Summer brings more for Chicago book lovers than lite fare to gloss through under the umbrella: lit fairs, book sales, a venerable celebration of free speech, and even one full-fledged gala. —Sam Worley
Little City Used Book Sale Billed as the largest used book sale in the midwest, this annual sale also offers CDs, DVDs, records, comic books, and collectibles. Proceeds benefit the Little City Foundation, which supports children and adults with autism and other developmental disabilities. Fri 6/4, 5-10 PM, Sat 6/5 and 6/12, and Fri 6/11, 10 AM-9 PM, Sun 6/6 and 6/13, 10 AM-5 PM, Mon-Thu 6/7-6/10, 10 AM-8 PM, Westfield Old Orchard, 4999 Old Orchard Rd., Skokie, littlecity.org, $10 on opening night, free thereafter.
Printers Row Lit Fest The midwest's largest literary festival, held in the historic Printers Row district, includes author readings and signings, panel discussions, book sales, and more. All events are free, though those at the Harold Washington Library Center require advance tickets. Sat-Sun 6/12-6/13, 10 AM-5 PM, Dearborn between Congress and Polk, printersrowlitfest.org.
Newberry Library Book Fair and Bughouse Square Debates Got a soapbox? Get up on it at the Bughouse Square Debates, held in historic Washington Square Park—which for the better half of the 20th century was the "most celebrated free-speech center in the nation" according to the Encyclopedia of Chicago—and prepare be heckled. At the Newberry's concurrent annual book sale, peruse some 110,000 donated books in 70 categories, many priced under $2. Thu-Sun 7/29-8/1, book fair Thu-Fri noon-8 PM and Sat-Sun 10 AM-6 PM, debates Sat 1-4 PM, Newberry Library, 60 W. Walton, 312-255-3700, newberry.org.
Printers' Ball Annual mixer for the publishing scene, thrown by Poetry magazine, with music, video, performance, and lots of free books, magazines, journals, and other swag. The theme for 2010 is "Print <3 Digital," and organizers promise to "demonstrate how print and digital media complement (not kill) each other." Fri 7/30, 6-11 PM, Columbia College, 1104 S. Wabash, 312-344-6600, printersball.org.
57th Street Children's Book Fair Dozens of booksellers and community organizations participate in this vaunted neighborhood book sale, which also features "reading-related activities," live entertainment, and refreshments. Sun 9/19, 1-6 PM, 57th and Kimbark, 773-684-1300, 57cbf.org.