10-9: Bicycle Messenger Appreciation Day

bike messenger

In 2007, Chicago declared the ninth day of October Bicycle Messenger Appreciation Day. Arguably, no other job has been as glorified, vilified or mystified as that of the bike messenger. Despite carrier pigeons, telephones, fax machines, email and 3D printers, (not to mention ill-tempered motorists or extreme weather), the bike messenger continues to deliver. Further, […]

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Harvey Pekar at 75

Bronze Harvey Pekar memorial

"Ordinary life is pretty complex stuff." So said American Splendor author Harvey Pekar, who would have turned 75 on October 8.  Known nearly as well for his curmudgeonly attitude and his love of jazz as his writing, the Cleveland native endeared himself to critics and comic aficionados alike with his work likened to that of Chekov. […]

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Love Bites: Vampire Romances

fake red flowers and fake blood

Maintaining a relationship with a vampire has all sorts of complications: Where to live? Must be able to fit a casket, so scratch the studio apartment. What types of social occasions? Movies, yes; church weddings, no; having friends for dinner...maybe. How to introduce him/her to your family? And then there's the whole drinking blood thing. […]

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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 […]

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Funny in Translation: From Farsi to French


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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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. […]

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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 […]

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