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Did you know Chicago is home to absolute scads of wonderful authors? We here at The Book Cellar love supporting local, and here you can find books written by your fellow Chicagoans in addition to titles that'll teach you The Windy City has a richer history than you'd even guess!

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Chicago Books!

Starved Rock State Park:: The Work of the CCC Along the I&m Canal

Starved Rock State Park:: The Work of the CCC Along the I&m Canal

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Visitors to Starved Rock State Park are often struck by the grandeur of its rustic lodge. They marvel at its massive fireplace and hand-hewn logs. Yet few realize that this structure is a tangible reminder of the Civilian Conservation Corps, which in the 1930s provided work for young men left unemployed by the Great Depression. Starved Rock Lodge was one of the biggest projects of the "CCC boys" along the Illinois and Michigan Canal, but it was far from the only one. Working as a team and living in camps from Willow Springs to La Salle-Peru, they built facilities that transformed the old canal into what became the I&M Canal State Trail (1974) and the nation's first National Heritage Corridor (1984). President Franklin D. Roosevelt's nation-wide program preserved the landscape from the ravages of soil erosion, flooding, and deforestation. In the process, the young men built beautiful parks, buildings, and shelters that we use and admire today.
Sticks and Stones

Sticks and Stones

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What does a woman do when she discovers her husband is an incurable cheater? If she's Cat DeLuca she launches the Pants On Fire Detective Agency. Now Cat does what two years of unholy matrimony taught her. She catches cheaters.When a client (Cleo Jones) shoots her cheating husband's bum full of buckshot, he disappears, taking her money, dog, and sister with him. Private Investigator Cat DeLuca promises to return the dog and money if her client stops shooting at Walter. Cleo agrees. The detective finds the dog and a mysterious bag chuck-full of cash. And then she finds Walter. His very dead body is still warm. The case is a slam dunk for the cops who arrest Cleo for the murder of her husband. She had motive and opportunity and a dozen witnesses heard her scream bloody murder. One made a video. Cat DeLuca is determined to prove her client's innocence and it's not an easy sell. Walter was an unsavory character with enemies. To find his killer, Cat will have to sift through the ones who didn't pull the trigger. Her investigation leads to four players with secrets: a childhood friend, a gambler, a construction tycoon, and a legendary Chicago designer. When forensic evidence suggests the detective knows more about the murder than she's telling, Cat faces the certain loss of her agency. Cat DeLuca is smart and charming. She's an unlikely heroine and her partner, a beagle named Inga, is quite likely to eat the evidence. "Sticks and Stones" delivers steamy romance, intrigue and laugh out loud humor for a wickedly delicious read.
Story Of Little Black Sambo

Story Of Little Black Sambo

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First published in London in 1899, this classic tale by Helen Bannerman tells the story of a little boy named Sambo who encounters four hunger tigers, outwits them, and turns them into butter, before returning safely home to eat a 169 pancakes for his supper.
Story That had to be Told

Story That had to be Told

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Celebrate the strength and beauty of life in this extraordinary story about a woman who faced insurmountable odds and achieved the unthinkable. The daughter of German immigrants, Andrea Schenk was born in 1934 and lived with her family in Depression-era Chicago, attending school and enjoying her simple childhood. She married Don in 1954 and settled into life, living on the first floor of his parents' house. Andrea had five children and one stillborn within her first seven years of marriage, and although she was physically and mentally exhausted, she was happy. On a pleasant summer day in 1965, tragedy struck.Andrea's four-year-old cousin was accidentally run over by an ice cream truck and lay dying in the alley as Andrea knelt beside him.Before long, Andrea's mind began to separate from reality, and within a few days she found herself in a psychiatric hospital. After nearly a decade of struggle and a second breakdown, Andrea finally found out what was wrong, and when she did, her life began to change. Through it all, Andrea never lost hope. She went on to study psychology to learn about her illness, earned both a bachelor's degree and master's degree, started a career helping senior citizens, all after the age of forty-five. Join Andrea on her amazing journey and witness the incredible strength of the human spirit!
Street in Their Own Ink

