For Your Health: Mental Health Awareness Month Reads

May is Mental Health Awareness Month. Whether or not mental health issues have personally affected you, it is important to understand them and gain empathy through other perspectives. Here are some teen books that shed some light on a complex issue. Get Well Soon Depressed, overweight Anna Bloom's parents commit her to a teen psychiatric […]

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Soundtrack for the Puerto Rican Day Parade

Chicago PR Flag

For me, June means beautiful weather, weddings and the Puerto Rican Day Parade. Since 1981, this ethnic parade celebrates the culture of the Puerto Rican diaspora that chose Chicago as their home, my family included. Nowadays the parade marches down Paseo Boricua, which is located on Division Street between the huge steel flags on Western Avenue and […]

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Seven Magpies

anjelica huston

I have had a girlcrush on Anjelica Huston since I saw her in Addams Family and Addams Family Values when I was a teenager. I wanted to look like Morticia, say witty things like her, and generally subvert the dominant paradigm like her. I have matured somewhat, but I still think Ms. Huston is one of the best actresses […]

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Stone Butch Blues: The Writings of Leslie Feinberg

Leslie Feinberg portrait

"More exists among human beings than can be answered by the simplistic question I'm hit with every day of my life: 'Are you a man or a woman?'" —Trans Liberation: Beyond Pink or Blue In 1993, Leslie Feinberg wrote what is considered to be one of the best books ever written about the complex life of a […]

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How Does Your Garden Grow?

homegrown tomatoes, hot peppers and zucchini

Are you a veteran vegetable gardener? Do you spend hundreds of dollars each spring on flats of flowers? Or are you a rookie simply trying your hand at a couple tomato plants in the backyard and still trying to remember the difference between an annual and perennial? Whether you need some tips on how to get […]

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Real life Indiana Joneses with a side of Harrison Ford

Panoramic of Machu Picchu

We are coming to the 25th anniversary of the release of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, my absolute favorite in the Indiana Jones franchise. For those who are unfamiliar the library has all four films, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, and Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of […]

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Technology that Changed Chicago: Subdivisions

Two maps

The Federal Government sold and gave away land in farm-sized lots as discussed in the previous post on the Public Land Survey.  However a city requires a dense street grid and relatively small lots suitable for building individual residences and businesses. The process of dividing up the raw acreage into building lots and laying out […]

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Music To Run By

As someone who can't bring themselves to run unless a zombie from World War Z is chasing, I obviously need a little motivation. Like many of my fellow joggers on the lakefront, I like to plug in the earbuds and drift into my own personalized music video. Fortunately the library has thousands of CDs and downloadable music  available. It's a […]

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Biking for Kids

kids bikes on a trail

Do you remember the thrill you got when first learning to ride your bike? One of the thrills of riding a bike is the freedom you experience. Now that the weather is finally starting to cooperate here in Chicago, cyclists are making their way through the city. As May is National Bike Month, this is the perfect time to dust off your bike […]

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I Writes Batter Then Yoo: Books to Improve Your English

Finnegans Wake, p.1

As any good narcissist will tell you, without a proper command of language, it's extremely difficult to prove how much better you are than everybody else. All it takes is one misspelling, one poor pronunciation or even just one dull sentence, and within a matter of seconds, you're an average schlub again, waiting in line […]

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