I didn’t have time to make this pretty (and I pasted publicity copy instead of writing them up myself), but here’s an incomplete list of 2022 books about Chicago and/or by Chicagoans, including fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. It’s based on an Edelweiss search I ran in February, so more books will be added in the coming months, particularly for the back half of the year. Also, some small presses don’t use Edelweiss at all, and some presses fail to mention Chicago in the summary or contributor bio.

More Than Meat and Raiment by Angela Jackson (Northwestern University Press, January 15). “Angela Jackson returns with a poetic collage that draws on imagery from the African American South and the South Side of Chicago, storytelling, the Black Arts Movement, and Hausa folklore.”

Puerto Rican Chicago: Schooling the City, 1940-1977 by Mirelsie Velazquez (University of Illinois Press, January 22). “The postwar migration of Puerto Rican men and women to Chicago brought thousands of their children into city schools. Mirelsie Velázquez tells how Chicago’s Puerto Ricans pursued their educational needs in a society that constantly reminded them of their status as second-class citizens.”

Respect the Mic: Celebrating 20 Years of Poetry from a Chicagoland High School, edited by Peter Kahn, Hanif Abdurraqib, Dan “Sully” Sullivan, Franny Choi (Penguin Workshop, February 1). “An expansive, moving poetry anthology, representing 20 years of poetry from students and alumni of Chicago’s Oak Park River Forest High School Spoken Word Club.”

Making Mexican Chicago: From Postwar Settlement to the Age of Gentrification by Mike Amezcua (University of Chicago Press, February 22). “Though Chicago is often popularly defined by its Polish, Black, and Irish populations, Cook County is home to the third-largest Mexican-American population in the United States. In Making Mexican Chicago, Mike Amezcua explores how the Windy City became a Latinx metropolis in the second half of the twentieth century.”

Woman on Fire by Lisa Barr (Harper, March 1). “After talking her way into a job with Dan Mansfield, the leading investigative reporter in Chicago, rising young journalist Jules Roth is given an unusual—and very secret—assignment. Dan needs her to locate a painting stolen by the Nazis more than 75 years earlier: legendary Expressionist artist Ernst Engel’s most famous work, Woman on Fire.”

The Myth of Surrender by Kelly O’Connor McNees (Pegasus Books, March 1). “Written by the acclaimed author of The Lost Summer of Louisa May Alcott and Undiscovered Country, The Myth of Surrender explores a hidden chapter of American history that still reverberates across the lives of millions of women and their children.”

The Billboard by Natalie Y. Moore (Haymarket Books, March 8). “The Billboard is about a fictional Black women’s clinic in Chicago’s Englewood neighborhood on the South Side and its fight with a local gadfly running for City Council who puts up a provocative billboard.”

Don’t Get Close by Matt Miksa (Crooked Lane, March 8). “An infamous reincarnation cult resurfaces in the wake of a deadly bombing, and it’s up to an FBI novice to learn its true aim—and uncover its dark past before it consumes her.”

All Roads by Colleen O’Brien (Northwestern University Press, March 15). “Set mostly in Chicago, the stories range from the perspective of a nine-year-old girl intensely observing her new stepmother to a woman trying to make sense of her body after cancer surgery.”

The Emergency: A Year of Healing and Heartbreak in a Chicago ER by Thomas Fisher (One World, March 22). “The riveting, pulse-pounding story of a year in the life of an emergency room doctor trying to steer his patients and colleagues through a crushing pandemic and a violent summer, amidst a healthcare system that seems determined to leave them behind.”

Uninsured in Chicago: How the Social Safety Net Leaves Latinos Behind by Robert Vargas (NYU Press, March 22). “More than a decade after the passage of the Affordable Care Act, around eleven million Latinx citizens around the country remain uninsured. In Uninsured in Chicago, Robert Vargas explores the roots of this crisis, showing us why, despite their eligibility, Latinx people are the racial group least likely to enroll in health insurance.”

Murder Among Friends: How Leopold and Loeb Tried to Commit the Perfect Crime by Candace Fleming (Anne Schwartz Books, March 29). “How did two teenagers brutally murder an innocent child…and why? And how did their brilliant lawyer save them from the death penalty in 1920s Chicago?”

In Praise of Good Bookstores by Jeff Deutsch (Princeton University Press, April 5). “From a devoted reader and lifelong bookseller, an eloquent and charming reflection on the singular importance of bookstores.”

Her Word Is Bond: Navigating Hip Hop and Relationships in a Culture of Misogyny by Cristalle “Psalm One” Bowen (Haymarket Books, April 26). “Psalm One tells her own story, from growing up in Englewood, Chicago through her life as a chemist, teacher, and legendary rapper. Intrinsically feminist, this story is a celebration of the life and career of one artist who blazed the trail for women in hip hop.”

Marrying the Ketchups by Jennifer Close (Knopf, April 26). “An irresistible comedy of manners about three generations of a Chicago restaurant family and the deep-fried, beer-battered, cream cheese-frosted love that feeds them all.”

