One Book, One Chicago Spring 2004
As Mayor and on behalf of the City of Chicago, I invite you to participate in the sixth One Book, One Chicago program presented by the Chicago Public Library. One Book, One Chicago encourages all Chicagoans to read the same book at the same time to create a citywide book club. This spring, we have selected The Coast of Chicago by Stuart Dybek. One Book, One Chicago will culminate during National Library Week, April 18–24, 2004, with a free public program by the author at the Harold Washington Library Center.
Born and raised in Chicago, Stuart Dybek has earned a place in the great tradition of Chicago fiction writers. His work is as rich and textured as the city itself. In The Coast of Chicago, his intense stories unfold in the ethnic working-class neighborhoods of Chicago and chronicle the beauty and mystery of everyday experience.
You can find a copy of The Coast of Chicago at your neighborhood Chicago Public Library or local bookstore. Please join one of the many book discussions planned for libraries, bookstores and coffeeshops in April. Whether you read and discuss this book with friends or attend one of the special events, I am sure you will find the experience enriching and thought-provoking.
Thank you for participating in One Book, One Chicago.
Richard M. Daley, Mayor
City of Chicago
Photo © Bob Coscarelli
I can’t imagine anything more gratifying for a writer than to have his book selected to be read in the schools and libraries of his hometown. THE COAST OF CHICAGO is, in part, a love letter to the city in which I was born and raised, and having it chosen for One Book, One Chicago makes it possible for that letter to be delivered to a wonderfully diverse audience, one that shares a sense of place. Place is, of course, more than real estate or landscape, more than Loop skyscrapers, the lake, and its tributaries of river and streets. Place is also community, or maybe that should be plural—communities—the wards, neighborhoods and parishes with their various ethnic groups; place is flesh and spirit—it’s those who live here now, those who came before and those yet to come. Place is history and stories. Stories are as elemental to it as steel, concrete and the earth of hidden backyards. Growing up, I took the stories my friends and family told for granted. Only later, when I began to write, did I realize those stories were gifts, authentic records of lives that couldn’t be preserved in any way truer than through stories. My hope is that in reading my stories set in Chicago, others will recognize the value of their own stories and sense the deep connection with the place from which those stories spring.