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Six Chicago-Centric Books to Read This Summer

Kick back and sink your teeth into these new works

'Something New: Tales From a Makeshift Bride' by Lucy Knisley

Something New: Tales From a Makeshift Bride

By Lucy Knisley
(First Second, $20)
Photos: Ratko Radojcic

A West Town cartoonist (Relish: My Life in the Kitchen) and devout DIYer tackles the ultimate challenge: her own wedding. The book is more of a gleeful grab bag than a straight memoir; each chapter comes with instructions for a project, from snagging a vintage ring to putting together a photo booth.


'The Sun in Your Eyes' by Deborah Shapiro

The Sun in Your Eyes

By Deborah Shapiro
(June 28, William Morrow, $26)

The first full-length outing from the local journalist and short-story writer is a road story, a rock ’n’ roll novel, and an empathic, carefully wrought tale of female friendship: The daughter of a musician who died tragically young ropes a pal into a search, decades later, for her father’s lost recordings.


'Brighton' by Michael Harvey


By Michael Harvey
(June 14, Ecco, $28)

Local author Harvey takes a break from his popular Michael Kelly detective series—and Chicago altogether—in his latest thriller, set in Boston. Harvey’s unfussy prose propels the plot. Raised in the same neighborhood, a pair of childhood friends find themselves on divergent paths, one becoming a star reporter, the other a local bookie. A series of murders bring them back together.


'How to Set a Fire and Why' by Jesse Ball

How to Set a Fire and Why

By Jesse Ball
(July 5, Pantheon, $25)

The latest from the prolific and idiosyncratic novelist (A Cure for Suicide) and School of the Art Institute professor is narrated by Lucia, a young woman with an institutionalized mother and a dead father who finds her calling in a secret extracurricular activity: the Arson Club.


'Listen to Me' by

Listen to Me

By Hannah Pittard
(July 5, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $25)

In this eerie novel by a University of Chicago grad and former DePaul instructor, a struggling married couple leave Chicago on a doomed road trip. Pittard paints an ominous picture featuring violent weather, weird characters, and a spooky inn.


'Kedzie Avenue: Stories Drawn From a City Street' by Jamie Hibdon, Darryl Holliday, and E.N. Rodriguez

Kedzie Avenue: Stories Drawn From a City Street

By Jamie Hibdon, Darryl Holliday, and E.N. Rodriguez
(August 23, Curbside Splendor, $25)

Since 2011, the Illustrated Press has produced some of the city’s most intimate, innovative journalism—and in comic form, no less. Based on a year’s worth of interviews with everyone from former alderman Berny Stone to a homeless man living under an overpass, this new offering is a nuanced documentary of one of Chicago’s most buzzing thoroughfares.


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