chicago readers discussion

Books set in / about Chicago

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message 1: by Teresa Marie (new)

Teresa Marie (chimastergrdnr) | 1 comments This past year I read "The Devil in the White City, Murder, Magic and Madness at the Fair that Changed America" by Erik Larson, which is historical fiction set in Chicago. I absolutely love it --- in part because the location (home :) ) made it more intimate. ANYONE else have a favorite "chicago" book to share - e.g. set in chicago fiction or historical fiction?

message 2: by Jessica (new)

Jessica (cosmiclemon) | 11 comments My favorite Chicago themed book is "Crossing California". It's about fictional characters, but it's also about the changes in the Rogers Park/Devon neighborhood where it takes place. Not my favorite book of all time but it captures something about Chicago. I plan on reading "Devil in the White City" one of these days. My other guilty favorite is "Bitter is the New Black Confessions of a Condescending Egomaniacal Self-Centered Smartass Or Why You Should Never Carry A Prada Bag to the Unemployment Office" by Jen Lancaster (?). It's a lot of fun.

message 3: by Pablo (new)

Pablo | 6 comments Actually, The Devil in the White City is not fiction, it's nonfiction. I saw Larson read and discuss the book at NWU this past summer.

message 4: by Jessica (new)

Jessica (cosmiclemon) | 11 comments Here is an excerpt from a New York Times Book Review that may help clarify why people think "Devil in the White City" is a fictional accounting of events:

February 10, 2003
BOOKS OF THE TIMES; Add a Serial Murderer to 1893 Chicago's Opulent Overkill

Murder, Magic and Madness at the Fair That Changed America
By Erik Larson
Illustrated. 447 pages. Crown Publishers. $25.95.

As part of his research for ''The Devil in the White City'' Erik Larson visited the part of Graceland cemetery where members of Chicago's turn-of-the-century elite are enshrined. As he puts it, ''On a crystalline fall day you can almost hear the tinkle of fine crystal, the rustle of silk and wool, almost smell the expensive cigars.''

Mr. Larson likes to embroider the past that way. So he relentlessly fuses history and entertainment to give this nonfiction book the dramatic effect of a novel, complete with abundant cross-cutting and foreshadowing. Ordinarily these might be alarming tactics, but in the case of this material they do the trick. Mr. Larson has written a dynamic, enveloping book filled with haunting, closely annotated information. And it doesn't hurt that this truth really is stranger than fiction.

message 5: by Mike (new)

Mike Bularz (nnnudibranch) | 1 comments The Lost City: The Forgotten Virtues of Community in America

Nostalgic book about the loss of community in postwar america, less empirical / concept-based and more localized to chicago-area examples.

message 6: by Erin (new)

Erin I really liked Hairstyles of the Damned.

message 7: by Kate (new)

Kate (kpaone92) | 2 comments The Coast of Chicago

This is a series of short stories that transforms the stolid landscape of Chicago into a dreamlike and otherworldly place. Combining homely details and heartbreakingly familiar voices with grand leaps of imagination, The Coast of Chicago is a masterpiece from one of America’s most highly regarded writers and a must read for anyone who loves Chicago.

message 8: by Adam (new)

Adam (adamruger) A book about the history of the Mob/Mafia in Chicago. Starts out before Al Capone and a little about Capone, but the main focus is about the people in charge up through the early 1980's.

message 9: by Emily (new)

Emily (dubs38) | 1 comments I can't believe no one went out of their way to talk about My Favorite Thing is Monsters yet! But I am Uptown through and through, so maybe it's my bias.

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