Knitted Toys: Stretch Your Imagination

knitted octopus

Toys are fun for everyone, no matter their age. Knitted toys are like that, too—they're interesting for every knitter, no matter their skill level. Check out these books for patterns that inspire your imagination, amuse (and amaze) your friends and help you learn new techniques. Chicagoan Anna Hrachovec combines her whimsical knitted characters with fantastical tales in her new book, Adventures in Mochi-Mochi Land. The sweet stories of […]

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Catching Up on High School Summer Reading

Books piled on bookshelf

Maybe memories of high school aren't too far in your distant past, or maybe your son or daughter is enjoying the remaining days of summer before high school starts, or maybe you know a high schooler who is dreading their assigned summer reading. Or, more realistically, you're like me and blew off those high school summer reading assignments until just […]

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Graphic Novels to Read If You Can’t Get Away This Summer

Source: kodomut, Flickr

If I could spend the entire year traveling, I would. But like most people, I can't afford it. So I take pleasure in reading leisurely paced graphic novels that take me on virtual adventures. They are not packed with lots of information like travel guides and don't demand a lot of commitment like a novel. […]

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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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Writers & Friends

row of mailboxes

The UN has designated July 30 the International Day of Friendship. We thought we'd celebrate the idea by taking a look at famous authors who were friends. Truman Capote and Harper Lee It's a well-known relationship and one that is worth mentioning first because it started the earlier than any other on the list. Truman Capote and […]

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Remembering E.L. Doctorow

Ragtime book cover

Today the world mourns the loss of Edgar Lawrence Doctorow, a literary legend and virtuoso of the historical fiction genre. Known for blending fact with brilliantly realized fiction, Doctorow was one of modern literature's most experimental minds, capable of writing from nearly any voice or perspective. Here we remember this amazing talent, and share his work […]

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Living and Loving with Annotations


Nothing sets a man's heart aflame quite like some glorious footnotes. First you're reading something and learning stuff, and then you see a number and you go to the bottom of the page and you learn more stuff, and sometimes the footnote takes you to another book, which has more stuff, and maybe more footnotes, […]

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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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Other Stanleys!


So now that the Chicago Blackhawks have won the Stanley Cup AGAIN, what else is there to do besides watch hockey? Well, you can download the Cup Tracker on your mobile device and follow the whereabouts of the holy grail of hockey. This may seem extreme, but it's actually pretty fun—kind of like being a […]

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U.S. Patent and Trademark Office at 225

U.S. Patent and Trademark Office

On April 10, 1790, President George Washington signed the U.S. Patent Act into law, and on July 31 of that year, 225 years ago, the U.S. Patent Office officially opened. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) grants inventors exclusive rights to new inventions for a finite period—usually 20 years—in return for revealing details of […]

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