#TBT: Happy Birthday, John Waters!

John Waters at the Edinburgh International Film Festival

Filmmaker, writer and photographer John Waters turns 70 this Friday, April 22, so for this Throwback Thursday, let's take a look at his long career. Waters got his start making wild transgressive camp movies in the 1970s. Using a cast of regulars and a Baltimore setting, his black comedies featured desperate people doing outrageous things. In Pink […]

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Top Picks for Zine Fest

This zine collection was photographed and shared by Marcelline Smith on fLICKR

Maybe you thought that zines, those self-published missives that pop up at independent media stores and events, were facing extinction because of computers and blogs. A trip to Chicago Zine Fest, April 29-30, would prove to you that the community is as vibrant and strong as ever. Many authors, and especially comic artists, started out in […]

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Sandburg Award Honors Alice Walker, Erik Larson, Scott Turow

Pulitzer Prize-winning author Alice Walker and bestselling authors Erik Larson and Scott Turow 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 Larson and Turow on October 26 at The Forum on the campus of the University […]

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New Releases Honoring Charlotte Brontë

Source: Wikimedia Commons, public domain

April 21, 2016 marks the 200th anniversary of Charlotte Brontë's birth. Perhaps one of the most celebrated authors of the 19th century, students today are still reading her beloved classic Jane Eyre.  If you didn't have the pleasure of reading Jane Eyre in English class, don't fret, publishers have recently released more contemporary works inspired by […]

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Guns N’ Roses Reunion Coming to Chicago

Appetite for Destruction cover

Even if you couldn’t stomach the hefty fees for the upcoming Guns N’ Roses show July 1 at Soldier Field, you can still experience the life and times of "the most dangerous band in the world." The gritty group came from nothing, living and practicing in a storage space, forced to eat onions out of a […]

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Caught Reading: Chicago Public Library, April 2016

Source: danxoneil, Flickr

April Fools' Day, Earth Day and National Poetry Month are some of the celebrations happening in April. But did you know April 10-16 is National Library Week? National Library Week recognizes the important contributions of libraries and library staff. Celebrate with us by stopping by your neighborhood branch to check out a good book. Don’t know what to […]

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Quiz: How Well Do You Know Shakespeare?

drawing of William Shakespeare

“To be, or not to be, that is the question.”—Hamlet While Hamlet had only one question, we have 13 for you: See how well you know William Shakespeare with our quiz created by bloggers B. Bruins, Jeff, Mara, Michelle, MsCaroline, Sarah and Stephen.  

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New Novels of the Indian Diaspora


Shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize, Sanjeev Sahota's The Year of the Runaways is a fierce, political novel. Three men from India and one Sikh woman from London arrive in Sheffield, England early in this century. The men are on fraudulent visas and the woman, Narinder, is helping out one of them by being a straw wife […]

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The Real Madam Secretary: 64, 66 and 67

Extraordinary, Ordinary People

Women's History Month is a great time to look back at some of the women who have served in our federal government. In 1789, Thomas Jefferson was appointed the first Secretary of State. More than 200 years later, Madeleine Albright was appointed the 64th Secretary of State by President Bill Clinton. She was the first woman to hold the […]

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Tough Broads 3

Desert Hwy 1

Minerva Koenig's sequel to Nine Days, South of Nowhere, is out, to which I say, hooray! Julie Kalas is renovating a house while recovering from stab wounds inflicted by the woman she bought the house from when she discovers a mummified corpse in the heating chase. Must be time for a very long vacation in, say, […]

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