Falling Fruit

Map: Falling Fruit

I like food, food tastes good!

-The Descendents

Everyone loves food. Free food is even better. Local, fresh, and free is best. That’s why I was excited when I stumbled on this fantastic website, Falling Fruit , with the goal of “mapping the urban harvest!” Using the map, you can find trees that offer bounties such as berries and other fruits.

The Falling Fruit website takes data from municipal tree inventories and other foraging maps and migrates the data to an open source map. Anyone is free to add foraging locations. Oak Park is sufficiently mapped. You can search by location, or filter results to what type of fruit or plant you’re looking for. You’ll even find some Hackberry right in front of the library.

The Falling Fruit organizers point to Urban Edibles for the ethics of picking fruit that might be on someone’s property. Basically, always ask before picking.

As it is important to not die from eating misidentified harvests, here are some good books for the novice forager:






If you’re interested in a little more information, NPR has a story about Falling Fruit.

Have you met Curbside Splendor?: An Introduction + Giveaway

There are plenty of great players in the Chicago lit scene, but Curbside Splendor Publishing continues to rise to the top of our “must watch” list. Not only are they putting out quality books by exciting authors (both up-and-coming and here-and-now), but they know how to have a good time. That is to say, they throw a lot of parties with a literary twist.

We first met the team at Chicago’s very styling Beauty Bar where they were hosting a soiree for library nerds just like us. Quite literally. The occasion was an after-party for June’s ginormous American Library Association conference. Two hours of free cocktails were on the table, as were $5 manicures. The soundtrack was provided by Curbside’s very own author/DJs, including Mr. Chris Terry – the man behind this month’s giveaway! [Keep reading for details. You'll get there]

When they’re not wining – or cocktailing – librarians from around the globe, Curbside are keeping Chicago’s literary community social. Their roster of regular events is mega impressive. First on our radar was Karaoke Idol, pitting non-profit orgs against each other for the door money…and glory…and of course fun. They’ve also hosted three editions of Salon Splendor at Madame ZuZu’s, better known as Billy Corgan’s northshore tea house, and WORDS + MUSIC, which welcomes four authors – Samantha Irby, Chris Terry (him again!), Joseph Bates, and Daniela Olszewska – to its fourth edition at Empty Bottle tonight. Insert amazing event poster here…

Clearly you’ve been swayed by now and want to follow the Curbside action on Facebook or Twitter. And if that’s not enough, then we’ve got a chance for you to get your hands on a very special, autographed copy of one of Curbside’s newest babies. Zero Fade, by the aforementioned Chris L. Terry, “chronicles eight days in the life of inner-city Richmond, Virginia teen Kevin Phifer as he deals with wack haircuts, bullies, last-year fly gear, his uncle Paul coming out as gay, and being grounded.” Illustrated by Ezra Clayton Daniels, and lovingly reviewed by Kirkus, among others, this pocket-sized piece of Chicago literature can be yours. Just comment with your favorite karaoke jam by Tuesday, Sept. 10 for a chance to win.

Thanks to Jacob at Curbside and Chris Terry for sharing with our readers.

False Starts and Free Books

I’ve started writing this post about six times so far today. I’ve also made two tiny paper airplanes, answered three email reference questions, and eaten a very large cookie while sitting on the floor. Abandoning hope of creating a coherent post, I’m going straight to the good stuff.

It’s time for our first blog giveaway! Thanks to Adam at McSweeney’s, we have a beautiful new copy of Between Heaven and Here by Susan Straight to share.

Despite the shiny cover art, Straight’s work isn’t all palm trees and paradise. The title comes from The Wire, when Bubbles says “There’s a thin line between heaven and here,” and we all know any time The Wire is involved, it’s not going to be pretty.

To enter, leave a comment with the title of a book you’re currently reading by Friday, May 17th at 5:00 PM. A winner will be randomly selected from the entries and notified by email.

April Wrap Up

While not all of genre X shares my unrequited love for Nate Silver (see seriously smoldering, above), many at this month’s discussion enjoyed his book. Although there were some notable exceptions:

“I felt like my brain fell out of my butt.”


“I can’t read it on the train, because I can’t concentrate. I can’t read it at home, because I’ll fall asleep.”

most of us appreciated the broad scope of the work, noting that there was a chapter for everyone. Read more