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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Can’t We Talk About Something More Graphic? Memoirs With Pictures


Roz Chast's Can't We Talk About Something More Pleasant? is her memoir of caring for her ailing parents, who in general do not think death will occur if it isn't talked about. Chast, a cartoonist for the New Yorker, combines text with graphics to tell the story of her parents' decline and its effect on her, their anxious, […]

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Last Voyage of the Lusitania: Dead Wake Readalikes

Lusitania 1

Erik Larson is best known in these parts for The Devil in the White City, about H.H. Holmes, one of America's first known serial killers and the World's Fair of 1893, held here in Chicago. In Dead Wake, Larson addresses the sinking of the Lusitania, a key factor in America's entry into World War I. […]

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Growing Up With Asperger’s and Autism

eyes shut 2

April is Autism and Asperger's Syndrome Awareness Month. There are plenty of books about what to do if a loved one is diagnosed on the Autism spectrum, but I am going to focus in this post about the personal experiences of those effected. John Elder Robison is the elder brother of Augusten Burroughs, of Running With […]

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Women’s History Through Novels: Michelle Moran


Michelle Moran writes riveting novels about history from a woman's point of view. These novels are both extensively researched and richly imagined, leading to deeply atmospheric tales. The physical description is also a treat. While there is no question that Moran's heroines operate in a man's world, they more than measure up to those who would destroy […]

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Crimes in Israel

Tel Aviv 1

Liad Shoham's latest book has been translated into English, for which the lovers of noir may be grateful. Asylum City could also be considered a mystery and a delightful one. A passionate volunteer for African refugees in Israel is murdered, and the pressure is on young Inspector Anat Nachmias to wrap it up quickly. Problem is, […]

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