Chicago, USA

Chicago, USA

Friday, 14 June, 2024

Chicago is a representation of everything that makes the United States the awesome and challenging country that it is. There’s a tradition there of firsts — the skyscraper, the telegraph, the Twinkie — and a commitment to industry with railroads and shipping and meatpacking and teamsters.

There’s also a sobering history of race riots and gangsters. Daring muckrakers and corrupt politicians. Life-affirming jazz and blues musicians and baseball. Hot dogs, deep-dish pizza, and Italian beef sandwiches. And a population made up of immigrants from all over Europe that’s spawned high-spirited, tough-minded native Chicagoans.

our podcast

In this episode, we talk about Chicago’s colorful history and world-class cuisine. Then we discuss six books we love that explore Chicago’s culture, food, and background of rabble-rousers and heroes — including a classic of muckraking journalism, a hardboiled detective novel, a poignant graphic novel, a family saga disguised as a whimsical sci-fi romp, Roger Ebert’s moving autobiography, and a page-turning account of the World’s Columbian Exposition in 1893. (show notes / transcript)

recommended books

Curious Toys

buy | read review

The Devil In The White City

buy | read review


buy | read review

Jimmy Corrigan

buy | read review

The Jungle

buy | read review

Life Itself

buy | read review

So Big

buy | read review


buy | read review

Top image courtesy of Stephan Cassara/Unsplash.

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featured posts

We visit the Windy City for a deep-dive into what makes Chicago different from every other city in America. We discuss books we love that explore Chicago's culture, food, and history of rabble-rousers and heroes.
If you're looking for a zine about awesome pizza, indie magazines, or a Q&A with your favorite graphic novelist, Quimby's Bookstore in Chicago is your kind of place. Fulfilling all your weird book needs since 1991.
Treat yourself to a recipe for homemade Chicago-style hot dogs! It's an all-beef dog 'dragged through the garden' with colorful toppings for a taste explosion, inspired by Erik Larson's brilliant romp through history.
This story begins as a playful, almost-sci-fi romp, then becomes the heart-warming (and riotously funny) family saga you didn't know you needed — all while transporting you to the Chicago of the 1960s and 1990s.
Being 15 years old is hard. Being 15 with immigrant parents who just lost their idealized daughter is untenable. This coming-of-age story set in Chicago and Mexico is poignant and funny with an unforgettable heroine.
The plot points of this epic American novel can be quite sad, but the experience of reading it is a life-affirming one, mostly because our heroine Selina Peake — hardy farmer, believer in beauty — will not be daunted.

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