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Arts & Culture » Books Issue

25 local books to stock your shelves

Add these new reads by and about Chicagoans to your list.


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All Hack by Dmitry Samarov (self-published)
The Reader contributor's illustrated memoir about driving a cab in Boston and Chicago

The Beauty of Your Face by Sahar Mustafah (W. W. Norton & Company)
This debut novel drops a Palestinian American family drama into the envelope of a terrorist attack on a suburban Chicago Muslim school for girls.

Between Everything and Nothing by Joe Meno (Counterpoint Press)
The author's first nonfiction book, following two young men from Ghana and their quest for asylum

Everywhere You Don't Belong by Gabriel Bump (Algonquin Books)
A novel following a young man growing up in South Shore and coming to terms with the idea of home

The Heart of a Woman: The Life and Music of Florence B. Price by Rae Linda Brown (University of Illinois Press)
About Florence B. Price, who lived in Chicago and was the first Black woman composer in the U.S. to have her music played by a major orchestra

Hood Feminism by Mikki Kendall (Viking)
A collection of essays asking readers to reconsider what feminism is and how they've shown up for women of color

The King of Confidence: A Tale of Utopian Dreamers, Frontier Schemers, True Believers, False Prophets, and the Murder of an American Monarch by Miles Harvey (Little, Brown and Company)
This nonfiction work digs deep into the legacy of 19th-century Mormon leader and charlatan James Strang.

The Lost Book of Adana Moreau by Michael Zapata (Hanover Square Press)
This author's debut, a mystery novel about a lost science-fiction manuscript

Pew by Catherine Lacey (Macmillian)
A small town takes in a mysterious, silent, androgynous person and tries to uncover their true identity.

Prison by Any Other Name by Maya Schenwar and Victoria Law (The New Press)
An examination of the consequences of prison reform

Queer Legacies: Stories from Chicago's LGBTQ Archives by John D'Emilio (University of Chicago Press)
A deep dive into Gerber/Hart Library's records related to gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and queer-identified people and organizations in the city

Recipe for Persuasion by Sonali Dev (HarperCollins)
The second in a series of rom-com novels putting a unique, modern twist on Jane Austen classics

Saving Ruby King by Catherine Adel West (Park Row)
West's debut novel follows one young woman's life in the aftermath of her mother being killed in her home on Chicago's south side.

So Forth by Rosanna Warren (W. W. Norton & Company)
A new collection from the renowned poet

The Taste of Sugar by Marisel Vera (Liveright)
A novel based in 1898 Puerto Rico on the eve of the Spanish-American War

Troublemakers: Chicago Freedom Struggles Through the Lens of Art Shay by Erik Gelman (University of Chicago Press)
A close look at Chicago's social movements from the 1940s to the '60s through the work of the legendary photographer

Wow, No Thank You by Samantha Irby (Vintage)
Laugh-out-loud essays about getting older and being a "cheese fry-eating slightly damp Midwest person" outside of the midwest



Memorial Drive by Natasha Trethewey (Harper Collins)
In this memoir the Pulitzer Prize-winning poet reflects on her mother's life and how she grieved when her mother was killed by her stepfather.


The Living Dead by Daniel Kraus and George A. Romero (Macmillan)
A new zombie tale started by Romero and finished after his death by Kraus


Cher Ami and Major Whittlesey by Kathleen Rooney (Penguin Books)
A novel based on the true story of the relationship between a WWI messenger pigeon and a soldier

Finna by Nate Marshall (One World)
Poetry celebrating the Black voice


The Sprawl by Jason Diamond (Coffee House Press)
Essays reconsidering the suburbs as cultural hotspots


The Seventh Mansion by Maryse Meijer (Macmillian)
A coming-of-age fantasy novel about humanity's relationship with nature


Maya and the Rising Dark by Rena Barron (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
Twelve-year-old Maya must fight dark forces that only she sees in her south-side Chicago neighborhood to bring her father home in this YA fantasy novel.


Golem Girl by Riva Lehrer (One World)
A memoir about living with spina bifida and using art to change the way the world sees people with disabilities   v

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