Members’ New Books

David Anthony Witter
Oldest Chicago, Second Edition
Reedy Press June 1, 2020
ISBN 978-1-68106-256-3
185 pages

Part of Chicago’s success owes to its ability to reconstruct itself. A sophisticated street grid replaced Indian trails. After cabins and shacks came brick mansions and the first skyscrapers. Steel mills belching fire and stockyards with their rivers of blood have given way to the clean efficiency of financial markets and corporate headquarters. But the endless rebirth has left its toll. Grand movie palaces, mom and pop stores, taverns, and ethnic family restaurants have been replaced by multiplexes, and food chains whose recipes are produced by a team of scientists in a test kitchen. Hand painted and neon signs have been replaced by glowing plastic hamburgers and tacos.

But the past has not all vanished. Oldest Chicago celebrates the survivors from famous civic monuments to neighborhood bakeries. Included are some of the businesses and buildings from the city’s inception that are examples of Chicago’s living history like The First United Methodist Church (1831); The Noble-Seymour-Crippen House (1833) and Old St. Pats Church, 1856. Many others are still run by the same family members whose dedication has made them not only enduring businesses but living landmarks. These include: Iwan Ries Tobacco (1857); The Jaeger Funeral Home (1858); Anderson’s Books (1875); Central Camera (1899); Margie’s Candies (1921); Wendella Boat Tours (1935); Hagen’s Fish Market (1946); and many others who tell the story of Chicago through the words of the men and women who run them.

Barbara Gregorich
Cookie the Cockatoo: Everything Changes
Paperback: 112 pages, $19.60
Independently Published
Softcover ISBN 979-8633708561 ($8.00)
Ebook ASIN B086Y7DS8M ($2.99)
Purchase this book online.

Today the Brookfield Zoo is home to approximately 2,300 animals. But on July 1, 1934, when the zoo first opened, it was home to only a few. Among those few was a year-old Major Mitchell’s cockatoo from Australia. The zookeepers named her Cookie. But, as the keepers discovered a year or two later, Cookie was not a female bird — so Cookie changed from a female name to a male name. And that was just the beginning.

Nobody could have predicted it way back in 1934, but Cookie would see many, many more changes. He would live in the zoo for more than eighty years, becoming the longest-lived cockatoo on record. During those decades, the world saw changes in music, science, transportation, discovery, and attitudes. Cookie the Cockatoo: Everything Changes imagines what it would be like for a small (but loud) bird to witness these profound changes.

Told in free verse vignettes, and aimed at middle-graders, ages 10+ — but enjoyed by adults as well, because adults have lived through all the changes Cookie lived through.

Dan Burns
Grace: Stories and a Novella
Hardcover $26.95; trade paperback $18.95, e-book $5.99, audiobook $19.95
Chicago Arts Press
ISBN: 978-0-9911694-5-0 (Hardcover)
ISBN: 978-0-9911694-6-7 (Trade Paperback)
ISBN: 978-0-9911694-7-4 (E-book)

“We’re all flawed and confronted daily with sometimes slight but often apparently insurmountable challenges. But if we dig deep, what we unearth from the depths of our souls, if we’re lucky, can allow us to overcome and carry on to live another day with an untortured heart.”

This is the sentiment Dan Burns explores in his exciting new collection. Five stories and a novella highlight Burns’s range as a storyteller and his ability to see life and all its emotions through a unique lens. This collection features his most personal and insightful stories to date.

The collection includes notes about the thoughts, ideas, and inspiration behind the stories, offering an exclusive behind-the-scenes perspective of the author’s writing process, along with twenty-six illustrations by artist Kelly Maryanski.

How to submit books to this page

Books are featured on this page as a service to members of the Society of Midland Authors. Members may submit books published within the last six months by emailing the following to Robert Loerzel:


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