Grant Achatz’s award-winning Chicago restaurant is thought to be the best in town. If your travel budget doesn’t allow a trip north, you can enjoy, even attempt to prepare, the chef’s unforgettable dishes with the help of Alinea, a cookbook that is itself a sensual experience. Achatz, 416 pp.
After receiving dozens of rejections, Marty Morris decided to self-publish. His novel was published by iUniverse Corporation in Bloomington, Ind. And it has been well received by its readers. The Absence of Goodness is the story of a young woman who trades a gun and a badge for a nun’s veil, and then is forced back into the mold of investigator when two students are murdered at the high school where she teaches. Morris, who resides in Springfield, retired from the State of Illinois last year and teaches philosophy as an adjunct at Lincoln Land Community College. iUniverse, 352 pp.
Multiple contributors penned The Chicago Sports Reader, which examines Chicago’s long and glorious history of recreational and competitive sport in a city that claims the most loyal fans in the United States. The collection surveys the essential events and main teams in the city’s sports history — the Bears, the Cubs, the White Sox, the Black Hawks and the Bulls. The authors also examine more specialized sports such as racing, cycling and women’s baseball. University of Illinois Press, 384 pp.
Chet Coppock is Chicago sports, and now he has written a guide to the sports scene in the Windy City, Fat Guys Shouldn’t Be Dancin’ at Halftime: An Irreverent Romp Through Chicago Sports. From his time as a host on WMAQ-TV to his days on the airwaves on “Coppock on Sports,” he knows the legends that have made Chicago such a famous sports city. Coppock rates the best and worst TV sportscasters and radio talkies in Chicago over the past 25 years. Triumph Books, 240pp.
The Gardener’s Cottage in Riverside, Illinois - Living in a ‘Small Masterpiece’ by Frank Lloyd Wright, Jens Jensen, and Frederick Law Olmsted, by Cathy Jean Maloney. What is it truly like to live within a historic work of architectural art? Current owner and gardening writer Maloney records her discoveries and personal reflections on living in the Gardener’s Cottage with her family. University of Chicago Press, 128 pp.
Springfield resident and Edgar Award Winner David Ellis has a new mystery. The Hidden Man is the first in a series set in an unnamed Midwestern city, featuring grief-stricken attorney Jason Kolarich, who blames himself for his wife and child’s death. A stranger called Mr. Smith hires him to defend an old friend involved in a 26-year-old kidnapping/murder case. Ellis’s legal thriller has an original plot with the kind of ending everyone likes – a surprising one. Putnam, 336 pp.
The Man Who Emptied Death Row: Governor George Ryan and the Politics of Crime (Elmer H. Johnson and Carol Holmes Johnson Series in Criminology), by James L. Merriner. Former Gov. Dan Walker calls this book a gripping factual account of real-life crime in government. James Merriner tells in graphic and readable detail why Illinois is number one in the nation in bipartisan corruption. Read it and weep for good government gone. SIU Press, 240 pp. Reviewed in IT April 8, 2009.
Springfield resident Ross Minton was raised in Dumas, Texas, the setting for his memoir, Memories of the Boys from Dumas. Because the memoir is set mainly in the 1950s, older readers will recognize and smile at many universal coming-of-age experiences and younger readers will get a charming glimpse of “the good old days.” Dorrance Publishing, 53 pp.
The Railroad Tycoon Who Built Chicago by Jack Harpster tells the story of William B. Ogden, the first mayor of the Windy City, elected in 1837. It is the first biography of one of the most notable figures in 19th-century America. Southern Illinois University Press, 328 pp.
Job Conger’s interest in aviation could easily be considered a love affair. It began with him photographing airplanes during frequent trips to the airport as a young boy. Half a century later, Conger’s love for aviation has led to the creation of a book. Springfield Aviation traces the history of nearly everything with wings in the past 150 years. Hundreds of photos. Arcadia Publishing, 128 pp. Reviewed in IT, Oct. 8, 2008.
A Springfield native, from a long line of Springfield natives, Sarah Hathaway Thomas takes a spate of years away from her hometown when she marries an educational materials promoter/farmer living on the edge of a northern Indiana town, population 200. In West of Buffalo, Life in a Small Indiana Town, Sarah Thomas demonstrates a keen eye for detail and a sure ear for the quotable phrase. RoseDog Books 2009, 130 pp.
Reviewed in IT Sept. 9, 2009.
William L. Dawson and the Limits of Black Electoral Leadership by Christopher Manning, follows the career of one of the most powerful black politicians of the 20th century from Chicago to Washington, D.C. Manning is associate professor of history at Loyola University. Northern Illinois University Press, 233 pp.
David Cain describes himself as an “artist, composer, performer, writer, filmmaker, teacher, husband, father, son, seeker, illusion mover ....” His new book is Who Moved My Illusion? In this collection of short essays, Cain draws inspiration from such teachers as Deepak Chopra and Joseph Campbell as he uses everyday examples (washing one’s hair) of how to live in the present and live life to its fullest potential. Umedia Inc., 140 pp.