Archives for category: Lit Missives

No matter what, YA mythology books will never go out of style. Even now in my 20’s, they’re my comfort reads, and there’s nothing better than sinking into a good Madeleine L’Engle or Francesca Lia Block novel at the end of a cold winter’s day. Here’s a few events around town that may spark your interest if these writers are your favorite, too. Have fun!

Feel like what you write may be geared more towards adolescents than adults? A panel of young adult authors, including Yelena Black and Robin Benway, will be having a discussion on young adult literature, as well as upcoming fads in the genre. Come on over and take some notes on Wednesday, February 27th, 7 P.M. at The Book Cellar, 4736 N. Lincoln Ave.

Doesn’t matter what time of year it is – I still love a chilling horror story! The Chicago Writers Conference will be having a reading on all matter of things supernatural – from ghouls and ghosts to prancing unicorns. Bring a buddy and see you there on Thursday, February 28th, 6:30 PM at Open Books, 213 W. Institute Pl.

Who’d have thought that escorting souls into the afterlife involved so much…paperwork? Well, at least it does in Christina Henry’s fast-paced urban fantasy novel Black Wings, which features a female protagonist with new found magical powers and a stranger-than-customary roommate. She’ll be having a book signing on Friday, March 1st, 7 PM at Challengers Comics & Conversations, 1845 N. Western Ave.


If you’re reading this: congratulations! Not only have you survived the Mayan apocalypse, but you’ve lived through one more Valentine’s Day, and won’t have to endure the sore sight of roses and hearts galore for another year. To help place it all behind you, we’ve put together a list of literary events to put the spring back in your step.

Curious about economics, but hesitant about picking up the For Dummies version? Have no fear, Charles Wheelan is here! His new bestseller, Naked Economics: Undressing the Dismal Science unravels the jargon of fiances and makes it accessible and easy-to-understand for the everyday layperson. Plus, not a bad book to read with tax season dawning upon us. Pick up a signed copy! Tuesday, February 19 at 12 pm, University Club of Chicago, 76 E. Monroe

Many of us would love to bask in the limelight of fame and fortune – but what would it be like, really? Christine Sneed gives us a glimpse of this sought-after lifestyle in her debut novel Little Known Facts, about two grown children of a star who struggle with forging identities away from the dazzling fame of their father. Hear her read on Thursday, Feb 21, 7:30 pm at Women & Children First, 5233 N. Clark St.

We’d all travel the world…if only we had the money. But maybe we don’t need the big bucks after all! Matt Kepnes’s book How To Travel the World on $50 a Day: Travel Cheaper, Longer, Smarter is an excellent resource for post-college grads looking for the ultimate backpacking experience. Lucky for us, he’ll be landing in Chicago for a reading on Thursday, February 21, 7:30 pm at The Book Cellar, 4736 N. Lincoln Ave.

Literature isn’t all studious thought and dusty libraries. Funny Ha-Ha: The Triumphant Return! will be having a reading, and it’s sure to be a riot. 21+ only, $5 at the door, and proceeds benefit the Neighborhood Writing Alliance. See you there Friday, February 22, 6:30 pm at The Hideout, 1354 W. Wabansia Ave.

Have a great week and hang in there, Chicago: just a few more weeks until spring!




Valentine’s Day is just around the corner! Don’t have plans yet? Yeah, me neither. Though I have a funny feeling that around 6 PM Thursday evening a 2009 bottle of The Prisoner is going to be singing my name in warm, seductive tones. Sigh. But enough about my fantasies. What about yours?

Lucky for you, I’ve put together a list of events that are sure to keep your heart pumping. A lover, a glass of wine and a reading are all you need to get those endorphins going.

If biology is what does it for you, be sure to stop in and see the discoverer of Tiktaalik Neil Shubin, who will be promoting his new book The Universe Within, which takes us on an intimate exploration of our bodies to understand how humans evolved from the earth and galaxies around us. Pretty steamy, eh? One could do worse. Monday, February 11th, 6 PM at Harold Washington Library, 400 S. State St.

Looking for something a little more…bittersweet? Less optimistic, perhaps? Next on the menu is Gillian Flynn, appearing to chat about her career and sign copies of her novel Gone Girl, about a wife’s sudden disappearance and the town’s insistence that her husband was the murderer. Probably not a recommended read if you’ve already sent out your save-the-dates. Wednesday, February 13th, 6 PM at Harold Washington Library, 400 S. State St.

