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Archive for the 'Chicago, Illinois' Category

May 13th, 2015 • Posted in Chicago, Illinois

Another reason for the Literary Tourist to Visit Chicago

The Barack Obama Foundation selects Chicago as home for future Barack Obama Presidential Center. The President and First Lady reflect on their roots in Chicago’s South Side and announce plans to bring the future Obama Library, Museum and Foundation home to Chicago. 

“With a library and a foundation on the South Side of Chicago, not only will we be able to encourage and affect change locally, but what we can also do is attract the world to Chicago.” – President Obama

Video features Chicagoans: Timuel Black, Maya Hodari, Anne Kostroski, Yahtzeni Gonzales, Daweed Abdiel, and Chloe Glispie in their own words.

Learn more here

May 12th, 2013 • Posted in Chicago, Illinois

Literary Tourist day in Chicago

If Artists Books are your thing,  the Joan Flasch Artists Book Collection on Wabash street in downtown Chicago should be a first stop. Here

you’ll have your pick of more than 5,000 volumes

to leaf


If you’re of a mind to purchase a book after this, you might next want to head around the corner to Selected Works where you’ll find a good ‘selection’ of reading copies on most topics, and

you’ll meet Hodge  “Just a…

Read the rest here.

Check out the Literary Tourist listings map for Chicago here.

April 17th, 2013 • Posted in Chicago, Illinois

What to read when you go to Chicago

A friend of mine recently went to Chicago. For a bit of background context he read Devil in the White City which, he said, provided him with a terrific understanding of the place.

Featuring what, on the surface, seems like an odd juxtaposition the book explores the architecture of the 1893 World’s Fair and the life of one of America’s first serial killers, H.H. Holmes. For the literary tourist, the book serves as a map to what remains of a grand place (an arsonist set the “White City” ablaze and most of it burned to the ground) and a glorious event . Check out this lovely slide show

and Literary Tourist’s listings map of Chicago for other places, events and attractions that might be of interest.

November 5th, 2012 • Posted in Chicago, Illinois

Audio: Stephanie Hlywak on the power and place of Poetry in Chicago and in our Lives

The power of poetry or what? Listen and learn

I met last month – October, 2012 to be precise, the very month one hundred years ago that Poetry magazine was launched in Chicago – with Stephanie Hlywak, Media Director at the Poetry Foundation to talk about the history, mandate, approach and architecture, not only of the magazine, but also of The Foundation and its impressive new building, and, as if this weren’t enough, about the place and places of poetry itself in our world. Please listen here:

October 26th, 2012 • Posted in Chicago, Illinois, CITIES, Literary Destinations

Arriving at Paradise – the Poetry Foundation in Chicago

On Wednesday last I went to see Stephanie Hlywak, media director at the Poetry Foundation in Chicago (stay tuned for the interview).

I got out of the cab, spotted the words ‘poetry foundation’ on a shallow step in front of me,

and cleverly deduced that I was at the right place. But where was the entrance? How was I to get in? No door. No directions. Just a slim little path running along side the building, to my right,

a few trees, a short step up, and, straight ahead, an inscription on the wall  honouring Ruth Lilly.

What the hell. I’ll follow the passage way. Into an enclosed courtyard it led me. Across it, via a diagonal opening between trees – at a slant if you will – lay the door. Perhaps an employee entrance I thought. Nothing on it. Locked. Was I in the right place? Maybe the main entrance was on the other side of the building? So I banged, tentatively, and waved at a woman who sat behind a desk in what appeared to be a library of sorts. I could see her because the space, the building, the walls, are not opaque. They’re made out of glass.

I got in – and soon announced the purpose of my presence.

Stephanie subsequently explained that my experience of the previous five minutes was just what the building’s architect John Ronan had hoped for when he designed the place: a duplication of how one feels when approaching and entering a poem.

It put me in mind of this by Emily Dickinson:

I dwell in Possibility–
A fairer House than Prose–
More numerous of Windows–
Superior–for Doors-

Of Chambers as the Cedars–
Impregnable of Eye–
And for an Everlasting Roof
The Gambrels of the Sky–

Of Visitors–the fairest–
For Occupation–This–
The spreading wide my narrow Hands
To gather Paradise–

July 26th, 2012 • Posted in Chicago, Illinois, CITIES

Monster Book Sale in Chicago July 26-29, 2012

The end of July approaches! High time to settle down to some summer reading. There’s no better way to find it than by browsing  a good book fair.  Like the one that Chicago’s independent research library, The Newberry, puts on every year during the last weekend of July.

This great big book bender offers up some 120,000 donated books for sale.  Novels, cookbooks, children’s stories, travel books, history books, mysteries and collectibles.  Tons of treasures here. And the best thing: most go for a mere $2, or less. So, no reason to hold back.

Founded in 1887, The Newberry library and educational institution is dedicated to the advancement and dissemination of knowledge. Programs like the book fair, help to promote these values to the diverse community entering through the doors every day.  Buying a book supports the institution because 100% of the proceeds go to the Newberry.  You can also contribute by donating your used books throughout the year.  Click here for more information about book donations.

