Chicago

Wrigley Centennial Trivia Showdown

May 23, 2014
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Wrigley Centennial Trivia Showdown

Who is Burt Hooton? Your guess is as good as mine, or more likely, it’s better than mine. My answer is he’s no Mickey Lolich, but that’s because I grew up in Detroit—though, as Susan Sontag would say, Under the Sign of Jack Morris. But back to your guess—if you’re schooled in Cubs lore, come to the Wrigley Centennial Trivia Showdown on Wednesday, May 28th, at the Harold Washington Library,  in celebration of the year that brought you the births of Sun Ra, Julio Cortázar, and a certain stadium. Your hosts are Stuart Shea, doyen of Cubs history, and the Chicago Tribune’s Rick Kogan, and you can win t-shirts, plates, commemorative posters, and gift certificates to Birrieria Zaragoza, Clark Street Sports, Girl and the Goat, The People’s Garment Company, & Tales, Taverns, and Towns.

From the Chicago Reader: 

Stuart Shea, author of Wrigley Field: The Long Life and Contentious Times of the Friendly Confines, and the Tribune‘s Rick Kogan host the Wrigley Centennial Trivia Showdown. Test your knowledge of the legendary ballpark alongside other Cubs enthusiasts and maybe win a Wrigley Field prize pack, or bragging rights that might earn you a free drink or two around Clark and Addison.

From . . .

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Mike Royko: One More Time

September 19, 2013
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Mike Royko: One More Time

Mike Royko (right), in conversation with Studs Terkel

If you called Chicago home at some point during the second-half of the twentieth century, you probably don’t require an introduction to Mike Royko, or to the work he produced as a columnist for the Chicago Daily News, the Sun-Times, and the Tribune. If you digested these newspapers on a regular basis (you know, as people did before the “reality talkies”), you knew him as a Pulitzer Prize winner with working-class roots, sparse and specific with language, sparser still with pretension, hypocrisy, and corrupt politicking. Royko would have turned eighty-one today—we publish a solid sampling of his work including Early Royko: Up Against It in Chicago, For the Love of Mike: More of the Best of Mike Royko, Royko in Love: Mike’s Letters to Carol, and One More Time: The Best of Mike Royko, from which the excerpt below is drawn. “Ticket to the Good Life Punched with Pain” is later Royko—written just after Rodney King’s beating at the hands of the LAPD and six years before Royko’s premature death at age 64—but a classic example of the writer’s sense of justice and outrage, coupled with an . . .

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From Black Sox to Three-Peats

September 13, 2013
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From Black Sox to Three-Peats

Chicago sportswriting is synonymous with, well, um, as far as I know: dude who had a peg leg; dude who has the same initials as that one guy in the Sega Genesis-era Moonwalker game circa 1990; dudes who did coordinated shuffling (including dude who appeared at Wrestlemania II and was the subject of the Fat Boys’ “Chillin’ with the Refrigerator”); that one team with the curse; that other team, which once featured Bobby Jenks, who looks like Bobby from King of the Hill; dudes with the sticks that make it impossible to get a beer at the Whirlaway Lounge, assorted evenings October through April; dudes whose team is named after an 1871 domestic disaster; and various other dudes, lady dudes, mimeograph machines, folded and unfolded periodicals, and residual jouissance. Bear down, Bull up or something. Confusing Harry Caray with Andy Rooney many times as a Midwestern pre-adolescent given free range with the remote control.

But seriously: you know who really knows Chicago sportswriting? Ron Rapoport, longtime sports columnist for the Chicago Sun-Times and the Los Angeles Daily News and a sports commentator for National Public Radio’s Weekend Edition. Rapoport’s most recent edited anthology . . .

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We are here

July 23, 2013
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We are here

Ideas don’t exist in a vacuum, and neither does the University of Chicago Press. We share a corner of a immensely beautiful campus where Gothic structures mingle with modernist marvels, and a who’s who of architects give the Loop a run for its money (people aren’t quite lining up to stare down from the top of the Logan Center yet, but just give it time!). Even our heating and chiller plants are stunning, an especially lucky fact since the Press building overlooks the towering South Campus Chiller Plant with its engineering inner workings fully on display.