Street in Their Own Ink

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In a city like that one might sail
through life led by a runaway hat.
The young scattered in whatever directions
their wild hair pointed and, gusting
into one another, they fell in love.
--from "Windy City"
In his second book of poems, Stuart Dybek finds extraordinary vitality in the same vibrant imagery that animates his celebrated works of fiction. A brilliant and deft enactment of place, these poems map the internal geographies of characters who inhabit severe and often savage city streets, finding there a tension that transfigures past and present, memory and fantasy, sin and sanctity, nostalgia and the need to forget. Full of music and ecstasy, the poems of "Streets in Their Own Ink "consecrate a shadowed, alternate city of dreams and retrospection that parallels a modern city of hard realities. Throughout, one finds poetry enlivened by Dybek's signature talent for translating "extreme and fantastic events into a fabulous dailiness, as though the extraordinary were everywhere around us if only someone would tell us where to look" (Geoffrey Wolff).
Streets and San Man's Guide To Chicago Eats

Streets and San Man's Guide To Chicago Eats

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This offbeat budget guide will help travelers satisfy their midday cravings according to the strict standards of the City of Chicago's "Department of Lunch." Includes $25 in coupons. 83 listings. 23 detours.
Streets In Their Own Ink

Streets In Their Own Ink

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Streets in Their Own Ink . . . has a gritty realism infused with a sense of the marvelous. --Edward Hirsch, The Washington Post


In a city like that one might sail
through life led by a runaway hat.
The young scattered in whatever directions
their wild hair pointed and, gusting
into one another, they fell in love.
-from Windy City

In his second book of poems, Stuart Dybek finds vitality in the same vibrant imagery that animates his celebrated works of fiction. The poems of Streets in Their Own Ink map the internal geographies of characters who inhabit severe and often savage city streets, finding there a tension that transfigures past and present, memory and fantasy, sin and sanctity, nostalgia and the need to forget. Full of music and ecstasy, they consecrate a shadowed, alternate city of dreams and retrospection that parallels a modern city of hard realities. Ever present is Dybek's signature talent for translating extreme and fantastic events into a fabulous dailiness, as though the extraordinary were everywhere around us if only someone would tell us where to look (Geoffrey Wolff).

Streetwise Chicago Map

Streetwise Chicago Map

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Streetwise Maps makes the best laminated Chicago street map available for purchase on the market today. Easy to read and accordion fold for effortless use, all of our detailed travel maps are pocket size for discretion so you don't stick out like a tourist. Search for Streetwise Maps today to look for other great travel maps in addition to this Chicago map.

About Streetwise Maps:

Originators of the laminated accordion-fold map, Streetwise makes WATER RESISTANT city maps, street maps, road maps & metro maps of major destinations around the world, including locations in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Australia, Europe, the United Kingdom, South America and Asia. Streetwise Maps are designed AND printed in the United States.

Streetwise Downtown Chicago

Streetwise Downtown Chicago

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Streetwise Maps makes the best laminated downtown Chicago street map available for purchase on the market today. Easy to read and accordion fold for effortless use, all of our detailed travel maps are pocket size for discretion so you don't stick out like a tourist. Search for Streetwise Maps today to look for other great travel maps in addition to this downtown Chicago map.

About Streetwise Maps:

Originators of the laminated accordion-fold map, Streetwise makes WATER RESISTANT city maps, street maps, road maps & metro maps of major destinations around the world, including locations in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Australia, Europe, the United Kingdom, South America and Asia. Streetwise Maps are designed AND printed in the United States.

Studs Lonigan

Studs Lonigan

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A classic story of an Irish-American youth growing to adulthood in Chicago. Widely regarded as one of the finest American novels from the first half of the twentieth century.
Studs Terkel's Chicago

Studs Terkel's Chicago

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In a blend of history, memoir, and photography, the Pulitzer Prize winner paints a vivid portrait of this extraordinary American city.

