Five books: Warming up with a festive high-five

AuthorsLiteratureFictionNathan EnglanderArts and CultureAnne FrankPulitzer Prize Awards

Printers Row Lit Fest announced its lineup earlier this week, and it's led by Judy Blume, the beloved children's book author who has helped several generations endure the agony of adolescence. Blume will receive the Chicago Tribune's Young Adult Literary Prize during the fest, which will be June 8-9. For the next six weeks, this page will be dedicated to Lit Fest authors, offering reading suggestions by some of the nearly 200 authors who will attend. This week we'll start with five headliners. Although with Colum McCann, Elizabeth Berg, Irvine Welsh, Julia Sweeney, Anchee Min, Lauren Weisberger and Blue Balliett on the bill — not to mention dozens of others — it was difficult to pick just five. For more on Lit Fest, including a full list of participants, visit printersrowlitfest.org.


This piece first ran in Printers Row Journal, delivered to Printers Row members with the Sunday Chicago Tribune and by digital edition via email. Click here to learn about joining Printers Row.


Jennifer Day is editor of Printers Row Journal.

Tiger Eyes by Judy Blume

The titles sound like old schoolroom friends: "Superfudge," "Freckle Juice," "Deenie," and, of course, the book that inspired a censorship controversy, "Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret." But this summer, a movie version of "Tiger Eyes" — adapted and produced by Blume and her son, Lawrence — will open in theaters. "Tiger Eyes" is Blume's 1981 young adult tale of a girl named Davey and how she copes after her father's sudden, violent death.

Rookie Yearbook One by Tavi Gevinson

Tavi Gevinson, the Oak Park fashion phenom who burst onto the scene at age 12, offers a straight shot of advice to teenagers in "Rookie Yearbook One," a website-turned-scrapbook that's charming, squirm-inducing and flat-out fun. It's an honest dive into everything kids want to know — but don't want to talk about. Parents may cringe, but if they're honest, they'll admit that they wish they'd had "Rookie" around when they were that age.

Maus: A Survivor's Tale by Art Spiegelman

Twenty-one years ago, Art Spiegelman won a Pulitzer Prize for "Maus," a stunning memoir about his family's Holocaust experience in which Jews are depicted as mice and the Nazis as cats. This masterpiece — a work that essentially legitimized the term "graphic novel" — is just as powerful now. The Chicago Public Library will honor Spiegelman with the Harold Washington Literary Prize. This fall, Spiegelman will release "Co-Mix," a retrospective.

What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne Frank by Nathan Englander

The legacy of the Holocaust reverberates in Nathan Englander's latest collection of short stories, but with the distance of another generation. A finalist for the 2013 Pulitzer Prize in fiction, "What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne Frank" explores questions of guilt, identity and humanity in works that confirm Englander as a short story master.

Skagboys by Irvine Welsh

Twenty years after Irvine Welsh's generation-defining novel "Trainspotting" was published, Welsh tells the back story of Renton, Sick Boy and the rest of the gang. Welsh told Printers Row Journal last year that 40 percent of the book — which was completed during a writing stint in Chicago — is based on leftover material from the original book. Set in the Thatcher era, the book is a timely read.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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AuthorsLiteratureFictionNathan EnglanderArts and CultureAnne FrankPulitzer Prize Awards
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