But while they make impressive photo ops and allow for games of spot-the-gargoyle, why the gothic buildings? Why did the forward-thinking university start with an architectural style that was centuries old? The answer lies in the beautifully illustrated new book Building Ideas: An Architectural Guide to the University of Chicago.

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For the physical plan and architectural design, the founding trustees considered six local firms. Chicago’s architectural talent was adept at executing large projects, maintaining budgets, and creating designs that consistently impressed (albeit grudgingly) the critics from the East Coast. Chicago School architects designed for a demanding city: for developers who craved . . .

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Hack: Our free ebook for May

May 6, 2013
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Hack: Our free ebook for May

One of the taglines—the pithy paragraph-end to an initial piece of copy—for Dmitry Samarov’s Hack goes something like this: “And from behind the wheel of his taxi, Samarov has seen more of Chicago than most Chicagoans will hope to experience in a lifetime.” True words, Y/N?

I’d argue, “partially.” Part of what makes Hack such an appealing read is that its characters—the back-seat inhabitants of Samarov’s daily commutes through Chicago and its environs—are immediately recognizable as the kind of fully formed Greek chorus that shuffles and barks its way through contemporary urban life. But what makes them memorable isn’t just that easy familiarity. It’s the combination of Samarov’s prose and illustrations (many made from inside the cab) and how they perform a sleight of hand with our most basic Nelson Algren-ism: “Lost people sometimes develop into greater human beings than those who have never been lost in their whole lives.”

In Hack, these characters aren’t so much lost-on-the-verge-of-a-breakthrough as they are lost to the time and place of Chicago, inescapably caught up in strawberry-shake vomiting laps past McDonald’s drive-thrus and Marie’s Riptide Lounge; shapeshifting into an audience for tiny yapping lapdogs and overstuffed luggage stationed outside of . . .

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You Were Never in Chicago

May 1, 2013
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You Were Never in Chicago

Last week the New York Times Book Review ran a review of three books about Chicago. The review generated an “epic backlash,” and got everyone talking about, well, everything but the books reviewed. We want to change that.

For the first five days of May, we are making Neil Steinberg’s book You Were Never in Chicago available for download—free of charge—exclusively through the University of Chicago Press website at http://bit.ly/freebk.  It’s one of our bestsellers; it just won the Society of Midland Authors Award for Best Non-Fiction of 2012; and it has been critically acclaimed—even by the New York Times itself, who in September called it, “A strong case for Second City exceptionalism.”

Why free? Because we are so certain people will fall in love with Steinberg’s distinctive, wry, and unpretentious take on Chicago that we think they’ll read it and want to buy it as a gift for themselves or someone else who loves Chicago. Or who loves any city of the broad-shouldered kind.

Steinberg’s book takes its title from a Chicagoan’s outraged response to a New Yorker’s critique of Chicago—A. J. Liebling’s 1952 three-part essay in the New Yorker, in which he dubbed Chicago the “Second City.” . . .

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Roger Ebert (1942–2013)

April 5, 2013
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Roger Ebert (1942–2013)

Rodney F. Powell, our editor for film and cinema studies, remembers Roger Ebert:

Alas, Roger Ebert has passed, too soon at 70. The University of Chicago Press has been privileged to publish three of his books—Awake in the Dark: The Best of Roger Ebert, Scorsese by Ebert, and The Great Movies III. I worked on all three, and Ebert’s professionalism and good humor were always evident. It was also a pleasure to note his passionate advocacy of the printed word—as a voracious reader, as well as an enthusiastic film-lover.

