From MLK to Stalin: Mayoral rivals’ summer reading lists are heavy on history

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Mayor Rahm Emanuel reads “Llama Llama Red Pajama” to students at Erie Family Health Center in 2015. | Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times

Book ’em!

Sneed got a chuckle out of Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s voluminous list of heavy books he plans to read this summer.

The list includes a history of the U.S. Supreme Court’s early years; a treatise on desegregation; famine in the Ukraine during Stalin’s reign; and a novel about mob-infested Chicago in the 1920s.

So, in the interest of fairness, Sneed rang up Emanuel’s mayoral opponents and got a response from Paul Vallas, Garry McCarthy and Lori Lightfoot to find out what was on their summer reading lists.

It was kind of hilarious. Far out.

And certainly tongue-in-cheek for McCarthy, Chicago’s previous top cop, who claims he has decided to re-read the best-seller “The Devil in the White City,” by author Erik Larson about murder and mayhem at the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair.


“It’s about somebody who comes to Chicago and gets people killed and covers it up,” said McCarthy in an obvious reference to Chicago’s high homicide stats.

“I’m referring to the course of his [Emanuel’s] politics,” he added.


Mayoral challenger Lightfoot is tackling the book “Tangled Webs,” by James Stewart, about our era’s most high-profiled perjurers.

“And next in line in the queue is “Redemption: Martin Luther King Jr.’s Last 31 Hours,” by Joseph Rosenbloom, she said.

“But I’m a voracious reader of magazines,” Lightfoot added.

Finally, mayor hopeful Vallas tells Sneed he has decided to include re-reading the Old Testament 1 Samuel 17 about the battle of David and Goliath.

“I am David in that story,” chirped Vallas.

“And given my decision to run for mayor the old standbys are most appropriate,” he said, like “Common Sense” by Thomas Paine; “The Power of Positive Thinking” by Norman Vincent Peale; and ”The Old Man and the Sea,” by Ernest Hemingway.

“I am the old man in that story,” Vallas said.

Pass the bookmarks!

Markle sparkle . . .

How clever: The strategic planning before last weekend’s royal wedding of Prince Harry of England and American Meghan Markle, his beautiful, biracial wife.

• Translation: The royal couple were given the title of Duke and Duchess of Sussex, which is being described as a name taken from the son of King George III, Prince Augustus Frederick — an antislavery advocate.

Brilliant, as the Brits say.

Game over!

It was a crosstown clash recently at Wrigley Field.

North versus South.

Except this time da Cubs and da Sox weren’t dueling it out for bragging rights.

• Batter up! On Friday, the baseball teams of Lake View High School and Gwendolyn Brooks College Preparatory Academy faced off for the Chicago Public Schools Championship Baseball title.

• The pitch: Ald. Anthony Beale (9th), the Far South Side academy’s baseball coach, promised 44th Ward Ald. Tom Tunney, who reps Lake View, he’d cough up his ward’s famous donuts if his team lost.

• End shot: That’s why Beale and Tunney were munching iconic Roseland Old Fashioned Donuts — and not the North Side’s famous Ann Sather cinnamon buns — at the City Council meeting Wednesday.

Pardon meme . . .

In case you haven’t caught up with social media’s recent obsession with memes and hashtags, here’s one of the latest: #freemelania.

Or is it “Melanie,” the name President Donald Trump affixed to his wife during a recent tweet.

Text. Tweet. Meme. Shoot me.

Sneedlings . . .

Get-well wishes to U.S. Marine Corps hero Patrick Donovan, who was twice awarded the Navy Cross for regularly bringing his helicopter in under heavy fire to evacuate wounded Marines during the Vietnam War. . . . Congrats to North Shore landscape contractor Tom Scopelliti on being elected president of the Highwood Historical Society. (The village is celebrating its 150th anniversary). . . . I spy: Cubs 2016 World Series MVP Ben Zobrist and family spotted dining at Petterino’s last week before catching the Wizard of Oz at the Chicago Theatre. . . . Rock star John Oates dining at RPM Italian recently . . . Ditto for former Michigan State basketball player Miles Bridges. . . . Billy Corgan of Smashing Pumpkins fame at RPM Steak last week. . . . Vanderpump Rules star James Kennedy recently a Three Dots and a Dash. . . Today’s birthdays: Mark Ballas, 32; Tommy Chong, 80; and Tracy McGrady, 39.

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