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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.

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“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.)

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“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.

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“The Devil in the White City” (Erik Larson, 2003)

The craziest thing about this bestselling story of a murderer who preyed on visitors to the 1893 World’s Fair? It really happened.

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“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.

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“Divergent” (Veronica Roth, 2011-2013)

OK, so we weren’t all that thrilled with the movie. But the young adult science fiction novels that inspired it are full of edge-of-your seat action in a scary, post-apocalyptic version of Chicago.

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“The Jungle” (Upton Sinclair, 1906)

Sinclair worked undercover in Chicago’s meatpacking plants to gather research for this game-changing novel, which exposed (and subsequently helped regulate) the exploitation of immigrants and terrible working conditions in the industry.

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“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.

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“Eight Men Out” (Eliot Asinof, 1963)

Even baseball couldn’t escape the Chicago Way when, in 1919, eight White Sox players conspired with gamblers to fix the World Series. This classic book digs into the story in fascinating detail.

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“A Raisin in the Sun” (Lorraine Hansberry, 1959)

If you haven’t seen it, read it. Hansberry’s critically acclaimed play about a Washington Park family struggling to rise out of poverty is based on a discriminatory housing lawsuit the playwright’s own family went through in 1940.

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“Sharp Objects” (Gillian Flynn, 2006)

The Gone Girl author and hometown literary hero’s first novel was only partially set in Chicago, but it’s such a chilling and unforgettable story, we’ll claim it as a Midwestern triumph.

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