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: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780061147968
Availability: Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: William Morrow Paperbacks - 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: A Novel Cover Image
Not available for on-line purchase
ISBN: 9780062259653
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: Ecco - 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
Not available for on-line purchase
ISBN: 9780393240238
Availability: Hard to Find
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 (Penguin Horror) Cover Image
By Shirley Jackson, Guillermo del Toro (Editor), Laura Miller (Introduction by)
ISBN: 9780143122357
Availability: Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Penguin Classics - 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)
Not available for on-line purchase
ISBN: 9781492605799
Availability: Hard to Find
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: Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Tor Teen - 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: 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 (Pantheon Graphic Library) Cover Image
ISBN: 9780375714573
Availability: Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Pantheon - 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
Not available for on-line purchase
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: Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt - September 2nd, 2014

The Children Act Cover Image
Not available for on-line purchase
ISBN: 9780385539708
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: Nan A. Talese - September 9th, 2014

Run Cover Image
Not available for on-line purchase
ISBN: 9780345540720
Availability: Currently Unavailable
Published: Ballantine Books - October 7th, 2014

A Girl Is a Half-Formed Thing Cover Image
Not available for on-line purchase
ISBN: 9781566893688
Availability: Currently Unavailable
Published: Coffee House Press - September 9th, 2014

Stone Mattress: Nine Tales Cover Image
Not available for on-line purchase
ISBN: 9780385539128
Availability: Currently Unavailable
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!   


CCLAP August

Just wanted to let you know about another EXCITING CCLAP Showcase open mic and reading! This month, playwright Amber Hargroder will be reading from her unpublished novel. Hargroder is well-known for her work on the one-woman show, Marilyn Monroe, Whoever you are, which she wrote, directed and starred in, as well as her active participation in the Chicago theatre scene. 

In case you missed it, the CCLAP Showcase features a reading from a local author and six open mic slots to be filled by writers, poets, or storytellers. If you’re interested in participating, send an email over to If you’re interested in listening (that's fine, too!), make sure to come by the bookstore on Tuesday, August 26th at 6:30 pm. There will be wine, beer, and great literary company!
Learn more about CCLAP at

City Lit Books is 2 on August 17th!

Before I opened City Lit and I would read about retailers’ anniversaries, I would think “good for them” and”I should really stop by and get some free cookies. “   I could not have imagined the gratitude, joy, excitement, and pride that such an announcement brings.  Gratitude for the unwavering support of so many families and regular customers.  Joy of watching a community grow.  Excitement for the new customers, books, events, and relationships we have yet to build.  Pride in a conscientious and hard-working staff that set a high bar for customer service every day. 


Today I am thankful for the support of the tremendous community of book-lovers, the efforts of a great team of City Lit booksellers, and the generosity of support from all of you who have helped create this thriving and exciting place.


Stop by and have some cookies!


City Lit Celebrates 'The Provocateurs'


As true Chicagoans know, Chicago in the summer turns into one long, mad, outdoor festival. It seems like every weekend is another excuse for cold beers in plastic cups, picnic dinners, and sunscreen (not to mention that crumpled paperback you always carry with you, right?). 

Right before you break down and buy those last minute Lollapalooza tickets for this upcoming weekend, consider checking out Lolla's first ever art exhibit, "Art Alliance: Provocateurs." It's set to run in tandem with the music festival from July 31st to August 4th. 

"Art Alliance: The Provocateurs" will feature some of the most prominent street artists working in today's cultural climate, including the incredible Shephard Fairey. The show will stage five outdoor mural projects on Chicago walls, with Fairey's taking up 9th and Wabash. The exhibit will also have an indoor component, in case we lose our moderate summer weather or you're in need of a mid-dance break cool down at the Loop's Block Thirty Seven. 

What does this have to do with us, you ask? Well BESIDES the fact that we love our fair city and are always up for spreading the word about some new event, City Lit got the tip off about 'The Provocateurs' and, being the cultural liaisons which we ARE, we're now proud to carry a collection of art folios by artists involved as well as a few limited edition pieces published for the art show. 

This includes Stanley Donwood of Radiohead fame, Shephard Fairey, Banksy, Revok, Keith Haring and many more.

