Barnes and Noble Crystal Lake celebrates Chicago with book-signing events

Two upcoming events at Barnes and Noble Crystal Lake will feature the authors of books celebrating Chicago.

At 1 p.m. Jan. 14, the book store, located at 5380 Route 14, will host local authors Joni Hirsch Blackman, Matthew Haussler, Matt Kirouac, Sarah Parisi and P.M. White. And at 1 p.m. Jan. 20, authors Kathleen Dragan, Molly Page and Dale Kaczmarek will sign and discuss books. Both events are free and open to the public. For information, call 815-444-0824.

Following is a roundup of books to be featured, as well as information about their authors:

Jan. 14

• “This Used to Be Chicago” (Blackman) – Every building has a past, and Blackman finds the stories behind more than 90 Chicago buildings that used to be something else: the liquor store that used to be a speakeasy during Prohibition; the yacht club that used to be a ferry boat; the countless condominiums that used to be cracker, shoe, postcard or piano factories and, perhaps the most incongruous, the circus school that used to be a church.

Blackman has been a wire service writer, newspaper reporter, copy editor, magazine stringer, newspaper and magazine columnist. She has written three books.

• “Start to Finish Chicago: Windy City Mazes” (Haussler) – Explore Chicago with these 45 solvable hand-drawn mazes. Maze art has been a passion of artist Haussler since 2009. He has traveled to more than six countries and numerous locations to draw mazes, but Chicago has been the primary subject matter for his maze art.

• “Unique Eats & Eateries of Chicago” (Kirouac) – Chicago has come a long way since its stereotypical days as a meat-and-potatoes town. Nowadays, Chicago’s restaurants, bakeries and neighborhood eateries are as highly regarded as its famed skyscrapers. From tasting menus hidden away down a quiet West Loop street to smoked fish with a side of Blues Brothers lore, Chicago is filled with unique eats and eateries. Kirouac is a Chicago-based food, beverage and travel writer and editor.

• “The Ultimate Kids’ Adventure Guide to Chicago” (Parisi) – The Ultimate Kids’ Adventure Guide to Chicago” has sections dedicated to each region of the city and suburbs and includes popular favorites such as the Museum of Science and Industry and Millennium Park, as well as hidden gems such as indoor skydiving and an all-ages televised dance party. Parisi has lived in Chicago most of her life and created to share some of their experiences. Parisi is on Twitter and Instagram @ToddlingChicago.

• “Buzz Ride: Driven to Disruption: Memoirs of an Uber Driver” (White) – Why would a financially-comfortable 50-something father of two – with a Mercedes – drive Uber late at night on the toughest streets of Chicago? Pat White (pseudonym), a financial advisor and business strategist, decided to go undercover to research how the disruptive technology of ridesharing affects commerce.

Jan. 20

• “Rickshaw Reggie: Chicago Neighborhoods” (Dragan) – Charlie thinks he knows everything about Chicago: deep-dish pizza, baseball and tall buildings. What else is there to see? Then he meets Rickshaw Reggie. On a magical tour of Chicago’s many neighborhoods, he learns the real city begins at the edge of his imagination. Dragan lives in the South Loop neighborhood of Chicago, where she stays busy raising two native Chicagoans.

• “100 Things to Do in Chicago Before You Die” (Page) – Soaring skyscrapers, deep-dish pizza and improv comedy may be what the city is best known for, but they are only the beginning of Chicago’s story. “100 Things to Do in Chicago Before You Die” is an insider’s guide that promises an authentic taste of the Windy City. If you’re visiting for the first time or call Chicago home, the book offers iconic experiences for everyone.

Page turned a passion for living life as a tourist into her career. She’s a devoted consumer of culture and a perpetual student of Chicago’s history and architecture.

• “Windy City Ghosts” (Kaczmarek) – “Windy City Ghosts” is a look at the many ghost stories surrounding Chicago and the suburbs. The book is broken down by geographic area in Chicago including the north, south and west side and downtown Chicago.

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