10 Quintessential Books Set In Chicago
The Windy City is full of characters
Stormy, husky, brawling… Carl Sandberg’s words, not ours. But how true they still are of Chicago, which is packed with the kinds personalities and details that breed captivating stories.
It’s no wonder some of the best American writers have placed their characters in our beautiful, complicated city. In no particular order--they’re too different to rank--here are 10 great Chicago books that everyone who lives here needs to read.
“The Time Traveler's Wife” (Audrey Niffenegger, 2003)
A fantastical love story about a man who unintentionally leaps from decade to decade and his artist wife, this novel keeps one foot on the ground of modern-day Chicago with references to places like the Newberry Library, Oak Street Beach, Ann Sather Restaurant and the Aragon Ballroom. (First came the great book, then came the just OK Rachel McAdams movie.)
“The Adventures of Augie March” (Saul Bellow, 1953)
A kid from a rough West Side neighborhood grows up during the Great Depression and falls into schemes, affairs, scandals and fiascos galore. Read it if you love a ripping yarn.
“The Studs Lonigan Trilogy” (James T. Farrell, 1932-1935)
Chicago and the Roman-Catholic Church don’t get off easy in this three-part tale that pits a young Irish-American from Washington Park against the capitalist and spiritual evils of the Great Depression.
“Jimmy Corrigan: The Smartest Kid on Earth” (Chris Ware, 2003)
Set partially in 1890s Chicago, this groundbreaking graphic novel is another story anchored in the 1893 World’s Fair. The beautiful, architecturally rich drawings set off an admittedly depressing tale of a lonely, middle-aged man who dreams of himself as something more.