So after you've done the downtown thing, head up to Logan Square to check out these beautiful new editions. Trust us... They're gorgeous. 

For more information on 'The Provocateurs,' check out their website

Viva La Revolucion: A Dialogue with the Urban Landscape Cover Image
Not available for on-line purchase
ISBN: 9781584234241
Availability: Out of Print
Published: Gingko Press - December 11th, 2010

The CCLAP Showcase

THE CCLAP SHOWCASE: A New Reading Series and Open Mic

We at City Lit are proud to host the second CCLAP Showcase this month on Tuesday, July 22nd at 6:30. The reading ad open mic will take place in the store. 

The CCLAP (Chicago Center for Literacy and Photography) will present the renowned Eric Charles May, author of Bedrock Faith and Briefly Knocked Unconscious by a Low Flying Duck, for a reading. Afterwards, CCLAP will organize an open mic for a selection of authors and poets. 

If you're interested in signing up for an open mic slot in advance, write And if you're not interested in signing up, make sure that you drop in to hear some great new authors read their current works.

Hope to see you there!  




A Great Success!



We'd like to extend the most heartfelt of THANK YOUS for coming out to celebrate the first Annual Chicago Independent Bookstore Day yesterday. It was a resounding success! We love that you think of us on Saturday morning when you come to join us while Miss Irica reads and sings. We love that you were able to share Martha Bayne's delicious gazpacho creations. We love that you helped us welcome Curbside Splendor authors and followers. In short, we love that you helped us have a fabulous Chicago Independent Bookstore Day!


We are thrilled that you have become a part of our community, and honored that we have become a part of yours. 




It's Official...

As I'm sure you're all actively following, this Saturday is Chicago's first annual Independent Bookstore Day! With nine bookstores around Chicago participating in giveaways, book signings, and other special events unique to each store, it's bound to be a blast. 

We were excited enough knowing that our faithful Logan Squarers and Chicagoans would take note and take part. But just the other day, we received some pretty exciting news...

Chicago's own Rahm Emanuel declared that July 12, 2014 is OFFICIALLY Chicago Independent Bookstore Day in Chicago! Not only that, he namedropped us in his Proclamation! Whether or not this will translate to a citywide holiday with businesses and schools closing, we'll keep you posted...



WHEREAS, books were spawned by the evolution of the act of transcription and written language in pursuit of greater communication, which can be traced to ancient civilization; and 

WHEREAS, the birth of books forever changed the course of history, fortifying culture by exchanging ideas and increasing scholarship, and bolstering communication amongst people the world over; and

WHEREAS, the independent bookstore has long played an indelible role alongside libraries in offering unique collections and volumes, and rare editions and assorted subjects to every reader’s predilection; and

WHEREAS, the availability of multifarious varieties of books has long been one of the hallmarks of an advancing, evolving society; and

WHEREAS, often times, it is the independent bookstore’s intimate setting and warm, knowledgeable staff that sets it apart from other institutions; and

WHEREAS, the City of Chicago is home to a number of these cultural and community gems, many of which, boast families or groups, or circles of lifelong resident-customers in and around the historic Hyde Park, Lincoln Square, Logan Square, Downtown, Printer’s Row, Lakeview, and Andersonville neighborhoods; and

WHEREAS, 57th Street Books, the Book Cellar, City Lit Books, Open Books, Powell’s Bookstore, Sandemeyer’s, Seminary Co-Op, Unabridged Books, and Women and Children First continue to advance Chicago’s literary palate all while satisfying its diverse intellectual cravings; and

WHEREAS, each of these independent book stores will mark Saturday, July 12, 2014 with very special activities to celebrate their enduring presence and invaluable cultural standing in and around Chicagoland:

NOW, THEREFORE, I, RAHM EMANUEL, MAYOR OF THE CITY OF CHICAGO, do hereby proclaim July 12, 2014 to be CHICAGO INDEPENDENT BOOK STORE DAY IN CHICAGO and urge all Chicagoans to take part in this auspicious day in recognition of a stories tradition of literature, language, and learning in our city. 

Dated this 8th day of July, 2014. 


Rahm Emanuel




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