By Dan Morgridge

Well, it’s just about time to hang the bike up and bust out the thick coats. You don’t have to cram into the morning CTA sardine can yet, but now’s as good a time as any to figure out what you’ll be reading in lieu of dodging cars on State Street. Because we’re so prepared, we’ve found a couple of books that have come out, a couple of comics that have been collected, and even a poetry collection or two to whet your word appetite. Enjoy these homemade tales of life, love, and horse-related spam-bots as a means of distracting yourself from your fellow transit-riders’ armpits!


Finn and Charlie are Hitched

by Tony Breed

Eschewing superheroes and snark for good old-fashioned interpersonal humor, this cute lil’ comic focuses on a gay couple in Chicago and their day-to-day lives. Nominated for an Ignatz award in 2011, Tony Breed’s small but touching observations are like a Chicken Soup For The Soul with some organic local chickens lemongrass, masala, and a really nice dash of Chinese Five-Spice (and minus several hundred banal platitudes).


Pictures For Sad Children Vol. 1

by John Campbell

John Campbell’s ultra-minimal artwork style could be respectfully described as “completely free of artistic pretention.” It could also be described as “black and white sketches that anyone could have done in their sleep.” Of course, that’s not true; Campbell occasionally gifts us with a slight artistic flair, but his bread and butter is in the writing itself. Featuring occasional plots and no permanent characters, Campbell’s work is rooted in nihilism, apathy, and frustration. Yet these topics are prodded gently, and with love — Campbell knows that people are funny creatures, but after reading a few, you’ll realize he knows they’re worth loving too.

(Credit: Erin Watson)

No Experiences

by Erin Watson

Erin Watson is not alone in her love of a certain Twitter spam robot that may or may not have come to life this past year. Amidst the non-sensical ramblings laid a pure beating heart of dada, and Watson decided to mine this natural resource for a chapbook of poems. Named after her favorite tweet from the non-sensical robotic russian salesman of “Horse_ebooks,” the collection contains 24 poems and should fit neatly into back pockets and purses alike.


And the Hippies Came

by Manuel Abreu Adorno
Translated by Rafael Franco-Steeves

A translated labor of love from seven Chicagoans of varying ethnic backgrounds, And The Hippies Came is the first effort of local publishers Siete Vientos. Puerto Rican author (and current Chicagoan) Rafael Franco-Steeves worked with the rest of the collective to translate Manuel Abreu Adorno’s 1978 short story collection, previously unavailable in the States. The stories veer wildly within a general motif of a time and place: stream-of-thought character pieces, remembrances of sports heroes, johns bargaining with prostitutes and much more. The book also flips to contain the original text — perfect for understanding translation choices (or just refreshing your spanish knowledge).


Austerity Pleasures

by James Payne

A collection of poems that eschew meter, rhythm, and generally anything else that would differentiate them from short reminiscences, Austerity Pleasures will be best enjoyed if thought of as such. In singular doses, certain poems can feel like nothing more than a livejournal post — others, a catchy t-shirt. But collectively, Payne’s words add up to a whole picture, perhaps fragmented, perhaps banal, but ultimately a true lens by which a certain demographic currently views the world (one that might be harder to recreate in years ahead than we know).

Dan Morgridge thinks books smell like vanilla and kindles smell like tires — choose wisely.