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CBR’s 2014 Holiday Reading Guide

CBR_Logo22014 marks Chicago Book Review’s first full year of reviewing books by local authors, books from local publishers, and books about local subjects. During this past year, we’ve reviewed dozens of fiction and nonfiction titles, some of which we loved, some … well, not so much. But that’s okay—just because our reviewers might not have liked something doesn’t mean you won’t.

With that, we invite you to peruse our 2014 Holiday Reading Guide, a list of more than four dozen titles that might make perfect gifts for someone you care about—or additions to your own wish list. Click on the Fiction and Nonfiction links to find reviews for each of these books.

Too, visit our Fall 2014 Preview, which includes dozens of additional titles (a number of which we have not reviewed) that might be of interest.

While you’re clicking away, take a look at the list on the left of the screen here. There you’ll find links to dozens of Chicagoland bookstores. We encourage you to explore these fabulous indies and shop local.

Shop local. Read local. Support your local authors and publishers and discover what wonderful books they’re writing and publishing for you.

Happy Holidays!


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Bird by Crystal Chan
Butterfly Stitching by Shermin Nahid Kruse
The Confessions of Frances Godwin by Robert Hellenga
The End of the Book by Porter Shreve
The Good Girl by Mary Kubica
The Hundred-Year House by Rebecca Makkai
The Last Enchantments by Charles Finch
O, Democracy! by Kathleen Rooney
Ruler of Demons by Scott A. Lerner
Shadows the Sizes of Cities by Gregory W. Beaubien
This Is Where It Gets Interesting by John H. Matthews
Upload by Mark McClellanddoor county cover
Undressing Mr. Darcy by Karen Doornebos
When Bad Things Happen to Rich People by Ian Morris
A Winged Thing, and Holy by Mary Gray Kaye

Death Stalks Door County by Patricia Skalka
The Green Line by E. C. Diskin

Stories & Essays
Animals in Peril by Ryan Kenealy
Inspired Every Day by Patricia Crisafulli
The Man Who Built Boxes by Frank Tavares
Quality Snacks by Andy Mozina



9780226067704       93284100046520M      Orban Wineries

Arts & Culture
Bigger, Brighter, Louder by Chris Jones
Capital Culture by Neil Harris

Influencing Hemingway by Nancy W. Sindelar
Victura: The Kennedys, a Sailboat, and the Sea by James W. Grahamimage

Attitude—The Cornerstone of Leadership by Pat Sullivan

The Green City Market Cookbook by The Green City Market

Gardening with Perennials by Noel Kingsbury

The Negro In Illinois edited by Brian Dolinar
Pedestrianism by Matthew Algeo
Sitting on Top of the World by Steven L. Richards
Women Heroes of World War I by Kathryn J. Atwoodfamous ski hills cover

Famous Ski Hills in Wisconsin (And Other Delusions of Grandeur) by Scott Jacobs

Local/Regional Interest
999: A History of Chicago in Ten Stories by Richard B. Fizdale
AIA Guide to Chicago by American Institute of Architects;
Along the Streets of Bronzeville by Elizabeth Schroeder Schlabach
Chicago River Bridges by Patrick T. McBriarty
Chicagoscapes by Larry Kanfer and Alaina Kanfer
Exploring Chicago Blues by Rosalind Cummings-Yeates
Exploring Nature in Illinois by Michael Jeffords and Susan Post
Graveyards of Chicago by Matt Hucke and Ursula Bielski
Illinois Wines & Wineries by Clara Orban
Locally Brewed by Anna Blessing

Good in a Crisis by Margaret Overton
Grand Crossing by Jack McGuire
The Most Beautiful Girl by Tamara Saviano
Song of the Fool by Hunter Sharpless
Worth Fighting For by Rory Fanning

Wisconsin’s Door County by Thomas Huhti

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CBR’s 2013 Holiday Reading Guide

CBR_Logo2Here at Chicago Book Review, we hope to help readers find interesting new titles that otherwise might go unexplored. By reviewing titles from local publishers and local authors, as well as those books that have some other Chicago-area angle, we hope to bring to light new books and new authors that readers can discover. Over the past few months, we’ve reviewed a number of great titles—any one (or two or three) of which would make great additions to holiday wish lists. And so we are pleased to provide this 2013 holiday reading list. You can find reviews of each of these books on the site.

While perusing this list, look to your left and check out the links to local publishers and local bookstores. We hope you think local when shopping for your favorite books.

Shop Local. Read Local.

General Fiction

  • Vintage Attraction by Charles Blackstone (Pegasus Books)
  • Recalled to Life by Dan Burns (Eckhartz Press)
  • Meet Me at the Cupcake Café by Jenny Colgan (Sourcebooks)
  • The Firebird by Susanna Kearsley (Sourcebooks)
  • Long Division by Kiese Laymon (Agate Publishing)
  • The One-Way Bridge by Cathie Pelletier (Sourcebooks)
  • Murder_at__Rosamund¹s_Gate_revised_2The Last Telegram by Liz Trenow (Sourcebooks)


  • Bright and Yellow, Hard and Cold by Tim Chapman (Allium Press)
  • A Murder at Rosamund’s Gate by Susanna Calkins (Minotaur Books)
  • Havana Lost by Libby Fischer Hellmann (The Red Herrings Press)
  • Buried Truth by Gunter Kaesdorf (Cambridge Books)


  • Highly Recommended by Paul Rand (McGraw-Hill)


  • The Hoosier Mama Book of Pie by Paula Haney (Agate Publishing)


  • Bela Tarr, The Time After by Jacques Rancière (Univocal Publishing)


  • Power Vegan by Rea Frey (Agate Publishing)

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  • City Water, City Life by Carl Smith (University of Chicago Press)
  • Code Name Pauline by Pearl Witherington Cornioley (Chicago Review Press)
  • Home Front Girl by Joan Wehlen Morrison (Chicago Review Press)
  • Swastika Nation by Arnie Bernstein (St. Martin’s Press)

Local Interest

  • Chicago Skyscrapers by Thomas Leslie (University of Illinois Press)
  • WSC_cvr_webresGold Coast Madam by Rose Laws (Lake Claremont Press)
  • Hollywood on Lake Michigan by Michael Corcoran and Arnie Bernstein (Chicago Review Press)
  • The Supper Club Book by Dave Hoekstra (Chicago Review Press)
  • Wisconsin Supper Clubs by Ron Faiola (Agate Publishing)


  • You Were Never in Chicago by Neil Steinberg (University of Chicago Press)
  • Zen Under Fire by Marianne Elliott (Sourcebooks)



  • Chicago Flashbulbs by Cory Franklin, MD (Academy Chicago)
  • County by David Ansell, MD (Academy Chicago Publishers)
  • Every Day is Election Day by Rebecca Sive (Chicago Review Press)
  • First Son by Keith Koeneman (University of Chicago Press)
  • C_Koeneman_FirstSon_9780226449470_jkt_MBGolden by Jeff Coen and John Chase (Chicago Review Press)


  • Troubled Minds by Amy Simpson (InterVarsity Press)
  • Undone by Laura Sumner Truax (InterVarsity Press)

Science & Nature

  • The Art of Migration by Peggy Macnamara (University of Chicago Press)
  • Art of MigrationThe Longevity Seekers by Ted Anton (University of Chicago Press)


  • Portraits from the Park by Thomas Harney (Columbia College Chicago Press)
  • Ramblers by Michael Lenehan (Agate Publishing)
  • HarneyWrigley Field: The Centennial by Les Krantz (Triumph Books)


  • Expressionista by Jackie Walker and Pamela Dittmer McKuen (Simon & Schuster)

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