Chicago was home to the country's first skyscraper (a ten-story building built in 1884), and marks the start of the famed Route 66. It is also the birthplace of the remote control (Zenith) and the car radio (Motorola), and the first major American city to elect a woman (Jane Byrne) and then an African American man (Harold Washington) as mayor.

Its literary and journalistic history is just as dazzling, and includes Nelson Algren, Mike Royko, and Sara Paretsky. From Al Capone to the street riots during the Democratic National Convention in 1968, Chicago, in the words of Studs Terkel, "has--as they used to whisper of the town's fast woman--a reputation."

Chicago was also home to Terkel, the Pulitzer Prize-winning oral historian, who moved to Chicago in 1922 as an eight-year-old and who would make it his home until his death in 2008 at the age of ninety-six. This book is a splendid evocation of Studs Terkel's hometown in all its glory--and all its imperfection.

Subsequesnt Blues

Subsequesnt Blues

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Gary Copeland Lilley writes sonnets and he writes scat, applying traditional forms to untraditional subjects, achieving great grace and insight via 'high' and 'low' cultural fusions. He examines the DC ghetto and an assortment of its players (voodoo priests, junkies, soldiers, mothers...) through the lenses of both a sonnet's crucial turn and the jazz riff's apparent, adamant stream-of-consciousness. E. Ethelbert Miller writes of The Subsequent Blues, "Gary Copeland Lilley writes like a man who owns a Stetson hat. Is he Stagolee? The Subsequent Blues is a book filled with a sinner's honesty. Lilley captures life with all its blue tones and shades. From cigarette smoke, to drinks and drugs, a few of the poems are as seductive as a woman's thighs. Lilley has seen enough bad times and death that each poem he writes has that flicker of light we once called soul. Put this book in your mojo bag."
Sundays at Sinai: A Jewish Congregation in Chicago

Sundays at Sinai: A Jewish Congregation in Chicago

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First established 150 years ago, Chicago Sinai is one of America's oldest Reform Jewish congregations. Its founders were upwardly mobile and civically committed men and women, founders and partners of banks and landmark businesses like Hart Schaffner & Marx, Sears & Roebuck, and the giant meatpacking firm Morris & Co. As explicitly modern Jews, Sinai's members supported and led civic institutions and participated actively in Chicago politics. Perhaps most radically, their Sunday services, introduced in 1874 and still celebrated today, became a hallmark of the congregation.In Sundays at Sinai, Tobias Brinkmann brings modern Jewish history, immigration, urban history, and religious history together to trace the roots of radical Reform Judaism from across the Atlantic to this rapidly growing American metropolis. Brinkmann shines a light on the development of an urban reform congregation, illuminating Chicago Sinai's practices and history, and its contribution to Christian-Jewish dialogue in the United States. Chronicling Chicago Sinai's radical beginnings in antebellum Chicago to the present, Sundays at Sinai is the extraordinary story of a leading Jewish Reform congregation in one of America's great cities.
Swedish Chicago

Swedish Chicago

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Tour Chicago's Swedish heritage, from the great waves of migration to the present day, through vintage photographs in Swedish Chicago.


At the turn of the 20th century, Chicago was home to the largest Swedish population of any city in the world outside of Stockholm.

In the 1920s, Sweden experienced an economic depression and population growth that sparked another rush of Swedish immigration to America and Chicago, where they settled in large numbers in Andersonville and North Park. Chicago has been home to many famous and influential Swedes, including writers Carl Sandburg and Nelson Algren, and builder and developer Andrew Lanquist, who gave us both Wrigley Field and the Wrigley Building.

Paul Michael Peterson is an English teacher and lifelong Chicago resident whose grandparents emigrated from Sweden. He continues to celebrate the yearly traditions that his Swedish heritage has given him, including making glogg at Christmas.

