Chicago Neon Signs and Preservation Month

Source: sfgamchick, Flickr

Neon signs—they put the bright lights in our big city. Garish and brassy, they beckon with color and light and martinis and stars. Subtle they are not. But still, I love them. Back in March, though, Preservation Chicago named neon signs one of the most endangered “architectural treasures” in Chicago. Since May is Preservation Month, it’s […]

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Sad, Sad, Sad, Sad Funny People

Sad Sad Sad Sad Funny People

If comedy has taught me anything, it's that trauma is hilarious. I have laughed much too often at the horrible things comedians do to themselves. When I read about their lives, they do their best to put a funny spin on awful things, and I just can't put the books down. Artie Lange made his name on […]

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What To Read After Missoula

Take Back The Night

Jon Krakauer is a master of writing about people in extreme situations, whether they go out into the wilderness in Into the Wild or follow Mormon fundamentalism in Under the Banner of Heaven, so it makes sense that he writes about sexual assault in a college town crazy for football. Missoula is home to the University of Montana Grizzlies, a […]

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Poor Memories

Famous People Lie

People, as a rule, are generally awful, and when people start worrying about their reputations, they instinctively stretch the truth to make their lives more appealing than they actually are. So it's fun to read books about famous people talking about themselves. When you worry what you'll look like in the light of day, reality starts to bend. […]

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70 Years Later: V-E Day

V-E Day

May 8 is the 70th anniversary of Victory in Europe Day, when the Germans surrendered to the Allies, ending World War II in Europe. Not many veterans are still around to celebrate, but it is still important. Here are some titles that help us remember. The Day the War Ended by Martin Gilbert follows the last […]

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How To Live Forever (Or Maybe Not)

Old People 1

Bill Gifford loves his dog. He'd like her to live a little longer. Gifford would like to live longer, too. This is the impetus for the lively Spring Chicken: Stay Young Forever (Or Die Trying). Going forward in history as well as efficacy, Gifford talks about all the ways humanity has tried to beat nature and the […]

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Can’t We Talk About Something More Graphic? Memoirs With Pictures

Wheelchair

Roz Chast's Can't We Talk About Something More Pleasant? is her memoir of caring for her ailing parents, who in general do not think death will occur if it isn't talked about. Chast, a cartoonist for the New Yorker, combines text with graphics to tell the story of her parents' decline and its effect on her, their anxious, […]

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Trapped

Trapped

It's easy to feel trapped by circumstance. Something goes wrong in your personal life, and suddenly you have nowhere to go and there's nothing you can do about it. But books about people who were actually trapped can teach you how lucky you are. In 2010, reporters all over the world were enraptured by the story of 33 Chilean […]

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Growing Up With Asperger’s and Autism

eyes shut 2

April is Autism and Asperger's Syndrome Awareness Month. There are plenty of books about what to do if a loved one is diagnosed on the Autism spectrum, but I am going to focus in this post about the personal experiences of those effected. John Elder Robison is the elder brother of Augusten Burroughs, of Running With […]

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Wannabe Librarians

Wannabe Librarians

It's a plain fact that everyone wants to be a librarian. The job brings such fantastic excitement and wealth, schoolchildren spend their waking hours dreaming of one day curating the glistening temples of knowledge known to the layman simply as Libraries. But not everyone has what it takes to be a librarian. We can only mourn […]

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