Michael Hainey, GQ’s Deputy Editor and author of After Visiting Friends, gives us a book list worth picking up
t’s starting to feel a little cooler outside these days. So as we begin to pull out our favorite sweaters, stock our wine racks with big bottles of red and pile up bundles of firewood, let’s not forget to stack up books to enjoy on the long nights to come. To help us with that last part (though he’d probably kill it on the sweaters and wine, too), we called upon GQ Deputy Editor Michael Hainey, not only one of the most well-read guys we know but also the author of one of our favorite recent reads.
(Left) the cover of Hainey’s book features an image of his mother and late father; (right) Hainey’s mother, Barbara Coriden, joins him at the book’s release party in February 2013
Titled After Visiting Friends, Hainey’s book takes the reader inside the mysterious circumstances surrounding the death of a young newspaperman in early 1970s Chicago. It paints a portrait of a bygone era when cops and reporters drank till dawn at dive bars and did favors for one another when it came to providing and withholding information, including, perhaps, covering up the aforementioned newspaperman’s death. The book reads like a masterfully crafted pulp novel, except for one key twist: The newspaperman in question was Hainey’s father, Bob Hainey, Chicago Sun-Times assistant copy desk chief, who died when the author was just 6 years old. So it’s Michael Hainey himself, writing in the first person, who plays the tireless reporter searching for answers—sometimes against his family’s wishes—of what really happened to his father on the night he died. The journey is both intensely personal and wildly compelling. After Visiting Friends is one of those books that leaves you wanting more once you’ve put it down, so we asked Hainey to give us a list of narratives that inspired him as he crafted his story in hopes of continuing the journey with him. Flip through the slideshow above to see his picks and start your fall reading list.
- Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris; Courtesy of Getty Images
- Photo by Neilson Barnard; Courtesy of Getty Images
- After Visiting Friends courtesy of Scribner
- Boss courtesy of Plume
- Division Street: America courtesy of New Press
- A Moveable Feast courtesy of Scribner
- In Cold Blood courtesy of Vintage
- Death of a Salesman courtesy of Penguin Classics