Sweet Lou and the Cubs

Sweet Lou and the Cubs

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Sweet Lou and the Cubs chronicles from the inside-out Lou Piniella's stirring and celebrated quest to reverse the team's fortunes after a record 100 years without a World Series championship. Drawing on the story of Piniella's Cubs debut in 2007 and his history as baseball's ultimate firebrand, veteran Cubs reporter George Castle gives fans the real story behind the building of the best Cubs team in decades. In riveting detail he traces how the Cubs swept into the 2008 playoffs as the favorite to represent the National League in the World Series, but then went down in shocking defeat--leaving millions of fans to pin their wounded hopes on the prospects of their remade team finally turning the tide in 2009. . . . This is sports writing at its best, focusing on Piniella's old-school style and baseball scientist's mind; wild swings in the Cubs' win-loss fortunes; the inside scoop on a Cubs' front office that has been dramatically more aggressive than its predecessors; the byplay of daily clubhouse life and profiles of key players; and Piniella's colorful proclamations and homespun philosophy, along with his interactions with his coaches, the team, ball-club executives, media, fans, and celebrity hangers-on.
Tales From the Cubs Dugout

Tales From the Cubs Dugout

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Have so many ever cheered so much for so little? The Chicago Cubs last won the World Series in 1908 and last appeared in the Fall Classic the year World War II ended. Yet Cubs fans are among the most loyal, the most knowledgable, and the most rabid in baseball. The teams they've loved and the players they've cherished have provided some of the game's finest moments, as well as a treasure trove of baseball lore. The Cubs' home park, Wrigley Field, is as much a national landmark as the Empire State Building or the Golden Gate Bridge. A charter member of the National League, the Cubs were born in 1876 -- the same year the Seventh Cavalry fought at Little Big Horn. Cap Anson, baseball's first superstar and possibly the finest player of the 19th century, played for early Cubs squads. In the early years of this century, the fantastic double-play combination of Tinkers to Evers to Chance was immortalized in verse. Mordecai Three Finger Brown, Grover Cleveland Alexander, and Fergie Jenkins rank among baseball's greatest pitchers, while hitters like Kiki Cuyler, Hack Wilson, Billy Herman, Ernie Banks, Billy Williams, and Sammy Sosa have put up amazing numbers. But the Cubs transcend baseball like Paris transcends Europe. The story of the Cubs is part legend, part pathos, often heroic, and, on occasion, hilarious.
Tangled Web: The Life and Death of Richard Cain - Chicago Cop and Mafia Hitman

Tangled Web: The Life and Death of Richard Cain - Chicago Cop and Mafia Hitman

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The Tangled Web tells the dramatic story of detective Richard Cain's criminal career as revealed by his half-brother, Michael. Cain led a double-life--one as a well-known cop who led raids that landed on the front pages, and the other as a made man in one of Chicago's most notorious mob families. Eventually executed by shotgun, Dick Cain lived and died in a world of bloodshed and violence, leaving behind a story so outlandish that he has even been suspected of being involved in the assassination of John F. Kennedy.
Taylor Street: Chicago's Little Italy

Taylor Street: Chicago's Little Italy

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Take a tour of Taylor Street, the heart of Chicago's Little Italy, with local historian and journalist Kathy Catrambone. A must-have for fans of Italian-American history.


Chicago's Near West Side was and is the city's most famous Italian enclave, earning it the title of Little Italy. Italian immigrants came to Chicago as early as the 1850s, before the massive waves of immigration from 1874 to 1920. They settled in small pockets throughout the city, but ultimately the heaviest concentration was on or near Taylor Street. At one point a third of all Chicago's Italian immigrants lived in the neighborhood. Some of their descendants remain, and although many have moved to the suburbs, their familial and emotional ties to the neighborhood cannot be broken.

Taylor Street: Chicago's Little Italy is a pictorial history from the late 19th century and early 20th century, from when Jane Addams and Mother Cabrini guided the Italians on the road to Americanization, through the area's vibrant decades, and to its sad story of urban renewal in the 1960s and its rebirth 25 years later.