City Lit's blog

"Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind."

Who says you have to buy chocolate for your Valentine?  We think books are as romantic as diamonds!  Grab a copy of Pride & Prejudice for your crush and watch them swoon.  The Time Traveler's Wife says "I love you" better than champagne.  And we would certainly fall head over heels for the person who picked up Pablo Neruda's Love Poems.  If you're looking for a romantic read beyond Fifty Shades of Gray, stop by for some excellent suggestions.  We love classics, cookbooks, and contemporary love stories!

Every Day Cover Image
ISBN: 9780307931894
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Ember - September 10th, 2013

"It demonstrates Levithan's talent for empathy, which is paired in the best parts of the book with a persuasive optimism about the odds for happiness and for true love." --New York Times Book Review

The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry Cover Image
ISBN: 9781616204518
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Algonquin Books - December 2nd, 2014

"This novel has humor, romance, a touch of suspense, but most of all love--love of books and bookish people and, really, all of humanity in its imperfect glory." --Eowyn Ivey, author of "The Snow Child"

The Best of All Possible Worlds Cover Image
ISBN: 9780345549341
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Del Rey Books - February 4th, 2014

"An engrossing picaresque quest, a love story, and a moving character study . . . [Karen] Lord is on a par with Ursula K. Le Guin."--The Guardian

Hug Time Cover Image
ISBN: 9780316182959
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: LB Kids - January 2nd, 2012

There was once a kitten so filled with love he wanted to give the whole world a hug!
And so Jules the kitten (also known in the Mutts cartoons as "Shtinky Puddin'") goes down the stairs to hug his friends, then all the birds in the park--and then he travels the world, hugging all those he meets! As Jules learns, a hug is the simplest--but kindest--gift we can give.

Dessert for Two: Small Batch Cookies, Brownies, Pies, and Cakes Cover Image
ISBN: 9781581572841
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Countryman Press - February 9th, 2015

Newly married couples and empty-nesters will be particularly enthralled with this miniature dessert guide. To everyone who lives alone: now you can have your own personal-sized cake and eat it, too!

New Year, New Books!

"New Year's Day: Now is the accepted time to make your regular annual good resolutions.  Next week

you can begin paving hell with them as usual."

--Mark Twain 

Do you make New Year's Resolutions?  We have one that we make every year: to read more books!  But collectively, we have several others.  Some of our staff wants to learn to like Sci-Fi.  Some of our staff wants to learn to read books that aren't Sci-Fi.  Some of us want to eat more vegetables, and some of us want to perfect our cookie baking.  If you want to start meditation, we have books for you.  If you want to learn British history, we have books for you.  If you want to sell your crafts on Etsy, we have books for you.  No matter what your goals are for 2015, we'd be happy to help you acheive them.  

May Cause Miracles: A 40-Day Guidebook of Subtle Shifts for Radical Change and Unlimited Happiness Cover Image
ISBN: 9780307986955
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Harmony - January 14th, 2014

The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment Cover Image
ISBN: 9781577314806
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: New World Library - August 19th, 2004

How to Cook Everything Fast: A Better Way to Cook Great Food Cover Image
ISBN: 9780470936306
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Houghton Mifflin - October 7th, 2014

A History of the World in 12 Maps Cover Image
ISBN: 9780143126027
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Penguin Books - October 28th, 2014

Etsy-Preneurship: Everything You Need to Know to Turn Your Handmade Hobby Into a Thriving Business Cover Image
ISBN: 9781118378380
Availability: Backordered
Published: Wiley - October 12th, 2012

Store Hours

City Lit is returning to our pre-holiday hours.  We will, however, be closing at 6pm on New Year's Eve, and will be closed on New Year's Day.  Happy 2015!

A Book Under Every Tree

"One can never have enough socks," said Dumbledore.  "Another

Christmas has come and gone and I didn't get a single pair.  People

will insist on giving me books."

--Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone 

We confess: we buy books for Dumbledore, too.  If you're like us and prefer giving books, why not stop by City Lit?  We have loads of titles in store; we can special order most books for you (and have them in 2 or 3 days!); and we can recommend great reads for the most stubborn people on your shopping list.  Every bookseller here has personal favorites, and we have a gift guide containing all our favorite 2014 releases.  We've also enjoyed browsing this year's New York Times' 100 Notable Books.  Most of their favorites are in stock at City Lit, and we can share our own opinions about them, too!  Check out some of their favorites below (then stop by to see them in person):

The Empathy Exams: Essays Cover Image
ISBN: 9781555976712
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Graywolf Press - April 1st, 2014

Can't and Won't Cover Image
ISBN: 9780374118587
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: Farrar Straus Giroux - April 8th, 2014

Bark: Stories Cover Image
ISBN: 9780307740861
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Vintage - October 28th, 2014

Can't We Talk about Something More Pleasant?: A Memoir Cover Image
ISBN: 9781608198061
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Bloomsbury USA - May 6th, 2014

Small Business Saturday, Small Business Shopping

After your Thanksgiving food coma comes Black Friday and Cyber Monday.  Don't forget the "holiday" inbetween: Small Business Saturday!  We've prepared our 2014 Gift Guide, and we're ready to steer you towards some awesome purchases.  We have books for everyone on your list.  Seriously.  Even that person who swears they don't read.  We also have staff picks all over the store, so you won't want for suggestions.  To give you a head start, here are some of our favorite titles from 2014.

Station Eleven Cover Image
ISBN: 9780385353304
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Knopf Publishing Group - September 9th, 2014

Not That Kind of Girl: A Young Woman Tells You What She's
ISBN: 9780812994995
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Random House - September 30th, 2014

Ruby Cover Image
ISBN: 9780804139090
Availability: Special Order
Published: Hogarth - April 29th, 2014

An Age of License Cover Image
ISBN: 9781606997680
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Fantagraphics Books - September 22nd, 2014

Area X: The Southern Reach Trilogy: Annihilation; Authority; Acceptance Cover Image
ISBN: 9780374261177
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Fsg Originals - November 18th, 2014

Love us? Vote for us!


We just got nominated for Time Out Chicago's "Love Chicago Awards," and we couldn't be more thrilled!  If you love City Lit, we'd love to have you vote for us!  It's very quick and clickable.  Promise.  If you visit the voting site, make sure to select "Northwest Side" as your neighborhood, and you'll find us listed under "Shops."  We wouldn't have received a nomination without your support, so we already feel like big winners!

Voting is open until November 11th.  Winners will be announced the week of December 4th.  Thanks for your love! 


Grab a hot cider, a blanket, and a scary book.

If you've been in the store lately, you'll have seen our Halloween-themed table.  We have all our favorite creepy reads out on display.  In case you didn't see it, or haven't visited City Lit in awhile, we're posting some scary books on our website.  When you want to get the shivers, grab one of these titles and prepare to be spooked!

Horns Cover Image
ISBN: 9780061147968
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: William Morrow & Company - March 8th, 2011

This is the perfect time to introduce yourself to Joe Hill. Not only is "Horns" an awesome book--it's also coming out as a movie (which is supposed to be fantastic). If you didn't know, Joe Hill is Stephen King's son. Scary is in his blood.

Bird Box Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062259653
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Ecco Press - May 13th, 2014

We're sort of biased, because Josh Malerman came to City Lit for a truly amazing event. But "Bird Box" should be on your Halloween reading list regardless. It's creative, well-written, and incredibly spooky.

Smoke Gets in Your Eyes: And Other Lessons from the Crematory Cover Image
ISBN: 9780393240238
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: W. W. Norton & Company - September 15th, 2014

If you're looking for non-fiction, check out this new book from Caitlin Doughty. “Alternately heartbreaking and hilarious, fascinating and freaky, vivid and morbid, Smoke Gets in Your Eyes is witty, sharply drawn, and deeply moving. Like a poisonous cocktail, Caitlin Doughty's memoir intoxicates and enchants even as it encourages you to embrace oblivion; she breathes life into death.” (Dodai Stewart, deputy editor of

The Haunting of Hill House Cover Image
By Shirley Jackson, Guillermo del Toro (Editor), Laura Miller (Introduction by)
ISBN: 9780143122357
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Penguin Books - October 1st, 2013

People who go ghost-hunting deserve what they get, right? They certainly get what's coming to them in Shirley Jackson's novel. "The Haunting of Hill House" is a classic ghost-story that still has the power to scare the daylights out of you.

