History)
ISBN: 0470170417 Wiley. 2007
An extraordinary book . . . invitingly written and brisk.
""Perhaps no one has ever told the tale [of Robinson's arrival in the major leagues] so well as [Simon] does in this extended essay.""
--The Washington Post Book World
""Scott Simon tells a compelling story of risk and sacrifice, profound ugliness and profound grace, defiance and almost unimaginable courage. This is a meticulously researched, insightful, beautifully written book, one that should be read, reread, and remembered.""
--Laura Hillenbrand, author of the New York Times bestseller Seabiscuit
The integration of baseball in 1947 had undeniable significance for the civil rights movement and American history. Thanks to Jackie Robinson, a barrier that had once been believed to be permanent was shattered--paving the way for scores of African Americans who wanted nothing more than to be granted the same rights as any other human being.
In this book, renowned broadcaster Scott Simon reveals how Robinson's heroism brought the country face-to-face with the question of racial equality. From his days in the army to his ascent to the major leagues, Robinson battled bigotry at every turn. Simon deftly traces the journey of the rookie who became Rookie of the Year, recalling the taunts and threats, the stolen bases and the slides to home plate, the trials and triumphs. Robinson's number, 42, has been retired by every club in major league baseball--in homage to the man who had to hang his first Brooklyn Dodgers uniform on a hook rather than in a locker.
Windy City: A Novel of Politics
ISBN: 1400065577 Random House. 2008 The acclaimed author of the intensely powerful novel Pretty Birds, Scott Simon now gives us a story that is both laugh-out-loud funny and heart-piercing–as sprawling and brawling as Chicago, where politics is a contact sport.
The mayor of Chicago is found in his office late at night, sitting in his boxer shorts, facedown dead in a pizza. The mayor was a hero and a rascal: dynamic, charming, ingenious, corruptible, and a masterly manipulator. The city mourns. But it’s discovered that the mayor was murdered–shortly after he may have begun to squeal on some of his colleagues at City Hall. Over the next four days, police race to find the mayor’s killer, while the politicians who bemoan his passing scramble for his throne.
At the center is Sundaran “Sunny” Roopini, forty-eight, alderman of the Forty-eighth Ward, and vice-mayor. Sunny is an Indian immigrant, a restaurant owner, and a recent widower. He is getting tired of politics and wants to hold on just long enough to do the best for his two restive teenage daughters. But as acting interim mayor for a few days, Sunny must deal with forty-nine other aldermen who have their own clashing ambitions.
How will Sunny do what’s best for both his family and city in a time of crisis?
As The Last Hurrah embodied urban politics for a previous generation, Windy City captures politics in the multiethnic tumult of today’s big city, where a stalled subway raises fears of a terrorist attack and smoke-filled rooms are abolished by no-smoking statutes. The story takes a raft of colorful characters–pinky-ringed pols, pious reformers, money-grubbers, and wheeler-dealers of every creed, color, and proclivity–through City Hall corridors, neighborhood restaurants and clubs, weddings, sex scandals, gospel churches, police stations, and sting operations to deliver an ending that is unexpectedly noble.
Windy City is a roller coaster of a novel that dips and soars through the amusement park of politics. With echoes of Primary Colors and Thank You for Smoking, Windy City will win votes as the best political novel in many years. Its personal story–about a flawed, decent man thrust suddenly under hot lights–will also win hearts.
Praise for Windy City:
“Delectable… Offers an insider’s view of the kind of urban political fray–albeit fictional–that Barack Obama emerged from as an Illinois state legislator representing Chicago’s South Side…. Windy City’s articulate and witty protagonist … must juggle dirty secrets and deal making…”–USA Today
“Comic but sneakily affecting… The rich multiculturalism of the American city is not a new phenomenon… rarely, however, has it been depicted with such unabashed affection... The zeal with which he celebrates the city, warts and all, is hard to resist.. Simon’s choice of hero…is an immensely appealing figure.”–Washington Post Book World
“Pitch-perfect… Scott Simon, NPR host, knows his way around politics… His dialogue throws off sparks and shrieks like a Chicago El-car…Recommended to all political junkies.”–The Roanoke Times (Virginia)
“A hilarious satirical novel about politics.”–Clarence Page, The Chicago Tribune
“Entertaining and well-observed… renders the inner workings of City Hall with wit and aplomb….Some of Simon’s Chicagoans may be con artists, crooks, amoral opportunists or blowhards, sometimes all of the above, but the author still treats them with great affection and respect, creating an impressively large and diverse cast of characters”–Adam Langer, The Chicago Tribune
“[A] great novel… filled with emotional turmoil, gritty political decisions, murders, homicide attempts, a suicide and even a touch of romance…[a] human and fully realized portrait of the people caught up in contemporary public life.”–Time Out Chicago
“[A] big-hearted bear-hug of a novel… embracing roots and family, eccentricities and failings, and dappled with the sights, sounds and grit of the Windy City–makes this an energizing and loving contemporary urban fable.”–GO Magazine, AirTran Airways
“A rather sentimental, positive picture of the democratic process.” —Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
“Windy City is funny and tender… full of boisterous love for the sport of politics and Chicago. The best political novel in years.”–Christopher Buckley, author of Boomsday and Thank You for Smoking
Baby, We Were Meant for Each Other: In Praise of Adoption
ISBN: 1400068495 Random House. 2010 In this warm, funny, and wise new book, NPR’s award-winning and beloved Scott Simon tells the story of how he and his wife found true love with two tiny strangers from the other side of the world. It’s a book of unforgettable moments: when Scott and Caroline get their first thumb-size pictures of their daughters, when the small girls are placed in their arms, and all the laughs and tumbles along the road as they become a real family.
Woven into the tale of Scott, Caroline, and the two little girls who changed their lives are the stories of other adoptive families. Some are famous and some are not, but each family’s saga captures facets of the miracle of adoption.
Baby, We Were Meant for Each Other is a love story that doesn’t gloss over the rough spots. There are anxieties and tears along with hugs and smiles and the unparalleled joy of this blessed and special way of making a family. Here is a book that families who have adopted—or are considering adoption—will want to read for inspiration. But everyone can enjoy this story because, as Scott Simon writes, adoption can also help us understand what really makes families, and how and why we fall in love.