Finding the Most Famous Shipwreck in History: The Titanic

Source:  U.S. NARA, Wikimedia Commons

She was said to be the largest movable man-made object on earth. So luxurious and so magnificently designed and built that even God couldn't sink her. Nothing like her had ever been seen before. She left Southampton for New York on her maiden voyage on April 10, 1912. But when the Titanic hit an iceberg […]

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David Foster Wallace: The End of the Tour

David Foster Wallace

Perhaps the excellent new film The End of the Tour has you excited about David Foster Wallace or wondering about other tragic authors who met an untimely end. Here are a few avenues for you to explore. You could always check out out the source material for the film: reporter David Lipsky's Although of Course You End Up […]

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We Sing the Body Electric: Ray Bradbury’s Birth Anniversary

Stack of Ray Bradbury's books

This year marks the 95th anniversary of Ray Bradbury's birth. While Bradbury grew up in Waukegan, his stories and novels took us far beyond his normal, Midwestern upbringing. As Ray Bradbury's biographer, Sam Weller was able to learn much about the author's life, as well as the inspiration for his books. This unprecedented access to Bradbury's life makes […]

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Caught Reading: Brown Line, August 2015

Harold Washington Library Brown Line stop

Watch out Brown Line riders, I caught you reading this month! Your tastes run the gamut from fiction to memoirs to self-help, and they all look fascinating. So just what are you reading? In the follow-up to The Time Traveler's Wife, Chicagoan Audrey Niffenegger's Her Fearful Symmetry spins a ghostly tale about the mysteries of life, death and love. Just before shipping off […]

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I Have Money. Take My Money.

I Have Money Take My Money

People are stupid. Yes, you are. So am I. When you get a bunch of stupid people rushing together in crowds to make major financial decisions, the results are hilarious and awful and everything in between. The classic example is Tulipomania. In the backrooms of Dutch taverns in the 1630s, amateur speculators knocked back a few […]

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H.P. Lovecraft at 125: Cthulhu Lives

Source: viviannedraper, Flickr

A sickly child, a reclusive adult and a writer of weird, dime-store fiction. All of these are descriptions of H.P. Lovecraft, one of the most influential writers of the 20th century whose work shapes horror, science fiction and dark, literary fiction to this day. August 20 marks the 125th anniversary of his birth. Let's take a […]

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Travel to Novel Places: Colonial Kenya

Rift Valley 4

Paula McLain, author of The Paris Wife, has a new novel: Circling the Sun.  It focuses on the early life of Beryl Markham, a horse trainer and one of the first female commercial pilots. Coming to what would become Kenya at a young age and abandoned by her mother, Beryl grows up wild on her father's […]

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#TBT: The World Wide Web Goes Live!

Robert Cailliau and the neXT server at CERN

In early August 1991, the first webpage was served up from a neXT computer in a lab at the European Organization for Nuclear Research - CERN, and computer scientist Tim Berners-Lee's World Wide Web project had begun. A lot has changed since then, so for this Throwback Thursday, read more about the birth of the Internet […]

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Hurricane Katrina & Other Natural Disasters

Hurricane Katrina

August 29 marks the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, the deadly storm that overwhelmed the levees of New Orleans, killing over 1,800 people and leaving $108 billion in property damage in its wake. Since that day, the city of New Orleans is synonymous with Hurricane Katrina. It is, of course, known for its incredible food like beignets at […]

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55th Anniversary of the Pill

Source: doug88888, Flickr

On May 9, 1960, the FDA announced its approval of the contraceptive pill. Soon after, the first birth control pill, Enovid, released by G.D. Searle, hit the market in the United States.‪ The Birth of the Pill by Jonathan Eig traces the fascinating history of its development. The genesis involved tireless efforts by feminist Margaret Sanger, the wealthy Katherine McCormick, Dr. Frankenstein-like […]

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