Say Goodbye to Hollywood: Stars, Real and Imagined

hand waving with sun in the background

You know what Lisa Jakub looks like. You saw her in Mrs. Doubtfire and Matinee. But you don't see her anymore. Her book, You Look Like That Girl, explains why she walked away from a successful Hollywood career. First, however, she describes how she got into acting as a preschooler and her adventures as a child performer. […]

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Irish Noir

New Square Lamp Dublin

If these hot summer days have you wishing for a cooler, if not less humid environment and your imagination runs to the dark side of the street, I may have a few books for you. The darkness of the Irish soul is a much-remarked-upon aspect of the national psyche, so get your black Celt on for […]

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Traveling to Novel Places: India

Varanasi Woman

Teatime for the Firefly by Shona Patel is a book at once sweeping and intimate, covering the end of the British raj. Layla Roy has an unlucky horoscope and a grandfather who believes in educating women, and so she is sure she will never marry. However, Manik Deb, a British-educated neighbor, takes a romantic interest in […]

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L.A.’s Killing Streets

Police Line 1

In the eyes of John Skaggs, a homicide detective for the Los Angeles Police Department, once a person becomes a murder victim, they are no longer a gang member or a prostitute or whatever else bad they may have had in their past, they are somebody's child, and they deserve justice. I would say that […]

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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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