Today's Chicagoan: Anne Ford | Bleader

Today's Chicagoan: Anne Ford


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Anne Ford
  • David Figlio
  • Anne Ford
For the Reader's Chicagoans column, writer Anne Ford switches into oral-historian mode, seeking out interesting characters and letting us hear from them directly. Here we turn the tables in honor of Anne's book signing Tuesday at the DePaul Center Barnes & Noble.

"I got asked to write Peaceful Places Chicago for a few reasons—I used to be a travel editor at Rand McNally, I still do travel writing in addition to other things like Chicagoans, and I’ve lived in the Chicago area for 15 years. But my secret qualification is that I really hate loud noise. Fortunately, I mostly work at home, but a girl has to leave the house sometimes. So, this book.

"Whenever people hear its title, they say, 'Oh, peaceful places, like the Garfield Park Conservatory.' Yes, and that’s in there, but I also tried to include places that are a little weirder (in a really good way)—like the Abraham Lincoln Book Shop, where for a while you could see a piece of cloth with Abraham Lincoln’s blood on it from the night he was shot. Or Intuit: The Center for Intuitive and Outsider Art, where you can see artwork signed by someone who calls himself 'Backward Jesus.'

"There are also several places that even longtime Chicagoans might not know about, like the St. Therese Chinese Catholic Mission, which is a 100-plus-year-old Italian-Chinese church in Chinatown. It’s usually locked, but if you call the office, someone will let you in and let you look around. And then there’s Todd & Holland Tea Merchants, a cozy, beautiful, superquiet, very well-stocked tea shop in Forest Park that’s totally worth the drive."

—As told to Jerome Ludwig

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