This year’s fair runs from Thursday July 26th to Sunday July 29th and is free to the public.  Come by and browse the books from 12pm to 8pm Thursday and Friday and from 10am to 6pm Saturday and Sunday.

Planning your visit:

Book your accommodation for Chi-Town’s famous book fair here.

Venue address:

The Newberry
60 West Walton Street
Chicago, IL 60610

Located in downtown Chicago, The Newberry is easily accessible by foot, bus, subway and car.  For those traveling farther, two major airports and  a train station serve the area.

December 11th, 2011 • Posted in Chicago, Illinois, CITIES, Literary Destinations

Fiction set in Chicago

From Wikipedia, here is a list of novels set in Chicago:

  • Nelson Algren‘s The Man With the Golden Arm ISBN
  • Blue Balliett‘s Chasing Vermeer and The Wright 3
  • Saul Bellow‘s The Adventures of Augie March 
  • Saul Bellow‘s Dangling Man
  • Saul Bellow‘s Ravelstein
  • Richard Bissell‘s 7½ Cents uses Chicago as a foil for a fictitious Iowa city.
  • Charles Blackstone‘s The Week You Weren’t Here
  • Fredric Brown‘s The Fabulous Clipjoint
  • Jim Butcher‘s The Dresden Files Series
  • Robert Wright Campbell‘s Jimmy Flannery mystery series
  • Paul Carson‘s Final Duty 
  • Sean Chercover‘s Big City, Bad Blood P.I. mystery.
  • Sandra CisnerosThe House on Mango Street 
  • Doug M. Cummings‘s Deader by the Lake: A Reno McCarthy Thriller 
  • Doug M. Cummings‘s Every Secret Crime: A Reno McCarthy Novel 2008. Five Star.
  • Don DeGrazia‘s American Skin
  • Julie Dever‘s Say Goodnight, Gracie
  • Tom Dowd‘s Burning Bright
  • Theodore Dreiser‘s Sister Carrie
  • Stuart Dybek‘s The Coast of Chicago
  • James T. Farrell‘s Studs Lonigan trilogy
  • Joshua Ferris‘s Then We Came to the End 
  • Edna Ferber‘s So Big
  • John M. Ford‘s The Last Hot Time 
  • Melvin E. Giles‘s George Street, Our Street 
  • John Grisham‘s The Litigators
  • Michael T. Harvey‘s The Chicago Way and The Fifth Floor
  • Aleksandar Hemon‘s Nowhere Man 
  • Ward Just‘s An Unfinished Season
  • Harry Stephen Keeler‘s The Riddle of the Traveling Skull  (and many other novels by Keeler)
  • Adam Langer‘s Crossing California and The Washington Story (the latter a semi-sequel to the former)
  • Nella Larsen‘s Quicksand 
  • Nella Larsen‘s Passing
  • Jeanette Lee‘s Mr. Achilles
  • Somerset Maugham‘s The Razor’s Edge 
  • Joe Meno‘s Hairstyles of the Damned
  • Thomas Mullen The Many Deaths of the Firefly Brothers
  • Audrey Niffenegger‘s The Time Traveler’s Wife
  • Frank Norris‘s The Pit
  • Achy Obejas‘s Memory Mambo
  • Sara Paretsky‘s thrillers featuring private eye V.I. Warshawski
  • Richard Peck‘s Fair Weather
  • Daniel Pinkwater‘s The Education of Robert Nifkin
  • Veronica Roth‘s "Divergent"
  • Robert Shea and Robert Anton Wilson‘s Illuminatus!
  • Upton Sinclair‘s The Jungle ISBN 1-884365-30-2
  • Greg Leitich Smith‘s Ninjas, Piranhas and Galileo
  • Terrance L. Smith’s The Thief Who Came to Dinner
  • Scott Spencer‘s Endless Love
  • Chris Ware‘s Jimmy Corrigan, the smartest kid on earth (mostly set in Chicago)
  • Richard Wright‘s Native Son

    January 22nd, 2009 • Posted in Bookstores, Chicago, Illinois

    The Seminary Co-op Bookstore Photos; Red is for Lit Crit

    While in Chicago recently I had the pleasure of meeting and interviewing Levi Stahl (of University of Chicago Press fame). Our conversation should be up on the site shortly. Levi supplied me with the addresses of a number of bookstores for me to photograph, including the not to be missed Seminary Co-op. I notice that Scott Esposito has a post on the Co-op today, in which he tells us that “The Co-op has now ” premiered a feature called UpFront. They have “asked our friends from University Presses to highlight for you their favorite upcoming books.” Here are their recommendations for February and March. And if you do find something worthwhile on their list, I’m sure they’d appreciate if you bought it through their online store.”

    Here’s what we came up with on the photo front: Quite an unassuming place it is:

    Down in the basement (reminds me a bit of the movie Brazil) of an old, yes, seminary, near the University of Chicago.

    Notice the yellow stripe on the floor.

    Follow it and you get to the section it represents. For future reference: Red takes you to Literary Criticism:

    Check out the Literary Tourist listings map for Chicago here.