Credit: Aleks Sennwald

The idea here is to cut out the middleman. The bulk of this Fall Books issue consists of excerpts from new works by locals, pure and unadulterated. You can check out a passage from Adam Levin’s hot new novel, The Instructions, before making the commitment to lug its 1,030 pages home with you. Sometime Reader contributor Lee Sandlin offers a piece of his just-published Wicked River, in which he applies his rhapsodic writing style to the history and lore of the Mississippi before the engineers had their way with it. Another Reader vet, Edward McClelland, supplies a taste of Young Mr. Obama, his portrait of the president as a south-side community organizer and neophyte politician. And Evanston photographer Melissa Ann Pinney is represented with images from the forthcoming Girl Ascending, her evocative record of her daughter and her daughter’s peers moving from childhood to adolescence. But if you want our opinion, well, you’ve got it, on five more books with a Chicago connection, by C.B. Murphy, Laura Kipnis, Jay Kirk, Ted Fishman, and Patrick Somerville. —Tony Adler