I was on Illinois Public Media’s “The 21st” today, talking about my Chicago magazine story on how Illinois stands to lose two House seats if a citizenship question is included in the Census. I discussed my experiences as an enumerator in the immigrant-heavy community of Rogers Park. Listen here.
Here’s my Chicago magazine article on how the fact that Illinois is the most average state has also allowed it to play a special role in American history, as the engine of the nation’s racial progress, the Land of Lincoln and Obama.
July 1: The Hideout, Chicago, 5 p.m.
July 3: Tuesday Funk, Hopleaf, Chicago, 7:30 p.m.
July 5: 57th Street Books, Chicago, 6 p.m.
July 7: Everybody Reads, Lansing, Mich., 3 p.m.
July 8: Literati Bookstore, Ann Arbor, Mich., 7 p.m.
July 9: Pages Bookshop, Detroit, 6 p.m.
July 11: Middleton Public Library, Middleton, Wis., 6:30 p.m.
July 14: Caestecker Public Library, Green Lake, Wis., 10 a.m.
July 14: Fond du Lac Public Library, Fond du Lac, Wis., 2 p.m.
On WGN’s “The Download,” host Justin Kaufmann and I held a contest for the best Chicago accent. We ended up giving Lou Malnati’s pizzas to Scott from Berwyn and Nick from Mount Greenwood. Listen here.
On Thursday, June 8, I joined Justin Kaufmann, host of WGN’s “The Download,” for a feature called “You Know What I’m Saying?” I tried to guess where callers were from by asking probing questions such as “What do you call a store where you buy alcohol?” or “What do you call athletic footwear?” I was able to identify the home states of most callers; the ones who stumped me won a free pass to Sycamore Speedway in Sycamore, Illinois. Listen here.
December 1 was Publication Day for “How to Speak Midwestern.” It started off with an interview on the “Morning Shift” program at WBEZ in Chicago. Listen here. Crain’s Chicago Business ran an excerpt from the book. Chicagoist weighed in with a nice feature, as did Third Coast Review. In the evening, I did a book reading at the Book Cellar, where we sold 29 books, a one-day record for me.
On June 30, I appeared on WGN’s “Bill and Wendy Show” to talk about my Chicago Reader article on the changing Chicago accent. You can listen here.
“How to Speak Midwestern,” my book on accents and sayings from western New York to Minnesota, will be out December 1 from Belt Publishing. However, the book is already available for pre-order.
I wrote an article for the Chicago Reader’s “Best of Chicago” issue on how the Chicago accent developed, and why it’s disappearing. I’ll be talking about it at 2:05 p.m. on June 25, on WGN’s John Williams Show.
Happy Anyway: A Flint Anthology is Flint at its funniest, its weirdest, and its saddest. A collection of essays and personal narratives, the book, edited by Flint writer and Belt contributor Scott Atkinson, captures an almost impossible-to-capture city. Flint is far more than the common narrative of an industrial town picking itself up after the big company that fed it left, or the victim of a horrendous public health crisis.
Happy Anyway delves into the lives and stories within the city—what it’s like growing up on the eastside or witnessing your first murder; why a certain strange hot dog could bring an entire city so much pride; what it means to finally leave a city that you love—and what it means to stay, even when bikes or jewelry or love keep disappearing.
Including work from Gordon Young, Jan Worth-Nelson, Connor Coyne, Layla Meillier, Andrew Morton, and yours truly. You can pre-order the book here.