Chicago Neighborhood Guidebook (ebook)

"Required reading. ... Reinforces what an amazing and interesting place [Chicago] is, filled with talented writers and artists who contributed to the book. But it also requires the reader to see the city anew, to confront its problems and not fall back on empty sentiment." -- John Warner, Chicago Tribune

"The Chicago Neighborhood Guidebook makes an effort to describe the kaleidoscopic sand art project that is the Windy City. Bayne is doing something new here with a skilled and colorful effort to remember the city’s then while recording something of the mercurial now it currently inhabits. -- Dan Kelly, Third Coast Review


Edited by Martha Bayne
September 10, 2019

Chicago is famously a city of neighborhoods. Seventy-seven of them, formally; more than 200 in subjective, ever-changing fact. But what does that actually mean? The Chicago Neighborhood Guidebook, the latest in Belt's series of idiosyncratic city guides (after Cleveland and Detroit), aims to explore community history and identity in a global city through essays, poems, photo essays, and art articulating the lived experience of its residents.

Edited by Belt senior editor Martha Bayne with help from the Read/Write Library, the book builds on 2017's critically acclaimed Rust Belt Chicago: An Anthology. What did one pizzeria mean to a boy growing up in Ashburn? How can South Shore encompass so much beauty and so much pain?  Where's the best borscht in Ukranian Village? Who's got a handle on the ever-shifting identity of Rogers Park? All this and more in this lyrical, subjective, completely non-comprehensive guide to Chicago. Featuring work by Megan Stielstra, Audrey Petty, Alex V. Hernandez, Sebastián Hidalgo, Dmitry Samarov, Ed Marszewski, Lily Be, Jonathan Foiles, and many more.

More praise for The Chicago Neighborhood Guidebook:

“A stirring, entertaining and informative collection of works … [Brings] to vivid life the diverse people and wildly divergent experiences that populate Chicago. The Chicago Neighborhood Guidebook is a symphony of the city – unharmonious, often tragic, sometimes ridiculous, yet always home." -- Alex Bean, Chicago Detours

"Studs Terkel managed to portray the city’s richness in his weekly radio showand books by interviewing Chicagoans from all walks of life. It’s that same spirit of open mindedness and eclecticism that animates The Chicago Neighborhood Guidebook, a collection of 45 essays, poems, and photographs from Belt Publishing, where contributors from all corners of the city share space, each individual neighborhood weaving together into an evocative tapestry." -- Tanner Howard, Curbed Chicago

“You would be a fool not to have this on your bookshelf; it will introduce you to Chicago today … An essential and tremendously enjoyable book." -- Rick Kogan, After Hours With Rick Kogan

"Offers a democratic view of the city ... through the personal stories and experiences of its residents." -- Quinn Meyer, Chicago Tonight  

"Belt Publishing’s new book “The Chicago Neighborhood Guidebook,” edited by journalist Martha Bayne, features short essays, poems, articles and photo essays that capture the city’s change and personal stories of just about every Chicago neighborhood. The stories reflect the city’s change by diving into the identity of each neighborhood from a personal perspective and with a deep love of how place influences a person." -- Ariel Parella-Aureli, LoganSquarist

"In their varied voices, however, the Guidebook’s authors go deeper than reiterating the neighborhood notion by hitting at the power of place and describing how a neighborhood can shape us, often from a young age. ... The Guidebook offers a buffet of places you might want to visit, interesting facts, and memorable moments. It leaves you on your own to piece the map together, which is a welcome challenge. " -- Max Budovich, South Side Weekly


Martha Bayne is a senior editor with Belt Publishing and a Chicago-based freelance writer. Her work has been published in regional and national outlets including Buzzfeed, Eater, the Chicago Reader, the Chicago Reporter, the Baffler, and Puerto Rico’s Center for Investigative Journalism. She is the editor of Rust Belt Chicago: An Anthology and Red State Blues: Stories from Midwestern Life on the Left, both published by Belt, and the author of the narrative cookbook Soup & Bread Cookbook: Building Community One Pot at a Time (Agate, 2011).

See also:
Rust Belt Chicago: An Anthology
Chicago Bundle


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