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10 Chicago Books to Look Forward To in 2016

Chicago’s most anticipated reads of the year, from graphic novels to grammar guides

The Empty Bottle Chicago: 21+ Years of Music/Friendly/Dancing comes out April 12   Photo: Courtesy of the Empty Bottle

Conditions are ripe to cozy up with a book—and with a wealth of local titles on the horizon in 2016, there’s plenty to choose from. Below are Chicago’s 10 most anticipated, written in, about, or by a native of Chicago.

1 Waiting for Buddy Guy: Chicago Blues at the Crossroads

By Alan Harper

In the late 1970s, Alan Harper traveled from Britain to Chicago to embrace the city’s blues scene, brushing elbows with the likes of pianist Sunnyland Slim and harmonica player Big Walter Horton. Here, he bores into blues-era race relations between southern-born black players and the growing popularity of guitarists. February 15, University of Illinois Press ($19.95)

2 The Creative Tarot: A Modern Guide to an Inspired Life, 

By Jessa Crispin

The founder of Bookslut and Spolia explains how to trump creative blocks with tarot. Crispin has written about the mystical playing cards for The New York Times, Ohio Edit, and others, all the while giving psychic readings on the side. February 16, Touchstone ($16.46)

3 Patience, 

By Daniel Clowes

The New Yorker cover artist and Ghost World author tells a sci-fi love story in this sprawling graphic novel, which plays with time travel and parallel universes. March 21, Fantagraphics ($19.87)

4 Papi: A Novel

By Rita Indiana, translated by Achy Obejas

When a young girl’s father returns to Santo Domingo from the United States, she realizes that America doesn’t always mean Nikes and new cars. Indiana melds sci-fi and satire into a horrific coming-of-age novel about the relationship between drug dealer and child. March 22, University of Chicago Press ($15)

5 Post-Racial or Most-Racial?: Race and Politics in the Obama Era 

By Michael Tesler

Author and poli-sci professor Michael Tesler makes the case that Obama’s presidency has heightened racial tensions in America rather than dulled them. March 22, University of Chicago Press ($25)

6 The Chicago Freedom Movement: Martin Luther King Jr. and Civil Rights Activism in the North

Edited by Mary Lou Finley

Scholars and activists reexamine the lasting impact of King’s  Chicago Freedom Movement, often considered a dud after its snubbed ‘66 fair housing deal with Daley. April 5, University of Kentucky ($45)

7 The Empty Bottle Chicago: 21+ Years of Music/Friendly/Dancing

Edited by John E. Dugan

Chicago’s beloved 21-and-up venue celebrates its 21st birthday with a scrapbook of fan stories, concert posters, and anecdotes by rockers Jack White and Interpol. April 12, Curbside Splendor ($34.95)

8 But Can I Start a Sentence with “But”?: Advice from the Chicago Style Q&A

By The University of Chicago Press Editorial Staff

From the editors of the Chicago Manual of Style comes this rule book for the day’s most harped-on grammar rules. Is it happy medium or happy median? Find out soon enough. April 22, University of Chicago Press ($15)

9 Mickey

By Chelsea Martin

The author of the alt-lit hit Even Though I Don’t Miss You returns with a comic novella tracking artistic struggles, an estranged mother, and breakup-fueled booze binges. She’s already garnered praise from Lena Dunham. July 12, Curbside Splendor ($14.95)

10 Steppenwolf Theatre Company of Chicago: In Their Own Words 

By John Mayer

The first-ever book on the seminal theater company chronicles its rise from a high school troupe in 1974 through interviews with founders, company members, and others. August 11, Theatre Makers ($29.95)

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