If you’re single and looking to add some digits to your little black book, why not attend the perfect medley of a reading-mixer? Especially one that prides itself on “destroying fake holidays by celebrating them.” Titled “Angela Merkel is Dead” (I’m sure you’ll find all the answers to your questions on attendance), the mixer is sure to be a riot. Thursday, February 14th, 6:30 PM at Township, 220 N. California Ave.

They say diamonds are a girl’s best friend, don’t they? And literary gems are sure to abound at Poetry Made of Diamonds, an event that features Chicago’s own poets – some published, some not. Sunday, February 17th, 7 PM at Uncharted Books, 2630 N. Milwaukee Ave.


Itching for a bit of dark humor to get you through the Chicago’s winter stretch? David Tabak will be reading from his collection of short stories, titled Lather Rinse Repeat, and fans of Kafka will delight in Tabak’s ridiculous tales and hearty rants. Wednesday, January 16th, 7 pm at The Book Cellar, 4736-38 N. Lincoln Ave.

Not quite your cup of tea? Salsa on over to La Bruquena restaurant, where Palabra Pura will be celebrating their 8th birthday and hosting a hot poetry reading in English, Spanish, or a mezcla of both! The event will include readings from authors like political activist and playwright Raul Dorantes and poet and director Coya Paz. Check out their youtube page of past readings. Wednesday, January 16th, 7:30 pm at La Bruquena, 2726 W. Division Street in Humboldt Park.

And who wouldn’t appreciate a more down-to-earth version of Abe after watching him hunt vampires? David Von Drehle will be reading from his book Rise to Greatness: Abraham Lincoln and America’s Most Perilous Year, a historical account of America at the height of the Civil War and a very human portrait of the leader that brought the nation through it. Saturday, January 19th, 12 pm at Abraham Lincoln Book Shop, 357 W. Chicago Ave in Old Town.

Of course, don’t forget to attend the readings Academy Chicago Publishers is hosting at The Book Cellar and Black Rock Pub, January 18th and 20th.


Welcome back, lovely readers! I hope that you’ve shaken off any lingering woes of 2012 and are ready to start afresh in the New Year. If you’re still procrastinating those resolutions, I’m here to help. Resolve to expand your literary horizons in 2013 by braving the Chicago cold and venturing out to one of these upcoming events in the city. *Drumroll please*

A fan of short stories? If you aren’t (yet), come hear from the brilliant George Saunders as he shares his most recent stories — a writer you should be sure not to miss. If you don’t believe me, check out his endlessly amusing work the New Yorker or Harper’s… just to name a few. This is an event you’ll undoubtedly enjoy, so add Tuesday, January 8 at 7 p.m. at Lincoln Hall (in Lincoln Park) to your iCal. The event is $5, or free with the purchase of the book.

Looking to hear from a captivating author and support a good cause? Of course you are. Come out to see Jared Diamond, author of Guns, Germs and Steel, (which you should pick up to read if you haven’t, by the way) at a fundraiser for the Friends of the Oak Park Public Library. Broaden your horizons and learn a thing or two as Jared Diamond talks about The World Until Yesterday: What Can We Learn From Traditional Societies? Don’t miss this event on Thursday, January 10 at 7 p.m. at the Unity Temple (875 Lake St.). The event is $21.50, which, I admit, is a bit on the pricey side, but fear not, you do get $10 off of your purchase of the book!

If you’ve decided to attempt spending less money at Chipotle in the New Year, come out to the Lincoln Park Barnes & Noble on Webster (1441 W. Webster Ave.) to meet Cynthia Kallile of The Meatloaf Bakery. Kallile will be promoting their book, Meatloaf Bakery Cookbook: Comfort Food With a Twist. Who knows, maybe you’ll take away some recipes and fine tune your culinary prowess in the New Year. The event is Saturday, January 12 at 3 p.m. 

I hope you find this guide helpful for enriching your literary side in the New Year!



Hello, darling ravenous readers and wily writers! It’s almost the end of the year – have you got your resolutions written up and posted to your fridge yet? No? Yeah, neither do I. I find it more productive – not to mention less depressing (though I suppose that depends on what kind of year you’ve had, eh?) – to reminisce over the high points of 2012. Did you finish half a manuscript? Tackle the plot point that had your head sprouting white hairs for weeks on end? Read at least five new books? Did you, as author Francesca Lia Block did, write 30 days of unedited and untouched raw poetry that may or may not have had your fellow bloggers cringing – but who cares what everyone else thinks, right? Absolutamente right!

