Chicago Book Review’s Best Books of 2013

CBR_Logo2As 2013 comes to a close, we’re looking back on our first six months of blog existence with gratitude to all the authors, bookstores, publishers, readers, and reviewers who are helping us turn Chicago Book Review into something special—something that goes beyond Top 10 bestsellers to examine the books issued by local authors and publishers. Something that falls somewhere between vapid “I loved it!” reviews and reviews awash in erudition by writers in love with their own words.

Since launching in June 2013, we’ve been lucky enough to work with a number of local authors and publishers to highlight some of the great work coming out of Chicago, out of Illinois, and out of the Midwest. Today we shine a spotlight on some of that work with our first annual (just kidding, grammar geeks!) year-end “Best of” round-up.


Four-Star Review

9781613744574 hi res cover imageThe Hoosier Mama Book of Pie: Recipes, Techniques, and Wisdom from the Hoosier Mama Pie Company by Paula Haney, with Allison Scott

Home Front Girl: A Diary of Love, Literature, and Growing Up in Wartime America by Joan Wehlen Morrison

The Art of Migration: Birds, Insects, and the Changing Seasons in Chicagoland by Peggy Macnamara with John Bates and James H. Boone

Three-Star Review

Large_9781600788345November’s Fury: The Deadly Great Lakes Hurricane of 1913 by Michael Schumacher

100 Things Bears Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die by Kent McDill

Wrigley Field: The Centennial by Les Krantz

Power Vegan: Plant-Fueled Nutrition for Maximum Health and Fitness by Rea Frey

Undone: When Coming Apart Puts You Back Together by Laura Sumner Truax

9780897337182_FCZen Under Fire: How I Found Peace in the Midst of War by Marianne Elliott

Chicago Flashbulbs: A Quarter-Century of News, Politics, Sports and Show Business (1987–2012) by Cory Franklin, MD

The Longevity Seekers: Science, Business, and the Fountain of Youth by Ted Anton

County: Life, Death, and Politics at Chicago’s Public Hospital by David A. Ansell, MD, MPH

Chicago Skyscrapers: 1871–1934 by Thomas Leslie, AIA

Golden: How Rod Blagojevich Talked Himself out of the Governor’s Office and Into Prison by Jeff Coen and John Chase

Hollywood on Lake Michigan: 100+ Years of Chicago and the Movies, Second Edition by Michael Corcoran and Arnie Bernstein

9780226020938Expressionista: How to Express Your True Self Through (and Despite) Fashion by Jackie Walker and Pamela Dittmer McKuen

Ramblers: Loyola Chicago 1963—The Team That Changed the Color of College Basketball by Michael Lenehan

You Were Never in Chicago by Neil Steinberg

Gold Coast Madam: The Secret Life of Rose Laws by Rose Laws with Dianna Harris

Portraits from the Park: Comiskey Park Photographs, 1973–1990 by Thomas W. Harney

First Son: The Biography of Richard M. Daley by Keith Koeneman


9781402279454-300CBR’S BEST FICTION OF 2013

Four-Star Review

The Last Telegram by Liz Trenow


Three-Star Review

Vintage Attraction frontJMquoteA Murder at Rosamund’s Gate by Susanna Calkins

Vintage Attraction by Charles Blackstone

Meet Me at the Cupcake Café: A Novel with Recipes by Jenny Colgan

The Firebird by Susanna Kearsley

The One-Way Bridge by Cathie Pelletier


Here’s wishing a great 2014 to one and all, full of great books from great authors and great publishers. Read local!



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Filed under feature, fiction, nonfiction

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