Chicago history, Comics and Graphic Novels, Lit, Nonfiction, Reviews

Review: “A Repugnant Purity”: Al Capone, by Pierre-Francois Radice and Swann Meralli

Chicago is best known for its transplants. Our biggest celebrities come to a pocketful of names—most from elsewhere, but now synonymous with the Windy City. Much like Oprah, Michael, Ditka, […]

Dan Kelly /
Chicago history, Lit, Nonfiction, Reviews

Review: The Lost Subways of North America: A Cartographic Guide to the Past, Present, and What Might Have Been, by Jake Berman

From Atlanta to Washington, DC, Boston to Vancouver, Los Angeles to Miami, Montreal to Toronto, cartographer and writer Jake Berman explores the failures and successes of North American transport through […]

June Sawyers /
Chicago history, Chicago history, Lit, Nonfiction

Review: Washington, Daley, and Three Other Mayors, Chicago’s Modern Mayors, edited by Dick Simpson and Betty O’Shaughnessy

Chicago’s Modern Mayors, edited by Dick Simpson and Betty O’Shaughnessy, covers a 40-year period during which Chicago, its people, and its region went through great changes under a succession of […]

Patrick T. Reardon /
Chicago history, Chicago history, Lit, Nonfiction

Review: A Second Breezier History of Chicago’s Great Fire, The Burning of the World: The Great Chicago Fire and the War for a City’s Soul, by Scott W. Berg

As someone who writes books, I felt a pang of empathy for Scott W. Berg when I heard that he’d published in September a new book about the Great Chicago […]

Patrick T. Reardon /
Chicago history, Events, Fiction, Interviews, Lit, Live lit events

The Haunting of Hemingway House: Four Women Writers Make Hemingway’s Childhood Home a Clean, Well-Frighted Place

Note: The event is sold out, but Ernest Hemingway’s Birthplace Museum continues to present tours and weekly events all year round. As the quintessential literary man’s man, it’s easy to […]

Dan Kelly /
Chicago history, Chicago history, Fiction, Lit

Review: A Sparkling, Gritty, and Compassionate Collection, Dona Cleanwell Leaves Home: Stories, by Ana Castillo

The seven stories in Ana Castillo’s sparkling and new, yet gritty and compassionate collection Dona Cleanwell Leaves Home, share several common themes. Ghosts, for one, including a beautiful naked woman […]

Patrick T. Reardon /
Chicago history, Events, Food, Lit, Live lit events, Nonfiction, Recipes

Review: Consuming My Religion: Holy Food, by Christina Ward

No matter how busy they were creating the universe, some gods always found time to lay down the law on what their worshippers should eat. Diets and deities have a […]

Dan Kelly /
Architecture, Beyond, Chicago history, Chicago history, Children's books, Comics and Graphic Novels, Fiction, Lit, Nonfiction, Poetry

Essay: In Defense of “Unregulated” Little Free Libraries

Ald. Raymond Lopez (15th) thinks the little free libraries along many Chicago sidewalks are bad—very bad. They are “unregulated”! And they’re “popular”! And many of them are planted in city soil! (Collective […]

Patrick T. Reardon /
Chicago history, Chicago history, Children's books, Essays, Event, Lit, Live lit events, Nonfiction, Poetry

Printers Row on Saturday: A Celebration of Community

Near the end of Saturday at this year’s Printers Row Lit Fest, an 80-year-old Italian painter from the North Shore told me she’s going to have a huge party if […]

Patrick T. Reardon /
Chicago history, Comedy, Lit, Nonfiction, Theater

Review: Jeffrey Sweet Updates His Second City History—Now With That Elusive Viola Spolin Interview

Forty-five years ago, Jeffrey Sweet wrote a book—the story of Second City, which was then only about a decade old. But Chicago’s preeminent comedy theater had a much longer history, […]

Nancy S Bishop /
Chicago history, Lit, Nonfiction

Review: An Important Story, Lost in the Details, Jolliet and Marquette: A New History of the 1673 Expedition, by Mark Walczynski

The expedition of discovery Louis Jolliet, a merchant-explorer, and Jacques Marquette, a Jesuit priest, undertook with five other men in 1673, was a pivotal moment in the history of North […]

Patrick T. Reardon /
Chicago history, Lit, Nonfiction

Review: Fighting for the Marginalized, Ed Marciniak’s City and Church: A Voice of Conscience, by Charles Shanabruch

In late 1972, Ed Marciniak, a perennial social critic and justice activist, became president of the Institute of Urban Life, a small program affiliated with Loyola University Chicago. He had just […]

Patrick T. Reardon /