"Now, you wanna talk about reading? Let’s talk
about reading." - Venus Xtravaganza in the documentary Paris is Burning
"Now, you wanna talk about reading? Let’s talk about reading." - Venus Xtravaganza in the documentary Paris is Burning Credit: Leon Seibert via <a href="https://unsplash.com/@yapics">Unsplash</a>

A list of new and recently released books from Chicago authors or publishers, plus some books you might have missed when they first came out.


The Flowering: The Autobiography of Judy Chicago by Judy Chicago with a foreword by Gloria Steinem (July 2021, Thames & Hudson)

The creator of the groundbreaking 1970s art installation The Dinner Party was born in Chicago in 1939, and writes about her life and career in this new memoir.

Her Word is Bond: Navigating Hip-Hop and Relationships in a Culture of Misogyny by Cristalle “Psalm One” Bowen (August 2021, Haymarket Books)

The acclaimed rapper with roots in Englewood tells the story of her fight to be heard.


Incense and Sensibility by Sonali Dev (July 2021, William Morrow & Company)

The author of the Chicago Reader Book Club’s November 2020 pick Recipe for Persuasion offers the third in her series of love stories focused around the Raje family.


Stories Are What Save Us: A Survivor’s Guide to Writing About Trauma by David Chrisinger (July 2021, Johns Hopkins University Press)

The leader of the Harris Writing Program at the University of Chicago offers this collection of writing exercises and lessons that he’s learned from his years of teaching writing to military veterans and other survivors of trauma.

Nobody Knows the Trouble I’ve Seen: The Emotional Lives of Black Women by Dr. Inger Burnett-Zeigler (June 2021, Amistad)

Burnett-Zeigler, a licensed clinical psychologist and associate professor at Northwestern, explores the connections between strength and adversity as they relate to Black women’s inner lives.


Maya and the Robot by Eve L. Ewing (July 2021, Kokila)

This illustrated novel for tween readers by Chicago writer and sociologist Eve L. Ewing concerns fifth grade scientist Maya and a homemade robot that comes to life.

Darling by K. Ancrum (June 2021, Imprint)

Ancrum recasts Peter Pan as a Chicago underground impresario in this thriller written for young adult audiences (the Chicago Reader Book Club’s July 2021 read).

ICYMI (some titles you may have missed on their initial release)

Bullets for Dead Hoods: An Encyclopedia of Chicago Mobsters, c. 1933 by John Corbett (October 2020, Soberscove Press)

Music writer, art gallery owner, and past Reader contributor Corbett found this unusual document in a Chicago junk shop in the early 2000s: a typewritten overview of the Chicago mob of the 1930s (published here along with a pull-out map of Chicago notated with locations referenced in the original manuscript).

Sweeter Voices Still: An LGBTQ Anthology from Middle America edited by Ryan Schuessler and Kevin Whiteneir, Jr. (January 2021, Belt Publishing)

An anthology of nonfiction by and about queer life in the midwest, including writing from Chicago authors Owen Keehnen and Elizabeth Harper.

How Did We Get Here? by Sterling Bartlett (February 2021, First to Knock)

The first comic book by Bartlett, a Los Angeles-based painter who has designed merchandise and illustrations for music clients like the band MC5 and singer Chris Stapleton. Published by First to Knock, an independent book publisher and record label based in Michigan City, Indiana.

the other option is to slow down by Amanda Williams (March 2021, Candor Arts and Smith College Museum of Art)

A unique, hand-constructed monograph detailing Amanda Williams’s experience as the inaugural artist-in-residence at Smith College Museum of Art. Williams is a visual artist based in Chicago who participated in the 2018 Venice Architecture Biennale, and had a solo exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art in 2017.

The Quarantine Times edited by Jeremiah Chiu, Edward Marszewski, and Nicholas Wylie (paperback edition March 2021, Public Media Institute and special handmade hardcover edition by Public Media Institute and Candor Arts)

A collection of writing and art responding to the challenges of 2020 and first published online as part of the Quarantine Times website created by Bridgeport’s Public Media Institute.