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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Traveling to Novel Places: India

Varanasi Woman

Teatime for the Firefly by Shona Patel is a book at once sweeping and intimate, covering the end of the British raj. Layla Roy has an unlucky horoscope and a grandfather who believes in educating women, and so she is sure she will never marry. However, Manik Deb, a British-educated neighbor, takes a romantic interest in […]

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The Literary Legacy of Waterloo

Painting of the duke of weelington at the battle of waterloo

Imagine you're standing in a wet, grassy field on a small hill. From this hill, you look over a large camp. There is smoke from the campfires, or is it from the artillery? Soldiers are mustering themselves under the blue, white and red banners. 26,000 of them will be dead by dusk. June 18 marks the […]

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Adventure! 4 Books About Books

Book and Reader

Matthew Pearl has a new book out: The Last Bookaneer. Ostensibly an adventure tale about the last novel of Robert Louis Stevenson and set mostly in the South Pacific of the late 19th century, it is also about books both as artifacts and conveyors of ideas. A bookaneer, by the way, is someone willing to do shady […]

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4 New Books Featuring Chicago

Cloud gate

I've discovered four new books that have either come out in May or will come out in May that feature Chicago prominently. One is nonfiction, but the others are flights of imagination. You do not want to miss any of them. Aleksandar Hemon has written his first comedic novel: The Making of Zombie Wars. Joshua seems […]

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Kate Hannigan Q & A

The Detectives Assistant book cover

Get to know April's Author of the Month, Kate Hannigan, as she talks about the inspiration behind her latest book, The Detective's Assistant, how she got her start in writing and her love of Chicago history.   Where did you get your idea for this book? I stumbled across a single sentence about Kate Warne while […]

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Author of the Month Kate Hannigan

Author Kate Hannigan

Meet the world's first female detective, Kate Warne, and her spunky niece, Nell, in Kate Hannigan's latest novel The Detective's Assistant. On the eve of the Civil War, the Pinkerton Detective Agency hired the first female detective, Kate Warne. A master of disguise, Kate went on to solve several mysteries and thwart an assassination attempt […]

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Vikings Spotted on Lake Michigan!

Source: One luck guy, Flickr

The northmen of legend have landed at the Field Museum with a wealth of history and ancient treasures for you to discover! In the new Vikings exhibit, you'll explore the relics, legends and legacy of Viking civilization. Here at CPL, you can continue your journey with these epic tales: Bernard Cornwell's The Last Kingdom is […]

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Can’t Get Enough Jane Austen?

Source: tiaragwin, flickr

I first encountered Jane Austen through the BBC miniseries Pride and Prejudice. After falling in love with Colin Firth as only a girl of 12 can, I quickly devoured as much Austen as I could get my hands on. Years later, I still grab Persuasion to read on vacation. I recommend the following titles for all Jane […]

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