Fallen Idols

Fallen Idols

Athletes make for the best tragedies. There's something about an overpowered beast wrecking himself for your petty entertainment that brings out the epic glory of success and failure. The sheer potential of it has produced a host of biographies about big, strong people and their weaknesses. Mickey Mantle may have had more natural talent than anyone […]

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Super-Real: Real-Life Heroes for Kids

I Am Malala book cover

This year's One Book, One Chicago selection asks us to look at the creation of the American superhero. But what really defines a hero? Is it someone who has a magical power? These real-life role models for kids made do with courage and ingenuity. Malala Yousafazi does not have super strength or X-ray vision, but what she does […]

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I Don’t Like Nazis

I Don't Like Nazis

I'm going to go out on a limb here, and I'm sure I'm going to offend somebody, but sometimes a man just needs to take chances. I have to say it. I don't like Nazis. They rub me the wrong way, and for some reason, they have a bad habit of turning up everywhere. Swastika […]

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Studs Terkel: A Chicago Hero

Source: Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons

"Why are we born? We’re born eventually to die, of course. But what happens between the time we’re born and we die? We’re born to live." —Studs Terkel, 2003 I didn't know much about Chicago's history before I moved here in 1996. Someone told me I should read Division Street and I'd know everything. While that […]

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Teen Winners of 2015 Youth Media Awards

I'll Give you the sun book cover

Every year at ALA's Midwinter Conference, youth librarians across the country look forward to the announcement of the ALA Youth Media Awards, and today was no different. So without further ado, here are the winners and finalists for literature for teens. Michael L. Printz Award I'll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson won the Michael […]

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Travel Like You Mean It

Travel Like You Mean It

Lots of people travel just to find out who they are. Maybe they're going through a divorce or struggling with addiction, or maybe they have a suicidal love of nature, but they're all finding themselves on the road. I don't like it. I already know who I am and I'm boring. I prefer travel books about people trying […]

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More Than Meets the Eye

More Than Meets the Eye

If I've learned anything, it's that I should never ask questions. Whenever I ask a question, I run the risk of learning things I never wanted to learn. What looks like nothing at first might actually mean something, and even when I think I know what I'm talking about, I'm likely to be wrong. I have the misfortune of being educated […]

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Great Minds Think Alike

Great Minds Think Alike

Great minds have never thought alike. They have a bad habit of thinking for themselves, and when you put two really smart people in the same room, sparks are bound to fly. It's fun finding out what happens when geniuses collide. Alfred Hitchcock rarely opened up to journalists or fans, but he did open up to famed French New […]

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People Who Can Easily Beat Me Up

People Who Could Easily Beat Me Up

I like to think I'm a lover and not a fighter, but that probably means I'm a coward. If you're foolish enough to put me in a stressful situation, or even to suggest I might have to exert myself, I'm liable to collapse like a damp rag. So every now and then, I like to read books […]

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Captains of Commerce

Captains of Commerce

I can say with a great deal of confidence that all successful businessmen are greedy and corrupt, but this just means I'm jealous. I want nothing more than to be wealthy, greedy and irretrievably immoral, but unfortunately, I have neither the intelligence nor the discipline to be so flagrantly determined. At least I can read books about […]

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