Like an open book
What are Chicagoans reading this summer? We take a guess with these mock excerpts.
A Million Little Glass Castles
“My grandmother’s kitchen smelled like tectonic plates shifting, continents cracking apart. She was an African in love with a Cherokee drifter, and after their son married my Chinese mother and she gave birth to Portuguese conjoined twins, my whole family moved to a trailer park in Roanoke, Virginia. We did not fit in.
That’s when I started my tango with the needle. There were many nights during my personal journey with homelessness when I wished the slap of Raoul’s death on 9/11 would rouse me from my nightmare. But I don’t know who I am when I’m not being raped. Uncle Marty, with his Christmas breath, taking gifts not meant for his stocking. Now I think back to nights in that crowded kitchen, stuffing wontons with collard greens and baking them with cheese and potato chips on top. And I remember: I am America. I am going to college. I am going to be on Oprah.”
The Blinkonomics Point
“Why are business agreements that end with a handshake 38 percent more profitable? Why do manicurists have a longer average lifespan than people who wear protective gloves at work? Why did the incidence of bubonic plague actually decrease after the Catholic Church instituted its ‘Peace be with you’ handshaking ritual? What was the deal with ‘Hands Across America’? It’s not just a handshake, it’s a Big Idea. In this book you’ll meet a physicist who charges his toaster by holding hands with his wife, a basketball player who beat cancer with the endorphin blasts that follow a high-five and a child who didn’t get hit by a car because she was holding her mother’s hand. My synthesis of academic literature across disciplines documenting the incredible power of holding hands will simplify the complex and dramatize the ordinary, reframing what you already know into a pithy concept you can enthusiastically repeat at cocktail parties. After reading this book, you won’t look at the connection of our hands the same way again—for at least a couple of weeks.”
The Girls’ Guide to Sex and Shopping
“After an implausible dilemma developed at my low-end job in some glamorous industry, I walked my cute dog in the park. I was wearing pigtails, gardening clogs and a $300 tank top, but I didn’t feel darling. I wish they could put silicone in my self-confidence! Then Pixie’s leash tangled with a big brown Labrador’s, and the Lab’s owner…unbelievable!!! It was the handsome man who yelled at me 20 pages ago when I accidentally spilled my mochaccino on him. I HATE him! Besides, I’m dating Terry, even though he cheats and destroyed my credit. I’m so bad at love!
‘I owe you an apology,’ Kiefer stammered endearingly. Wow! This was like a total personality change on our second meeting! Our heartbeats synchronized, like our periods would if he were a girl. ‘I’m on my way to help underprivileged children grow microgreens because I’m actually a celebrity chef with a conscience—but can I make you
‘Fuck off,’ I said to avoid disappointment. But maybe after a bunch of misunderstandings, he’ll turn out to be the man of my dreams after all.”
Time Out Chicago
INSIDE: 27 sidewalks great for walking on!
Damen Avenue between Schiller and LeMoyne Streets
Your odds of breaking your mother’s back on this primo pavement are lower than Andy Dick’s street cred. Tie your shoes with a trippin’ pair of laces from Ob/Scene(9996 N Damen Ave, 773-555-5193), then start your stroll by sashaying into Quirky Diddlers(9997 N Damen Ave, 773-555-5960). It looks like an old man’s house, but we learned it’s a restaurant—just watch out for the handsy old man, and try the battered beans ($5). We brought Band-Aids ($3) along for blisters, but skip the assortment box—the small round ones had less staying power than Wilford Brimley’s penis. Halfway down the block, do-si-do to the right for a maple tree (41 degrees latitude, 87 degrees longitude) that will shade you from skin cancer (92 percent chance of survival with early detection). Two-step it into Sex Clown(9998 N Damen Ave, 773-555-1675) and grab a vibrator for dessert, then end your 330-foot walk by satisfying your pedestrian predilections behind the trash cans in back of the Salazars’s home(9999 N Damen Ave, unlisted phone).”
Katie Watson is a member of the improv group Sirens.