Chicago

Haymarket Books Caters to the Literary Tastes of Radicals

Rebecca Stoner

"The holy grail of radical publishing," says Fain, now the press's managing editor, is a book that sparks "conversations . . . in existing movements." Many of Haymarket's books—especially those with a connection to Chicago—focus on the achievements of social justice struggles and on offering a counternarrative to dominant accounts of contentious political issues. 

On Chicago’s West Side, No Rebound From the Recession

La Risa Lynch

While the overall unemployment rate in Chicago has declined since the recession ended, the rate in African-American communities has remained high. The citywide unemployment rate was 8.4 percent in 2014, but it has been well into the double digits in neighborhoods like Austin, North Lawndale, Englewood and Garfield Park, according to a Reporter analysis. The interconnection between unemployment and incarceration has made these communities least likely to share in the economic recovery.

Top Literary Cities in the U.S.

Gabriella Tutino

What determines a city as ‘literary?’ It’s not enough to have a large library, unique bookstores, or be the birthplace of a famous writer. Nor is it enough to be one of the top literate cities in the United States  Most literary cities have a strong writing program at one of their numerous colleges and universities, as well as bookstores and institutions hosting event after event. If anything, a literary city is a blend of the historical, cultural, and modern parts of literature, encouraging and inspiring future generations to appreciate and take part in the literary world.

In Chicago, a Fight to Redistribute Surplus Cash

Keith Griffith

Economic development funds created under the policy, called tax increment financing (TIF), had an unspent balance of $1.7 billion at the end of last year. In the wake of record school closures, teacher layoffs, and other city service cuts, Grassroots Collaborative thinks some of that money should go back into city and school budgets, an option that Mayor Rahm Emanuel publicly dismissed this summer. “Increasingly, Chicago is a tale of two cities,” says Patel. “One for those who have wealth and resources, and another for those who are struggling with poverty.”

Literary Flashback: Reading ‘The Devil in the White City’

Kimberly Tolleson

Despite being a work of historical nonfiction, Erik Larson’s Devil in the White City is surprisingly capable of leaving readers with mouths open and hairs on end; it’s a wonder that such a tantalizing true story is not already a part of America’s mainstream lore. For this reason, however, the book reads like good fiction, replete with foreshadowing, suspense, and enthralling characters. The author backs up his narrative with vast research, digging into the history surrounding the improbable construction of the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair and America’s first serial killer who preyed there.

Saving the Chicago School System

Alex LaFosta

In June 2013, the Chicago Public Schools made the decision to close 49 schools -- one of the largest closing of schools in any American city in years. The CPS made the tough decision facing a near $1 billion budget deficit, which they are still scrambling to contain. After the announcement of the school closings, it was evident that mass layoffs were inevitable. Later in the month, the Chicago Sun Times reported that of the 48 schools to be closed, 420 teachers and 1,005 school staff were to be subsequently fired. 

Reading Aleksandar Hemon: Where Biography Meets Fiction

Kara Krauze

If you have encountered the Bosnian writer Aleksandar Hemon, citizen of Chicago since 1992, you know the pleasures and sustenance his work offers. And if this is your first introduction, then welcome. Hemon, who won a MacArthur Grant in 2004, has published four compelling books of fiction. His short stories and novel, inflected by personal experience, loss and memory, probe what it means to be deeply affected by war, and what's inexplicable accompanying it. In Hemon’s case: what it means to exist within the experience of war, yet remain outside.

American Pilgrimage: A Road Trip to Mount Rushmore and Back

David DiLillo

Born a third-generation American, I was raised with a vivid sense of pride for my country. Born in New York City, however, my perception of what this country exactly is remained far more tenuous for a long time. What did the soil feel like one thousand miles away from either coast? What scent did the trees give off resting between the Appalachians and the Rockies? Most importantly, what were other Americans like? What does that word mean, apart from the ideals and laws we all uphold and debate over? I set off from my home city with two close friends, determined to make it to the west end of South Dakota, committed to answering these questions. 

Beer...The New Sophisticated Spirit

Beth Kaiserman

A hearty glass of red wine with a juicy steak or a crisp glass of white with a delicate fish are two pairings that may never go out of style. But beer has made its mark on the food scene as a fantastic beverage to pair with meals and cheese -- and even in recipes, like bread, stews, and desserts. (Guinness milk chocolate ice cream, anyone?) Over the last decade or so, America has seen a beer renaissance. 

New York vs. Chicago: Rating the Charms of the Big Apple and the Windy City

Beth Kaiserman

Two cities. One a thriving metropolis of Midwestern opportunity, the other a concrete nexus of humanity searching for answers. Chicago and New York City. Both bustling with young people full of hopes and dreams. Both attracting hoards of newcomers eager to drink craft beers in the “up-and-coming” neighborhoods on the outskirts of downtown. But each city boasts its own charms, and at least one reason why its born-and-bred citizens won’t call anywhere else home.

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