Chicago Grit

Noir Bean

If you like noir and novels about Chicago, there's a new favorite out for you. The Governor's Wife by Michael Harvey is the latest in the Michael Kelly series, which starts with The Chicago Way. Harvey's books are atmospheric, and pretty much all the places he mentions actually exist, or have existed. Harvey's specialty is conspiracies, but they all seem […]

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DIY: 4 Resources for Readers

Computer and Books 1

Need help finding the next good book to read? Long line at the reference desk? Library closed? Chicago Public Library has resources for readers young and old, readers of both fiction and nonfiction. NoveList is my go-to resource for adult and young adult fiction. In addition to reviews, it provides links to readalikes for the most popular bestsellers […]

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I Love You, Son….5 Books About Aging Parents

Pink Rose

Bob Morris first wrote a book about his father, Assisted Loving, in which he chaperones his dad on dates after Bob's mother dies. The inherent awkwardness of being the wingman to a retired traffic court judge who loves bawdy jokes and bridge and happens to be your parent produces mirth, but being wary of commitment and aware that […]

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Adventure! 4 Books About Books

Book and Reader

Matthew Pearl has a new book out: The Last Bookaneer. Ostensibly an adventure tale about the last novel of Robert Louis Stevenson and set mostly in the South Pacific of the late 19th century, it is also about books both as artifacts and conveyors of ideas. A bookaneer, by the way, is someone willing to do shady […]

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5 Books to Read After You Read “Reading Lolita in Tehran”

Iranian women 1a

While Azar Nafisi's Reading Lolita in Tehran has become a modern classic in its own right, there are plenty of other books detailing the lives of women in revolutionary Iran. For those not familiar with Nafisi's story, she was an English professor in Tehran who held private, secret seminars for a selected group of students on […]

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4 New Books Featuring Chicago

Cloud gate

I've discovered four new books that have either come out in May or will come out in May that feature Chicago prominently. One is nonfiction, but the others are flights of imagination. You do not want to miss any of them. Aleksandar Hemon has written his first comedic novel: The Making of Zombie Wars. Joshua seems […]

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What To Read After Missoula

Take Back The Night

Jon Krakauer is a master of writing about people in extreme situations, whether they go out into the wilderness in Into the Wild or follow Mormon fundamentalism in Under the Banner of Heaven, so it makes sense that he writes about sexual assault in a college town crazy for football. Missoula is home to the University of Montana Grizzlies, a […]

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70 Years Later: V-E Day

V-E Day

May 8 is the 70th anniversary of Victory in Europe Day, when the Germans surrendered to the Allies, ending World War II in Europe. Not many veterans are still around to celebrate, but it is still important. Here are some titles that help us remember. The Day the War Ended by Martin Gilbert follows the last […]

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Growing up Black and Female

school girls

On the occasion of the publication of Disgruntled by Asali Solomon, I want to make you aware of some other books about growing up as an African-American girl. Set in different time periods, there are certain themes that carry through. Responsibility, otherness, friendship, and family are all explored. In Solomon's Disgruntled, Kenya is an outsider everywhere from […]

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How To Live Forever (Or Maybe Not)

Old People 1

Bill Gifford loves his dog. He'd like her to live a little longer. Gifford would like to live longer, too. This is the impetus for the lively Spring Chicken: Stay Young Forever (Or Die Trying). Going forward in history as well as efficacy, Gifford talks about all the ways humanity has tried to beat nature and the […]

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