Fun with Superman

Superman book cover

This year's One Book, One Chicago selection, The Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, features two ambitious young men creating their own superhero in the late 1930s. Their creation owes a great debt to Superman, and in the same way that author Michael Chabon tips his hat to America's most iconic comic book creation, other writers […]

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They’re All Lying to You

They're All Lying to You

Maybe you're the type who trusts in the basic goodness and honesty of your fellow man, who can calmly walk through life, confident in the truth of what average people and organizations have to say for themselves. As far as I'm concerned, that makes you a sap. They're all lying to you. Books told me […]

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I Like Sports?

I Like Sports

I'm a Bears fan, born and raised. I don't have a choice in the matter. When I was a kid, my family had season tickets that were about as high up in Soldier Field as you could go, and I like to think I still follow the sport. But then again, I'm not much into […]

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Say You Want a Revolution

Say You Want a Revolution

A little rebellion now and then can be good for one's constitution. Maybe one day you'll find yourself mad about something or other, and you'll want to take your fight to the Man. Before you do, remember that other people have tried it before, and there are plenty of lessons to learn. Thomas Paine and the […]

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Literary Criticism is Not Boring!

Literary Criticism is Not Boring

Okay, so literary criticism is boring. If you're not into classic, historic or highfalutin literature, you really don't care what makes something classic, historic or highfalutin. But give it a chance . . . When you find a critic who can actually write, you stumble across a whole new landscape of writers and their words. […]

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That Guy Knows Everything

That Guy Knows Everything

Did you ever wonder what it's like to know everything? Or at least to know enough to fake it? There are a few books out there which give you a glimpse of the world of ultimate knowledge. In The Grand Design, Stephen Hawking has apparently grown so smart he can claim on the first page […]

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How to Pretend to Be Real

Pretend That You're Real

Did you ever want to pretend you existed in a different time and place? Honestly, I haven't, which is why I'm interested in reading about people who are. There are a great many people out there who love putting on costumes and living anywhere else but here and now. All Shall Be Well; and All […]

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The Private Lives of Pundits

The Private Lives of Pundits

What is it like to live your life convincing people that your petty opinions are worth something? Luckily for us, it's easy to find out, because pundits love talking about themselves. There are a bunch of memoirs out there about what they do and how they think. One fun exercise is to read Bill O'Reilly's […]

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Modern Art

Modern Art

I don't get art. I'm not even sure that I know what I like, which is all the more reason for me to mess around with art books and see if I can learn something. The Success and Failure of Picasso had a bit of controversy when it came out, probably because it suggested that the […]

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It’s Electric

Electric

If you're bothering to read this, you're reading it on a computer, and if you're using a computer, you probably take electricity for granted. Unless you've come across some faulty wiring or jammed a fork into a live toaster, you probably need to be reminded how terrifying electricity can be. For centuries, it has been […]

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