Artists as Heroes in Fiction

Source: budzywudzy, Flickr

Kavalier and Clay, the main characters in this year’s One Book, One Chicago selection, create larger-than-life comic book heroes like the Escapist. But in many of my favorite novels, creators themselves are the heroes, especially young artists struggling to find their way. Willa Cather once characterized them as the “hungry boys and girls who tramp […]

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Read Tomorrow’s African American Classics Today

Author Percival Everett Source: elenatore, Flickr

Long before African American History Month was widely celebrated, my third-grade teacher brought African American history to life and into the classroom. I still remember him standing us in a circle and teaching us “Lift Every Voice and Sing," the Black National Anthem. (Thank you, Mr. Ruff!) I still celebrate African American History Month—these days […]

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Discover Great Stories with These Annual Anthologies

I might never have discovered two of my favorite short story writers, Amy Bloom and Tim Gautreaux, if not for The Best American Short Stories anthology. The Best American Short Stories series (BASS) was hip to Bloom and Gautreaux long before The New Yorker, anthologizing stories by both before either published a book. BASS is […]

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Moran More

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Caitlin Moran made a splash two years ago with her book of essays, How to Be A Woman. While better known in England than here in the States, her body of work so far will hopefully rectify that. How to Be a Woman goes roughly in chronological order, from Moran's burgeoning adolescence in Wolverhampton to contemplating her mortality […]

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Walter Mosley, Philosopher

Walter Mosley 2

While Walter Mosley is best known for his Easy Rawlins mystery series, he has written some excellent stand-alone fiction as well. I just finished The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey on audio and loved it. Ptolemy Grey is 91, and slipping into dementia in his cluttered apartment. Robyn, not exactly a relative, but not exactly not, cares for Ptolemy […]

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A City of Neighborhoods: Fiction Set in Chicago

In his book, Chicago: A Biography, Dominic Pacyga writes: “There seems to be a different Chicago around every street corner, behind every bar, and within every apartment, two-flat, cottage, or bungalow.” Those contrasting views of the city, especially Chicago’s many neighborhoods and its residents, have been well-represented by writers. Readers have had the opportunity to […]

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May is Get Caught Reading Month!

Get Caught Reading

The month of May has been known to cause a little bit of spring fever. People get caught skipping work or class, making excuses to get out of commitments, driving a little too fast with windows down and "Happy" by Pharrell blasting on the radio (wait, is that just me?). May also happens to be […]

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Hegewisch Branch Book Club Investigates Scandinavian Crime Fiction

After the success of Stieg Larsson's trilogy, interest in Scandinavian crime fiction has skyrocketed.  In fact, the Hegewisch Branch book club will discuss The Snowman by Jo Nesbo at its November meeting. This international bestseller focuses on Harry Hole, a Norwegian detective who is dealing with a serial killer who calls himself The Snowman.  Nesbo has written […]

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