Anyway, let’s get down to events. What better way to start off a brand new year than with a healthy dose of literature? In your New Years Eve induced hangover you can straggle on over to Hopleaf for a beer, where Tuesday Funk will be featuring readings from emerging writers and poets such as Julie Ganey and the lyrical Sondra Morin. All you need to do it sit back, relax and enjoy the (absolutely free!) show! Tuesday, January 1st at 7:30 pm, Hopleaf located at 5148 N. Clark Street in Andersonville

Or perhaps you have a short story that you’re hankering to share? Head on over to the Story Club, and if you get there and sign up early enough you may just be picked to read. Another event that’s easy on the ol’ pocketbook. Thursday, January 3rd at 7:30 pm, Holiday Club located at 4000 N. Sheridan Road in Lakeview

But what I’m really looking forward to is hearing from author Rebecca Skloot on Mark Bazer’s The Interview Show at the Hideout. Winner of the 2010 Chicago Tribune Heartland Prize for Nonfiction, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks is a novel that gives identity to the virtually nameless woman whose reproduced cells were key to cultivating a deeper understanding of fertility treatments, polio, viruses and even cancer. Cool stuff, yes? I most definitely think so. But coolness has a price – $8, to be exact. Friday, January 4th at 6:30 pm, Hideout located at 1354 W. Wabansia Ave in Wicker Park/Bucktown

May the New Year find you safe and happy, with the warm flush of liquor brightening your merry cheeks. Because honestly, what greater pleasure could there possibly be?


Woah, it’s Friday? Like.. Friday Friday?  Like that big, blank space in your calendar you were hoping would be filled by some smokin’ hot date that never called Friday?  Don’t worry.  Let’s do things this week, readers.  Real things.  Things that don’t consist of just you and your cat and the all too addictive and accessible Downton Abbey.

Saturday – 10/20  What are you doing this weekend?  Is that the first time someone’s asked you that question in awhile?   I’m sorry little baby, now you can perk up because this Saturday is Curious George Day!  Say what?!  You didn’t know he had his own day?  Stop lying!  Now you can surround yourself with people who won’t judge you for making crafts in the name of everyone’s favorite little naked monkey.  And when I say people, I mean children.  Because NOTHING is cooler than dressing up with other people’s kids and reading picture books.  Open Books, 213 W Institute Place, 10am to 1pm.

Tuesday 10/23 – Louise Erdrich!  Unity Temple! FREE! Need I say more?  Yes? Okay then, I’ll say more!  I almost didn’t post this event because I know this blog is crazy popular now that I write for it and I didn’t want to add to the already huge line probably forming at Unity Temple, BUT this event is going to be awesome. The hugely talented and acclaimed writer will be reading from her new book The Round House at 7pm. It’s at the amazing Frank Lloyd Wright designed church in Oak Park, making it just a green line ride away from the cold, empty studio you call home.

Wednesday – 10/24 Having a little bit too much confidence lately?  Need to reel that ego in a bit? Deflate that oversized sense of self worth you get from making zero dollars writing and head over to the Ukrainian Village for the Guild Literary Complex Prose Awards for Short Fiction and Nonfiction.  Talented, recognized writers will be reading from submissions at the Chopin Theatre from 7-9 pm.  Because if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em, right? Or, if you can’t beat ’em, beat ’em up after they’re done reading and steal their prize money.

That’s all for now.  As always, have a super week readers!


It’s… Saturday? Oops, somebody is a sick intern and didn’t get this out there yesterday!  I know, I know, you were waiting by your computer all day to find out where the story’s at this week. Here you go!

Monday – 10/15 – Things are about to get weird, Chicago.  Post-Modernist weird.  But I know you like that, so hop on the Blue Line and get thyself to Oak Park to see Mark Z. Danielewski read from his new novel, The Fifty Year Sword, at the beautiful Frank Lloyd Wright designed Unity Temple, $10.  7pm.

Tuesday 10/16 -Love conformity? What about singular thinking? No?  Then definitely don’t read The Book Thief by Markus Zusack, the Chicago Library’s choice for this Fall’s One Book, One Chicago. The event will focus on a discussion about social injustice with Paul Rusesabagina (An Ordinary Man).  It’s Free, starts at 6 pm and is taking place downtown at the Harold Washington Library Auditorium.

Thursday 10/18 – Afraid of going new places?  Don’t worry, the downtown library has got you covered, again, you adorably shy little writer/reader.  Head back over for some good ol’ fashioned reading and watch the very talented Don DeLillo read from his new book The Angel Esmerelda, Harold Washington Library, free.  6pm.

