Neil Patrick Harris: The Life You Choose

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Neil Patrick Harris has never had a public meltdown, feuded with his family, nor gone to rehab (nor needed to). So what could he possibly do to spice up what on the surface would seem to be a dull autobiography? Well, there's the books he liked as a child, the Choose Your Own Adventure series. In […]

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Writers in Restaurants

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When you eat at a restaurant, you may schmooze the maître d' or flirt with the server, but do you give any thought to how your order actually gets to you? These three books (including one by the server you flirted with) may open your eyes. Chop Chop is a novel by Simon Wroe, who no doubt drew […]

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Moran More

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Caitlin Moran made a splash two years ago with her book of essays, How to Be A Woman. While better known in England than here in the States, her body of work so far will hopefully rectify that. How to Be a Woman goes roughly in chronological order, from Moran's burgeoning adolescence in Wolverhampton to contemplating her mortality […]

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His and Hers

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According to Jonathan Eig, there are four people primarily responsible for the birth control pill: incendiary feminist Margaret Sanger, iconoclast medical researcher Gregory "Goody" Pincus, devoted philanthropist Katherine McCormick, and Catholic OB/GYN John Rock. Eig weaves their stories together in The Birth of the Pill. Pincus runs his medical institute on a wing and a prayer, […]

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Tough Broads II

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As winter closes in at the time of this writing, I highly recommend Nevada Barr and her Anna Pigeon mysteries for some gritty armchair adventure. Anna Pigeon is a National Park Services employee (she advances through the ranks as the series progresses) who tends to stumble on suspicious deaths in the great outdoors. Barr is a master of […]

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Adult Angst In Suburbia

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After being forcibly retired from his advertising job, Wallace Webster spends his days and nights puttering around his Texas Gulf Coast housing development, Forgetful Bay. Odd things happen, such as a woman dancing in her slip in a driveway not her own and some mysterious deaths. However, these occurrences seem more like a backdrop to the low-key […]

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Coming of Age in Recent Fiction

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Danny Kelly has one dream: to win Olympic gold in swimming. Everything he and his family do is towards that goal. He endures the taunts of his teammates at his snobby prep school where he is a scholarship student because he knows he is the strongest, the fastest, the best. However, when Danny's dream is taken from […]

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The Good Thief’s Guide to Mysteries

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Chris Ewan is the author of a series of witty, deftly plotted mysteries all set in different cities, mostly in Europe. The reason his protagonist, the charming Brit Charlie Howard, keeps on the move is because in addition to being a minor novelist, he is primarily a cat burglar and knows better than to stay too […]

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“It’s About This Nurse…” Favorite Stories Retold

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It sometimes happens when I go to the theater, or the movies, or read a book, that I find the minor characters more interesting than the people the story is supposed to be about. This often means that I am paying more attention to the servants or the villain than the young lovers or other main characters, […]

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Poets Forche and May at CPL for Poetry Day

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Poets Carolyn Forché and Jamaal May will be at Harold Washington Library Center for Poetry Day on Thursday, October 16. Given their contrasting styles, it should make for a stimulating, even revelatory evening. Both poets were both born in Michigan, with May staying in the Detroit area and Forché trotting the globe before settling near Washington, D.C.  While Forché […]

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