The Chicagoist will be launching later but in the meantime please enjoy our archives.

Chicagoist's Reading Round-Up: All About Attitude

By Maggie Hellwig in Arts & Entertainment on Apr 3, 2012 8:20PM

2012_4_3_Commando1.jpg This month we've got a book selection of needles picked from a haystack of variety. While there are plenty of memoirs, wannabe epic love stories, and bildungsromans emerging with the craze of spring fever, there are some books here to stave us away from the puff pieces, or at least to keep our sarcasm in tact.

Commando: The Autobiography of Johnny Ramone
Johnny Ramone

Queens-raised guitarist John Cummings, better known as Johnny Ramone, began his autobiography after he was diagnosed with pancreatic prostate cancer. It's been eight years since his death, but his perspective of The Ramones' rise to fame is finally finished and ready for release. Considering Johnny's renowned sympathy for the Republican Party and outspoken devotion to his blue collar roots, the tale of punk stardom comes at the reader from a new angle. Included are photos never before published as well as Johnny's final reckoning on each Ramones' album. The book reads like one last statement that Johnny had to make; his love/hate letter to his fans and general public.

2012_4_3_SleepyHollow1.jpg The Sleepy Hollow Family Almanac
Kris D'Agostino

Times of economic hardship are to be weathered with many resourceful tools, but none of us would be able to keep our heads on straight if it weren't for laughter. D'Agostino's debut novel is the story of a family in shambles. The main character, Calvin, is a film school dropout living at home with his parents, and it's little surprise that his older brother is also residing under the same roof. His younger sister is pregnant, his father is paranoid, and meanwhile they are all compiling a heap of debt that might cause them to lose their home. If it sounds depressing, than we think that you might be pleasantly surprised. Indie Bound, who picked Sleepy Hollow for their 2012 April Indie Next List, is telling us that, "it's not only bouynantly fun but often very, very funny." And, Publisher's Weekly is calling it, "wickedly funny and as often beautiful as it is meandering." If you're drawn to metaphorical train wrecks, painful irony, or maybe just awkward tales about men in their early twenties, this book is for you.

2012_4_3_ChicagoStories1.JPG Chicago Stories: 40 Dramatic Fictions
Michael Czyzniejewski

South suburb native Michael Czyzniejewski has taken on a pretty hefty endeavor: zero in on icons in Chicago history and get inside their heads. The tales of Chicago Stories have snarky and long-winded titles like, "Rod Blagojevich Negotiates His First Prison Tattoo, Joliet State Penitentiary," or, "The Sixteen-Inch Softball Buys a Shot of Malort for the Italian Beef Sandwich at the End of the Bar." And while the stories are quite funny, Newcity Lit insists that they are more like "historical jazz," than "historical fiction." The snippets are accompanied by sketches of Rob Funderburk, and it's written almost entirely in free form. We're thinking Dmitry Samarov's Hack, but with a little less straightforward narrative and an inkling of more cynicism. We're always intrigued by a good read about our city, and what's not to like about some sass to curb it?