A House for the Struggle: The Black Press and the Built Environment in Chicago by E. James West (University of Illinois Press, April 26). “Buildings once symbolized Chicago’s place as the business capital of Black America and a thriving hub for Black media. In this groundbreaking work, E. James West examines the city’s Black press through its relationship with the built environment.”

Overboard by Sara Paretsky (William Morrow, May 10). “Legendary detective V.I. Warshawski uncovers a nefarious conspiracy preying on Chicago’s weak and vulnerable.”

Growing Up Chicago edited by David Schaafsma, Lauren DeJulio Bell and Roxanne Pilat (Northwestern University Press, May 15). “A collection of coming-of-age stories that reflects the diversity of the city and its metropolitan area. Primarily memoir, the book collects work by writers who spent their formative years in the region to ask: What characterizes a Chicago author? Is it a certain feel to the writer’s language? A narrative sensibility? The mention of certain neighborhoods or locales?”

Charlie Murphy: The Iconoclastic Showman behind the Chicago Cubs by Jason Cannon (University of Nebraska Press, June 1). “You don’t know the history of the Chicago Cubs until you know the story of Charles Webb Murphy, the ebullient and mercurial owner of this historic franchise from 1905 through 1914.”

Last Summer on State Street by Toya Wolfe (William Morrow, June 7). “For fans of Jacqueline Woodson and Brit Bennett, a striking coming-of-age debut about friendship, community, and resilience, set in the housing projects of Chicago during one life-changing summer.”

I Can Take it from Here: A Memoir of Trauma, Prison, and Self-Empowerment by Lisa Forbes (Truth to Power, June 7). “An emotional, page-turning account of unhealed trauma and personal transformation that will break your heart and change your mind, in the tradition of Somebody’s Daughter, A Piece of Cake, and Jesmyn Ward’s Men We Reaped.”

The Tomorrow Game: Rival Teenagers, Their Race for a Gun, and a Community United to Save Them by Sudhir Venkatesh (Simon & Schuster, June 28). “In the tradition of works like Random Family and Behind the Beautiful Forevers, Sudhir Venkatesh’s The Tomorrow Game is a deeply reported chronicle of families surviving in a Southside Chicago community.”

Look Closer by David Ellis (G.P. Putnam’s Sons, July 5). “Simon and Vicky couldn’t seem more normal: a wealthy Chicago couple, he a respected law professor, she an advocate for domestic violence victims. A stable, if unexciting marriage. But one thing’s for sure … absolutely nothing is what it seems. The pair are far from normal, and one of them just may be a killer.”

Peril at the Exposition by Nev March (Minotaur Books, July 12). “Captain Jim Agnihotri and his new bride, Diana Framji, return in Nev March’s Peril at the Exposition, the follow up to March’s award-winning, Edgar finalist debut, Murder in Old Bombay.”

Our Kind of Historian: The Work and Activism of Lerone Bennett Jr. by E. James West (University of Massachusetts Press, July 29). “Rooted in his role as senior editor of Ebony magazine, but stretching far beyond the boundaries of the Johnson Publishing headquarters in Chicago, Bennett’s work and activism positioned him as a prominent advocate for Black America and a scholar whose writing reached an unparalleled number of African American readers.”

Book of Extraordinary Tragedies by Joe Meno (Akashic Books, August 6). “Aleksandar and Isobel are siblings and former classical music prodigies, once destined for greatness. As the only Eastern European family growing up on their block on the far southside of Chicago, the pair were inseparable until each was forced to confront the absurdity of tragedy at an early age: Aleks lives with hearing loss, while Isobel struggles with preposterous expectations from herself and her family.”

Mount Chicago by Adam Levin (Doubleday, August 9). “A one-in-ten-billion natural disaster devastates Chicago. A Jewish comedian, his most devoted fan, and the city’s mayor must struggle to move forward while the world—quite literally—caves beneath their feet. With this polyphonic tale of Chicago-style politics and political correctness, stand-up comedy and Jewish identity, celebrity, drugs, and animal psychology, Levin has constructed a monument to laughter, love, art, and resilience in an age of spectacular loss.”

Sound Experiments: The Music of the AACM by Paul Steinbeck (University of Chicago Press, August 12). “Founded on Chicago’s South Side in 1965 and still thriving today, the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM) is the most influential collective organization in jazz and experimental music. In Sound Experiments, Paul Steinbeck offers an in-depth historical and musical investigation of the collective, analyzing individual performances and formal innovations in captivating detail.”

Even Though I Knew the End by C. L. Polk (Tor.com Publishing, November 8). “An exiled augur who sold her soul to save her brother’s life is offered one last job before eternity in hell. When she turns it down, her client sweetens the pot by offering up the one payment she can’t resist—the chance to have a future where she grows old with the woman she loves. To succeed, she must track down the White City Vampire, Chicago’s most notorious serial killer, in the three days she has left. If she fails, only hell and heartbreak await.”

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