Today we’re discussing an historical fantasy novel, The City Beautiful by Aden Polydoros. Set in Chicago in the late 1800s, Romanian Jewish immigrant Alter Rosen is swept up in a city-wide mystery after his bestie and crush Yakov is killed (spoiler! Sorry not sorry but if you didn’t guess it was queer then what show do you even think you’re listening to?!). There’s an anarchist side kick, some possession, and lots of chaos!
This book was suggested by the wonderful roro_suri on instagram, who always has really strong book recs. Many thanks to them and our Patrons for these book recommendations to start us off for Season 5.
Content warning for anti-semitism and sexual assault.
- Recommend if you like…
* we’ve done several episodes for this series! but you don’t have to take our word for it – go ahead and scroll thru our episodes page 🙂
- Segregation in Chicago is a massive issue, both historically and today. inform yourselves!
- “Location! Location! Location!” Code Switch episode: “When we’re talking about racial disparities and family wealth, when we’re talking about health outcomes, when we’re talking about schools closing, when we’re talking about policing, we’re really talking about where we live. And in America, we live apart, and none of that is accidental.”
- Jessie recommends A Few Red Drops: The Chicago Race Riot of 1919 by Claire Hartfield
- Mapping Chicago’s Racial Segregation (it’s an interactive map!)
- Jewish baking in your life, here is a list of 23 Jewish desserts, including recipes! (chocolate babka is #1, so Jessie would approve lol)
- There are so many words in English that come from Yiddish! From
- map of Jewish diaspora and groups worldwide
- Here is more information about possession by dybbuk, which, depending on the source, can be an “evil” or “unclean” spirit or even just an unhappy dead person (as is the case in the novel).
- Anarchism!! (k is obviously enamored). Here is some 101 content for curious minds.
- “What Is Anarchism? An introduction”
- “Life without Law: An Introduction to Anarchist Politics”
- AND in the anarchist tradition, here is a curated list of ZINES!
- Also, check out AK Press and PM Press!
- the incident at Haymarket on May 1, 1886 is why we have May Day and began as a movement for an 8 hour workday.
- The Dunning Asylum has a really harrowing history (CW: ableism)
- “To Excite the Curiosity and Gratify the Beholder” by Rana A Hogarth – re: racism and the world’s fair
- PS there’s some post credits goodness for those who stick around….
Access complete show notes on our website, thelibrarycoven.com.
We really appreciate ratings and reviews on iTunes, Google Podcasts, Spotify, or any other platforms. Help us share the magic by spreading the word about the podcast!
You can support our labor by leaving us a one-time tip on Ko-fi or purchasing books from our Bookshop! Better yet, become a monthly patron via Patreon and you can unlock a bunch of exclusive perks like access to our community of reader-listeners on Discord.
We support #LandBack. The Library Coven is recorded and produced on stolen indigenous land: Arapahoe, Cheyenne, and Ute (Kelly) and Chickasha, Kaskaskia, Kickapoo, Mascoutin, Miami, Mesquaki, Odawa, Ojibwe, Peankashaw, Peoria, Potawatomi, Sauk, and Wea (Jessie)