As always, have a super week readers!


What’s up party people?!  It’s Friday, the greatest day ever, and I know you’ve spent the last week waiting by your computer for today’s Lit Missives.  Don’t worry little babies, I’ve scoured the calendars and won’t let you down.

Sunday, 10/7 –  Like free-ish food? Of course you do, you’re a poor writer.  Does the word free-ish creep you out a little?  I don’t believe you.  I know you’ve thought about pretending that forgotten to-go box left on a bus stop bench was yours, taking it home and reheating it in the oven because you can’t afford an apartment with the counter space for a microwave.  It’s okay, you’re hungry.  I know.  Join the city’s artistic communities for Here’s The Story Picnic and Potluck, and get ready to listen and share stories with a variety of Chicago storytellers.  Admission is $5 or free if you bring food (technically, a sleeve of saltines is food).  Here’s a link for more info: Starts at 7:30pm, 1225 W Belmont Ave.

Tuesday, 10/9 – I know you’ve got plenty of free time.  You don’t need that job job to pay them bills, you make your green sitting around on a Tuesday afternoon writing for that $250,000 advance you just got from your publisher.  Well IF you can pull yourself away from the money maker that is your empty Word document, Tuesday’s a great day to enjoy the Chicago literary scene.  It’s time to work on that cover for the new novel someone’s totally paying you to write.  From 11 am-1 pm you can participate in Chicago’s month long event THE BIG DRAW at Newberry Library, where you can design your own over-sized book covers inspired by the library’s collections. 60 W Walton.

After you’re properly caffeinated (not having a job is so exhausting, right?) get your literary tush on up to THENEWSTUDIO in Evanston and watch writer and Columbia College Chicago Fiction professor Patricia Ann McNair discuss and read from The Temple of Air, her new collection of linked short stories.  For more information and to confirm your seat, email, but do it now, this thing is filling up quicker than my aunt’s secret hoard of Beanie Babies.  Don’t open that closet door at the end of the hallway… 7-8:30pm. 2948 Central Street.

Well, as my mom likes to say, them’s the cookies, Chicago (an accidental blend of “them’s the brakes” and “that’s the way the cookie crumbles” she refuses to correct).  Have a super week, readers!


Hello you glorious intellectuals, you radiant bookworms!  Here are some literary events happening in our lovely Chicago to help give your pens a push and your cats some much needed alone time!

9/28 – It’s the weekend! Nothing says crazy party like some poetry, am I right?  Start it off with featured poets Virginia Bell and Bryan Borland.  They will be reading at Brothers K coffeehouse just north of the city in lovely Evanston (500 Main St.) tonight from 6-7:30. It’s hosted by Rhino magazine and for a $5 or $10 donation, it’s the best opportunity you have to bust out your black beret and turtleneck you pretend you don’t own.

9/29 – It’s the last weekend to catch Better, a romantic comedy written by the very lovely and talented Amy Giacolone.  Grab a date (or your mom), share a beer from the bar (or drink alone in the corner), and relax through the middle of your weekend with witty banter and an unexpecting love story. Seriously though, it’s good, I’ve seen it. And I wasn’t alone doing a weird laughing/crying thing, either.  I swear.  The Den Theatre in Wicker Park (1333 N Milwaukee Ave.),  Directed by Kristina Carr, 7pm, $10, buy tickets here:

10/2 – Oh, so you spent your weekend inside with The Collected Poems of Sylvia Plath, petting your six cats, and gazing into the streets of Chicago, thinking “One day, It’s gonna be me! One day I’m gonna be a star!”?  Well, it’s time to do the thing already!  Grab the lint roller and head on over to The Chicago Literati‘s networking event for writers, with guests Dan Krokos (False Memory) and Keir Graff (The Price of Liberty).  $20, $15 in advance at the Hidden Shamrock (2723 N Halsted).  Cats not allowed.

10/3 – What’s better than drinking beer while reading?  Forcing people to watch you, of course! Check out Reading Under the Influence, where you can watch Mark Brand, Jeanie Chung, Jon Natzke and RUI co-host Jesse Jordan read short original work at Sheffield’s (3258 N Sheffield).  Get a little sauced up while you’re at it!  It’s only $3, and there’s trivia where you can win books and prizes, too. Starts at 7:30.  For questions on submissions go here:

Have a super week, readers!

Your new intern,