Mysteries of China

Forbidden City 1

The well-traveled Elsa Hart has written her first novel, a mystery: Jade Dragon Mountain. Set just before the solar eclipse of 1708, exiled librarian Li Du must solve a murder in three days. The Emperor of China is to come to a restive backwater to command the eclipse. Of course, he knows when it will happen, […]

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Polish American Ingenuity and Invention

Kevlar Kayaks in several colors

The theme of Polish American Heritage Month is Enterprise, and what better way to celebrate than with a look at some Polish inventors? For example, did you know that Barbie was invented by a Polish-American inventor? Although Barbie has gone through many changes, she is still a fixture in toy stores and homes around the world. […]

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Hair: The Obsession, The Romance, The Drama!

Hair 2

Forget thighs and breasts, the body part that women universally obsess about is hair.  Elizabeth Benedict, author of both fiction and nonfiction, has edited a new collection of essays entitled Me, My Hair, and I. These female authors talk about their hair: African American hair, Jewish hair, Latina hair, Sri Lancan hair, and hair from […]

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Revisiting Wonderland

Source: Wikimedia Commons, public domain

Lewis Carroll's Alice made a lasting impression on me. As a child, I was first fascinated by the Disney movie and later mesmerized by Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass and What Alice Found There. The books were full of whimsy, nonsense, fantastical creatures, and an inquisitive and precocious girl protagonist, which were […]

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Things to Keep You from Sleeping

Things to Keep You From Sleeping

I need to stop reading. Like a morbid goth, I gravitate to books about all the things that can hurt me, and once I've frightened myself enough, I can't sleep, I close the shades, and then I refuse to go outside. Then I have nothing to do but read more books to terrify me. I try to […]

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Need Inspiration? Think About President Jimmy Carter

Jimmy Carter with American flag in the background

President Jimmy Carter doesn't seem to believe in retirement. Despite the fact that he celebrated his 91st birthday earlier this month and is currently fighting cancer, he's spending his time doing impactful work with The Carter Center, addressing major causes of human suffering with The Elders and teaching Sunday School at his church in Plains, Georgia. He's America's […]

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Caught Reading: Purple Line, October 2015

Source: Darek214, Flickr

Today I caught riders reading on the Purple Line, and boy, do they know how to pick a book! Here are some of the titles keeping them occupied. In After You, the sequel to Me Before You, Jo Jo Moyes continues Louisa Clark's story. The story picks up after the transformative six months Louisa spent with Will Trainer. Will Louisa find direction in her life and […]

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Great American Playwright Arthur Miller on the 100th Anniversary of His Birth

Source: U.S. State Department, Wikipedia

On the 50th anniversary of Death of A Salesman's Broadway premier, Arthur Miller fans packed a Manhattan bookstore for a rare appearance by the Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright. A teenage girl a few feet from me surveyed the fire-hazard of a crowd and said with awe: It’s like he’s Madonna or something. Although famous for his appearance before the […]

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Cheerful Ladies: Women Sleuths of the 1920s

Flapper 5

There are plenty of mysteries set in the 1920s and solved by women, of which Agatha Christie's Miss Marple is perhaps the most famous, but I've decided to focus on the humorous ones to celebrate a new addition to the field. Come Hell or Highball is the first of what promises to be a new series by Maia […]

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From Coast to Coast: Chicago Authors Stuart Dybek and Thomas Dyja

Thomas Dyja and Stuart Dybek

Stuart Dybek and Thomas Dyja are both award-winning Chicago-born authors. Works by both men have been chosen for the great honor of being a One Book, One Chicago title: We read Dybek's The Coast of Chicago in 2004 and we are currently reading Dyja's The Third Coast.  We’re grateful for their participation in this year’s Carl Sandburg Literary […]

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