How to Pretend to Be Real

Pretend That You're Real

Did you ever want to pretend you existed in a different time and place? Honestly, I haven't, which is why I'm interested in reading about people who are. There are a great many people out there who love putting on costumes and living anywhere else but here and now. All Shall Be Well; and All […]

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Building a Mystery


How did Jesus, an itinerant preacher with a few followers in a Roman backwater, become God? As Bart Ehrman in How Jesus Became God posits, there are two answers to this question. One is the spiritual, and the other is the history of the spiritual. Ehrman, a former Christian fundamentalist, is very upfront about his agnosticism but makes […]

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Susan Goldman Rubin Q&A

Freedom School Class
Source: Wisconsin Historical Society

Find out more about award winning biographer, Susan Goldman Rubin, July's Author of the Month. She remembers her childhood love of books and reading, how she got her start and the inspiration behind her new book Freedom Summer: The 1964 Struggle for Civil Rights in Mississippi. Where did you get the idea for this book? […]

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Author of the Month Susan Goldman Rubin

Photo of Susan Goldman Rubin

On July 2, 1964, President Johnson signed of the Civil Rights act, making segregation, the practice of having separate facilities, such as bathrooms or drinking fountains, for African Americans, illegal. During that same summer, white college students from across the United States traveled to Mississippi to register African American voters and set up schools to […]

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Vengeance Is Mine!


Revenge is old, tricky business. It piles up until you forget what you're fighting for, and plenty of authors have used revenge as the driving force of their stories. Nearly anywhere in the library, you can find books exploring the depths of vengeance. Ancient Greek theater has a knack for portraying the complexities of revenge. Euripides' Orestes exists […]

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Travel Back in Time to London, England

  London is my absolute favorite world city.   No matter how many times I visit, I feel like I've not even scratched the surface of discovering all the city's secrets.    But, plane tickets are expensive, so I can't go as often as I'd like.    When I can't be there in person, I […]

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Dive into the Titanic


On the morning of April 15, 1912, five days into her maiden voyage, newspapers around the world announced that the ship everyone believed was unsinkable, the RMS Titanic, had hit an iceberg and sunk.  Even though over 1,500 people drowned in the icy waters off the coast of Newfoundland, as the years passed, memory of […]

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Fun with First Drafts

First Draft

Whenever I get tired of clean, polished versions of history, I entertain myself with first drafts, memoirs and primary sources. There's nothing quite like the messiness of discarded ideas, unreliable accounts and dry court papers to get me thinking about the way the world works. The Portable Malcolm X Reader is a fascinating collection of historical documents. […]

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The Real Ireland

Book of Kells

The St. Patrick's Day parade coming up serves as a reminder of the lovely trip I took to the Emerald Isle two years ago. I'd rather spend the day learning about the history of the event than going on a pub crawl in a sea of green, but that's just me. One of my favorite […]

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American Presidents on DVD

Lincoln Memorial
Source: MarkusR, Flickr

In February, we celebrate President's Day as a national holiday. Much has been written and recorded about our chief executives, especially on film. Throughout American history, our presidents were in the forefront of issues facing our nation.  Founding Fathers (2000 TV-Mini-Series), with a cast including Brian Dennehy as George Washington, James Woods as John Adams, […]

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