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Posted September 10, 2012

Tales from Bucktown: Never Leave Your Block

What makes a neighborhood a community? That’s the big question posed by Scott Jacobs, a veteran journalist, author, and an old friend of Jell. Scott lives & breathes Bucktown. It’s the neighborhood he’s called home for years, and one of Chicago’s oldest, most colorful neighborhoods — once filled with immigrants, formerly the stomping ground of Mike Royko and Nelson Algren, and now quickly gentrifying.

Never Leave Your Block is a newly published collection of essays, most originally featured on Jacobs’ Chicago-centric blog, The Week Behind. The stories stretch over a 10-year span and range from history lessons to personal anecdotes, from social commentary to meditations on amateur basketball leagues. Jacob finds inspiration on his block, the corners that border it, and the people, places, and spaces that make the little territory he calls home unique. It’s a celebration of a community in constant flux, one as fixed on its own progress as it is on its history. The stories have universal appeal: aside from its specific Chicago flavor, Bucktown could be any neighborhood in urban America — changing, growing, and evolving.

This book is all about knowing one’s home, a big departure from his last outing, The Long Slog (penned under his pseudonym, Stump Connolly) written while covering the 2008 presidential campaign trail. After we pitched in on the cover of The Long Slog, Scott approached us to do Never Leave Your Block, from cover to cover. Jell handled all the book’s design elements, including cover design, layout, typography, and chapter openers to showcase Jacobs’ photography.

It’s nice to support smart writers and literary projects with heart. We look forward to seeing which direction Jacobs’ pen goes next.