The Creeping Influence of John Carpenter

The Thing DVD cover

Nostalgia is a major force in pop culture, and when it comes to movies and music these days, the 1980s loom large. The movies of directors like Steven Spielberg and John Hughes have received a lot of attention (JJ Abrams's use of lens flare as homage to Spielberg has practically worn out the Internet with commentary.), […]

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World Cup Victory for U.S. Women’s Team

Bend It Like Beckham DVD cover

As you probably know by now, the U.S. women's national soccer team won this year's World Cup, and there will be celebrations across the nation, including a ticker tape parade in New York. And the Chicago Red Stars will be welcoming back four teammates who played for the U.S. team. (The victory has been a welcome diversion […]

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5 Articles About Songs

Hands playing a guitar. No face visible.

Let's take a look at a range of recent articles on that humble but profoundly powerful art form, the song. While most songs only last a few minutes in performance, some of them have long and interesting histories. You can read these articles using CPL's Online Resources, but I've also noted if an article is available freely on the web. "'Blurred […]

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Anything but Standard

This season there are an unusual number of albums from major artists covering classics rather than new songs. These songs cover the gamut from 1930s show tunes to 1960s pop, but the overall vibe is nice and easy. Cheek to Cheek by Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga. They're one of the more unexpected pairings in recent memory, but […]

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#TBT: Jurassic Park and Blockbusters of 1993

With the new movie Jurassic World opening on screens this weekend, we're naturally thinking about the first movie in that series, Jurassic Park, the #1 movie at the American box office in 1993. Steven Spielberg's game-changing special effects, combined with a crackling adventure plot (the film was based on a bestselling novel by Michael Crichton), was a […]

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More Great Reads for Fans of Wolf Hall

Painting of Thomas Cromwell

Wolf Hall is everywhere lately, with adaptations of Hillary Mantel's prize-winning novels about Thomas Cromwell (Wolf Hall and Bring up the Bodies) on both PBS and Broadway. The third novel in the trilogy (reportedly to be titled The Mirror and the Light) has not yet been published, but fans of these addictive tales of court intrigue set during the reign of […]

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Sandburg Award Honors Stephen Sondheim

Stephen Sondheim

Legendary composer and lyricist Stephen Sondheim will receive this year's Carl Sandburg Literary Award from the Chicago Public Library Foundation and the Chicago Public Library. The Carl Sandburg Literary Awards Dinner will feature Sondheim in conversation with NPR's Scott Simon on October 21 at The Forum on the campus of the University of Illinois at […]

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Most Popular Books of 2014


The numbers are in, and we're ready to unveil the most popular books at the library in 2014. The rankings are based on a combination of checkouts and hold requests, and one thing is clear: reading is popular with adults, teens and kids alike. Chicago author Gillian Flynn tops the most popular adult fiction list for a […]

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Booker Prize and National Book Award Shortlists

The Narrow Road to the Deep North book cover

Yesterday, Australian author Richard Flanagan has won the 2014 Booker Prize for his book The Narrow Road to the Deep North, a book about a POW experience during World War II. It deals with work on the Thai-Burma railway (the Death Railway) made famous by the movie The Bridge on the River Kwai. This was the […]

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Patrick Modiano Wins the Nobel Prize in Literature

Missing Person book cover

Patrick Modiano has won the 2014 Nobel Prize for Literature for his lifetime body of work. A French writer, he was relatively unknown outside of France until now. Many of his books are about the French experience during World War II, and he co-wrote a screenplay for Louis Malle's classic movie Lacombe Lucien about a troubled teenage boy during […]

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