Just Like Baba Used to Make!

Pierogi on a plate

We're celebrating Polish American Heritage Month during the month of October. Did you know that Polish is the third most spoken language in Chicago? Yup, Chicago is home to about 185,000 Polish language speakers and many more that have Polish ancestry. Chicago also offers a wealth of authentic Polish restaurants—many can be found in neighborhoods on Chicago's […]

Read More

Funny in Translation: From Farsi to French

translations

It’s really neat when you discover words and phrases you thought unique to your language end up in other cultures.  Like the phrase "to walk on eggshells" (to be careful not to offend someone) has a close cousin in French—"marcher sur des œufs.” But not everything we say in one language translates perfectly into another […]

Read More

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 […]

Read More

Celebrating the Life of Truman Capote

Truman Capote sitting in chair

On September 30, we celebrate the 90th anniversary of the birth of Truman Streckfus Persons, better known to millions of readers as Truman Capote. Capote was the author of many unique short stories, novels, plays and movie scripts that are still read and loved today. He was without a doubt a superb writer and a charismatic personality, and these […]

Read More

Tough Broads

tough broads 1

It is with great pleasure that I welcome a new author to the mystery genre: Minerva Koenig. In Nine Days, she creates truly memorable characters and a quick-turn-that-page story. Julia Kalas is staring down forty and is not a completely socially acceptable dress size. An expert house renovator and remodeler, she is now in the federal witness protection […]

Read More

David Bowie Is Opens at Museum of Contemporary Art

David Bowie posters on a subway station wall

David Bowie.  Where to even start?  A good friend of mine suggested I start with rampant adulation, as that is what such a great artist deserves. He's a creative chameleon who's gone from glam to funk to all-out rock. On Tuesday, September 23, the exhibit David Bowie Is opens at the Museum of Contemporary Art. […]

Read More

National Book Award Longlists 2014

Station Eleven book cover

The National Book Foundation, which has presented the National Book Awards since 1950, has  announced its 10-title longlists of nominees for its awards for Fiction, Nonfiction, Poetry and Young People's Literature. These lists are an excellent resource for readers on the lookout for something good to read. The Fiction list includes some new and forthcoming […]

Read More

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 […]

Read More

MacArthur Genius Grants

Book cover, Fun Home

The annual MacArthur fellows have been announced, and as usual, reading about the winners is inspiring and even intimidating (statistical analyses? cryptography? nanomaterials?). Also, as usual, several of the winners have written books and several have ties to Chicago. Congratulations to University of Chicago historian Tara Zahra, author of The Lost Children, whose work (as described by the Tribune) […]

Read More

Simon Brett Mysteries

Eastbourne Pier

Charles Paris is painfully aware he's not a successful actor. Or husband. Or much of anything else, except sleuth. In his latest novel in this long-running series, Simon Brett puts Charles through his paces with a collection of murders during the Christmas pantomime season in The Cinderella Killer. Kenny Polizzi is a big-name actor from the […]

Read More