Ebert’s celebrity status tended to obscure the fact that was hidden in plain sight throughout his career—that he was, first and foremost, an excellent writer. His ability to recognize the essential in films was matched by his ability to write clearly, concisely, and evocatively about those essential qualities, with a welcoming, unforced ease. He brought those same qualities from his daily reviews to the longer and more reflective essays he wrote for his Great Movies series. And, at his best, there was something more. Like other lasting critics, he could make his readers understand the moral qualities of the works he valued most by revealing how . . .

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PODCASTS: A not-quite episodic series

February 7, 2013
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PODCASTS: A not-quite episodic series

The phonograph predates the podcast by about 125 years, but theoretically any device used to reproduce sound could carry the moniker. So we say: ready your zonographs and talking machines—as part of our ongoing podcast series, hosted by Chris Gondek of Heron & Crane, we’re delivering a fresh batch from some of our Fall 2012 and Spring 2013 favorites. More information and links for listening below.

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Stephen T. Asma’s Against Fairness vindicates our unspoken and undeniable instinct to favor—and makes the case for favoring favoritism, so to speak. In this podcast interview, Asma considers where preferential bias fits in our utilitarian construction of fairness—and what this might have to say about our larger ethical worldview. The job of the philosopher, the evolutionary advantages of favoritism, Confucian thought, quotable Gandhi, the multinational politics of maternity leave, and the ideology of equality all make an appearance in a larger discussion about what might lead us to happier, more productive lives.

Listen to the podcast here.

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First Son: The Biography of Richard M. Daley has already been heralded by Publishers Weekly as “compelling,” “dynamic,” “highly focused” and “meticulous.” In his . . .

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Introducing Chicago Shorts

February 1, 2013
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Introducing Chicago Shorts

“Longer than a tweet and shorter than A River Runs Through It—”

INTRODUCING CHICAGO SHORTS

 The University of Chicago Press is pleased to announce the launch of Chicago Shorts—distinguished selections, including never-before-published material, off-the-radar reads culled from the University of Chicago Press’s commanding archive, and the best of our newest books, all priced for impulse buying and presented exclusively in DRM-free e-book format.

Aimed at the general reader and running the gamut from the latest in contemporary scholarship to can’t-miss chapters from classic publications, Chicago Shorts turn the page on the twenty-first-century reading experience.

Among the inaugural batch of nine Shorts, you’ll find:

What Every Novelist Needs to Know about Narrators by Wayne C. Booth Ebert’s Bests by Roger Ebert Nixon and the Silver Screen by Mark Feeney A Little History of Photography Criticism; or, Why Do Photography Critics Hate Photography? by Susie Linfield Custer’s Last Stand: The Unfinished Manuscript by Norman Maclean Shylock on Trial: The Appellate Briefs by Richard Posner and Charles Fried Erika and Klaus Mann in New York: Escape from the Magic Mountain by Andrea Weiss Bill Veeck’s Crosstown Classic by Bill Veeck with Ed Linn Rabbits with Horns and Other Astounding . . .

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Bon anniversaire to two literary legands

September 21, 2012
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Bon anniversaire to two literary legands

September 19th marked two major birthdays for twentieth-century (and beyond) letters—and lucky are we to share in their celebration. The celebrated figures in question couldn’t be more distinct—Roger Grenier, a writer and champion of fine arts and culture, a former student of Gaston Bachelard, whose editorial finesse helped shape French publisher Gallimard into a global force, once described by the Guardian as possessing, “the best backlist in the world”; and Mike Royko (1932–97), Pulitzer Prize–winning Chicago newspaper columnist and author whose local-boy-does-good commentaries and investigative journalism became the mouthpiece of the city he called home.

Grenier turned 93 on Wednesday, the same day his new collection of short stories Brefs récits pour une longue histoire was published in his native France. The author of more than thirty works of fiction, essay collections, and prose, Grenier is perhaps best known in the United States for the iconic vignettes on offer in The Difficulty of Being a Dog, translated by Alice Kaplan and published by the University of Chicago Press in 2000. This spring will usher in the publication of Grenier’s A Box of Photographs, and with it, his candid reflections on the history of photography. The depth and breadth of his . . .

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