While the Hollywood Park neighborhood on the North Side didn’t offer much in the way of Culture when I was growing up, a few blocks over on Lincoln Avenue what may have been one of the largest and best collections of neon signs in Chicago was always on display.
I’ve always associated the city with a single body of water, the lake; these two books reminded me a river runs through it.
The next best thing to actually visiting a cemetery is browsing through the recently published book, Graveyards of Chicago, by Matt Hucke and Ursula Bielski.
If you grew up Jewish in Chicago and are of a certain age, say, 50 or older, there’s a good chance the synagogue where you went to Hebrew School has moved to a new location or no longer exists. Either way, buildings were left behind in neighborhoods that no longer have a Jewish population.
What does it take for someone who didn’t grow up in Chicago to feel like a real Chicagoan?
Like many of my generation, I first heard about a Jewish jock during the fall of 1965.
As The Middlesteins proves, Attenberg knows and understands the world of ordinary middle-class Jews in the Chicago suburbs very, very well and writes about it with insight, compassion and humor.
The story follows two Von Steuben freshmen who are in and out of love with each other for fifty years. Although the characters leave Albany Park and venture into the world, Albany Park never leaves them.
As I read Oak Park author Alec Nevala-Lee’s first novel I kept saying to myself, I can’t believe this is a first novel.
You could easily live a lifetime in Chicago and never see the impressive Beaux-Arts facade, let alone the overcrowded hallways of the old Cook County Hospital. If that’s true, consider yourself lucky. Much depends on economic level and zip code.