A Halloween Scare in Chicago: Prepare If You Dare Cover Image
By Eric James, Marina Le Ray (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9781492605799
Availability: Special Order
Published: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky - August 1st, 2014

Okay, this one's not exactly scary. But it's a fun way to celebrate Halloween with your kiddos! Enjoy ghosts and witches flying across the Chicago skyline.

Banned Books!

September 21st-27th is Banned Books Week: an annual event celebrating the freedom to read.  We're honoring intellectual freedom with our Banned Books Event on Friday, September 26th.  We've invited local authors Esme Codell, Beatriz Badikian-Gartler, Kathleen Larkin, and Deirdre Harrison to come by City Lit and read passages from their favorite banned books.  We'll also be showcasing local high school students who will read from banned books, and some live local music.

Banned Books Week is an important event, bringing attention to issues of censorship and freedom.  However, we encourage you to read banned books all year long!  Here are a few of our favorite frequently-challenged titles: 

Little Brother Cover Image
ISBN: 9780765323118
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Tor Books - April 13th, 2010

Booker T Washington High School in Pensacola, Florida recently cancelled their One Summer/One Book reading program because of the chosen book: Little Brother.  The story deals with teeanged hackers who fight back against police state conditions in San Francisco.  Apparently the principal was not keen on the "anti-authority" tone of the book, nor of the occasional bad language and references to sex.  Author Cory Doctorow took this as an invitation, of course, and has responded by sending 200 copies of the book to students. 


And Tango Makes Three Cover Image
ISBN: 9780689878459
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers - June 1st, 2005

And Tango Makes Three consistently tops the list of most-challenged books.  It tells the story of two penguins at a zoo who adopt a little penguin as their own.  Concerns arise because the two adult penguins are both male.  This summer, due to concern about homosexual themes in the book, every library in Singapore was ordered to destroy all copies of Tango.

Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood Cover Image
ISBN: 9780375714573
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Pantheon Books - June 1st, 2004

CPS made international headlines in 2013 when they removed Persepolis from their curriculum.  Some stories say the administration ordered all copies to be removed from CPS libraries.  Other stories say the book was only removed from middle school libraries.  Regardless, the book is no longer taught to CPS students.  Any teacher who wishes to use the book in the classroom must go through mandatory training in case students find the book too challenging or "inappropriate."

New Releases

As Summer stampedes to a close, we're already pining for outdoor festivals, reading a great book on the beach, and the hot, muggy Chicago air...well, maybe not that last one. But don't worry! Your friendly, neighborhood bookstore has you covered. Before you up and move to warm climates all year round, remember the one great thing that makes September worthwhile...NEW BOOKS! That's right. September releases have us all clammoring for Summer to up and end so we can get our hands on these amazing new titles. Here are just a few of the most anticipated unreleased or just released titles of the Fall. 


The Bone Clocks Cover Image
ISBN: 9781400065677
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: Random House - September 2nd, 2014

What If?: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions Cover Image
ISBN: 9780544272996
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Houghton Mifflin - September 2nd, 2014

The Children Act Cover Image
ISBN: 9780385539708
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Nan A. Talese - September 9th, 2014

Run Cover Image
ISBN: 9780345540720
Availability: Special Order
Published: Ballantine Books - October 7th, 2014

A Girl Is a Half-Formed Thing Cover Image
ISBN: 9781566893688
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Coffee House Press - September 9th, 2014

Stone Mattress: Nine Tales Cover Image
ISBN: 9780385539128
Availability: Special Order
Published: Nan A. Talese - September 16th, 2014

Bookclubs Galore

As most of our devoted followers know, we at City Lit Books try to provide the neighborhood with a wide array of bookclubs and (free) events. This week, join bookseller, Chelka, for her Chat 'n' Chew Bookclub!

For those of you who haven't attended, Chat 'n' Chew is all about food: reading about food, talking about food, and, of course, eating delicious, homemade, cookbook-centered food. This month, we'll be discussing a food blogger of your choosing. This could be your well-worn copy of Deb Perlman's Smitten Kitchen cookbook, Joy the Baker's cookbook, Angela Liddon's Oh She Glows Vegan cookbook, or anything else you've read, loved, and consumed!

This bookclub meets this thursday, August 28th at 6:30. So drop in with your favorite blogger cookbook and maybe a treat to share!

For a full list of our bookclubs, check out our Bookclub page!