// WORD UP!
THANKS TO THE NEW AMERICAN WRITERS MUSEUM (NOT TO MENTION A SLEW OF SUMMER-PERFECT RELEASES FROM CHICAGO AUTHORS), THE CITY’S LITERARY SCENE IS HAVING A SERIOUS MOMENT.
Thanks to the new American Writers Museum (and a slew of summer-perfect releases from local authors), the city is having a serious literary moment.
If language is a living thing, ever morphing to meet the ways we communicate, writing is right there giving shape to voices of every sort. The newly opened American Writers Museum (AWM) chronicles and celebrates the individuals whose way with words create a richly layered national expression. Encompassing the canon and the common, from poetry and novels to journalism and comic books, Chicago’s latest cultural institution is no old-school athenaeum. “We’re not putting books under glass,” assures museum president Carey Cranston. “The AWM is very interactive, more like a science museum than a library.”
The exhibits—developed by Boston’s Amaze Design—include a map that allows visitors to plug in a ZIP code and learn about writers from their neck of the woods, and Word Waterfall, an art-like installation of imagery and sound spun of passages from famous works. AWM programming will include readings, workshops, and temporary exhibitions, such as an inaugural display featuring the 120-foot long roll of paper on which Jack Kerouac typed his generationdefining novel On the Road. Like a good book, the American Writers Museum is bound to be revisited, again and again. 180 N. Michigan Ave., Second Fl., 312374-8790; americanwriters museum.org
GOOD READS: 5 BEACH-READY NEW RELEASES FROM CHICAGO AUTHORS
The best of summer is simple: sun, sand, burgers, ballgames—and a good read for those days when all you want is a little alone time in a gently swaying hammock. Happily, our hometown scribblers have just the thing. Christina Henry, whose best-selling Alice reimagined the adventures of Lewis Carroll’s little girl, works her magic on J.M. Barrie with her Peter Pan prequel, Lost Boy: The True Story of Captain Hook (Berkley Books, $16). And for Millennials struggling with the whole adulting thing, writer/ comedian Andy Boyle spells it all out in Adulthood for Beginners (Tarcherperigee, $16). The Readymade Thief (Viking, $26), a debut novel from University of Chicago creative writing professor Augustus Rose, pits a 17-year-old against a cult of Marcel Duchamp enthusiasts whose aims are anything but artistic. Marcus Sakey imagines his own odd reality in the Chicago-set Afterlife (Thomas & Mercer, $16), which has already been optioned by Ron Howard and Brian Glazer’s Imagine Entertainment. “My characters wander an abandoned Magnificent Mile, ‘shopping’ by smashing the glass and taking whatever they like,” shares Sakey. “They make a home at the Langham Hotel, dragging furniture to the street to host heavily-armed block parties before crashing in the suites.” And Scott Turow fans will want to grab a copy of his latest, Testimony (Grand Central Publishing, $28), in which he takes readers to the International Criminal Court in The Hague, where a US prosecutor investigates the disappearance of a refugee camp during the Bosnian War. All that is to say: Slap on the sunscreen and get reading.