Books Can Take You Places: Chicago

EDITOR’S NOTE: Half Price Books encourages you to travel more in 2016. Not the kind of travel that involves airplanes, passports and hotels, but the easier, more affordable kind — where you open a great book and let it take you somewhere. Throughout 2016 we’ll share about the world’s great destinations, along with our recommendations for theChicago books, movies and music that will help you get there.

Already this year, we’ve taken a trip to Paris, France, San Francisco, California, with a detour to New Orleans, Louisiana then back across the pond to Rome, Italy. This month’s stop is Chicago, Illinois.

It’s best known as the Windy City, but in 1920 it was called the literary capital of the U.S. by H.L. Mencken. That was the era of the Chicago Renaissance, when local writers, buoyed by daring homegrown literary journals, were creating work that stood apart from the influence of New York and Europe. Later decades saw a wave of activity from African American writers. The City of the Big Shoulders is also famous for the blues and early jazz, and was the setting for seemingly every teen movie in the 1980s.


book The Adventures of Augie March, Saul Bellow • music-note-21 Beyond the Mix, Frankie Knuckles • slate_film-512 The Blues Brothers • music-note-21 Chicago Transit Authority, Chicago • music-note-21 The Complete Hot Fives and Hot Seven Recordings, Louis Armstrong • slate_film-512 Ferris Bueller’s Day Off music-note-21 Hoodoo Man Blues, Junior Wells • slate_film-512 Hoop Dreams book The House on Mango Street, Sandra Cisneros • book Jimmy Corrigan, The Smartest Kid on Earth, Chris Ware • book The Jungle, Upton Sinclair • book The Man with the Golden Arm, Nelson Algren • book Native Son, Richard Wright • slate_film-512 North By Northwest • slate_film-512 The Untouchables • music-note-21 Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, Wilco


  • Ferris Bueller’s Day Off was the first film allowed to shoot inside The Art Institute of Chicago. The museum was a favorite haunt of director John Hughes during his youth.
  • In suburban Oak Park, Hemingway fans can visit the home where the author was born, as well as the Ernest Hemingway Museum.
  • The Newberry Library, open since 1887, offers exhibits, tours and author readings. Readers of Audrey Niffenegger’s The Time Traveler’s Wife will recognize it as the protagonist’s workplace.
  • Humbolt Park is the setting for Saul Bellow’s The Adventures of Augie March, and many sites featured 
in the 1953 book remain virtually unchanged today. Bellow lived nearby at 2629 West Augusta Boulevard.

If you don’t want to miss a stop on this journey, join the Half Price Books Booklovers Survey Club and we’ll send you an email each month with a new city alongside a quick survey. Plus, you’ll receive coupons to save throughout the year when you travel to your favorite Half Price Books.

Until next time!


2 thoughts on “Books Can Take You Places: Chicago

  1. Pingback: Books Can Take You Places: Tokyo | The Half Price Blog

  2. Pingback: Books Can Take You Places: Seattle | The Half Price Blog

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