Sort Stuff Out in 2014

I'm determined to organize all areas of my life in the new year. But if Unclutter your Life in One Week sounds too intimidating, perhaps the One Year to An Organized Life series will prove more realistic. Author Regina Leeds offers books to clean up finances, work life and most relevant to me, life with a baby. Since […]

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Olympic-Sized Moments

Ice skaters legs and feet, and their shadows

It's almost time to ponder the mysteries of curling and the difference between a triple toe loop and a triple salchow. The Winter Olympics in Sochi begin February 7, and I will be glued to my flatscreen to catch every possible moment of hockey, figure skating, luge and bobsled. Of the memorable moments in recent Winter Olympics history, […]

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Sympathy for the Devils: The Dangerous Rolling Stones

The Rolling Stones have been called the “World’s Greatest Rock and Roll Band” for nearly 50 years and are considered a musical institution. Two fascinating works worth checking out chronicle their wild years as young men trying to conquer the world. The Book As Stanley Booth notes on page 160 of The True Adventures of the […]

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Technology that Changed Chicago: Milk Cows

Inspector standing with several milk cans. Caption reads "inspection of milk"

  Previous: Cattle Milk cows continued to be kept in Chicago throughout the 19th century.  Most famously, Mrs. O’Leary had a barn with several cows behind her house just west of the river. Her barn was the origin of the Great Fire of 1871. By 1900, space to keep a cow was very limited in […]

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Winter Survival: Who Will Make It Out Alive?

Survive book cover

Did you see Jimmy Kimmel's video making fun of weathercasters' reactions to the "cold" weather California is experiencing right now? 60 degrees is not cold! That temperature sounds pretty appealing at this point. For some stories of cold weather, arctic chill and survival, check out these titles. In Survive, Jane plans to commit suicide while flying home from a treatment program. […]

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Moth Among Flames

Full of period detail you won't find many other places than nonfiction, Ami McKay's The Virgin Cure is a story of a girl growing into her own. Moth was named by a tree, but that's about where the magic in her life stops. Living in the slums of Gilded Age New York, it seems inevitable that she will […]

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Bing-le Bells

After seeing White Christmas at the Music Box's annual Christmas show this weekend with my family, I remembered how much Bing Crosby's holiday songs warm my heart this time of year. Of course the title song is great, but my favorite Bing Crosby song is his version of "Jingle Bells" performed with the Andrews Sisters. I challenge anyone to stay […]

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Technology that Changed Chicago: Cattle

Wagon pulled by oxen

From DuSable’s dairy to the Chicago Bulls, cows have long been associated with Chicago.  Humans use cattle for three main purposes: oxen for drawing loads, for milk, and for meat and hides. Oxen are slow and require a lot of grass and hay.  They were soon replaced in the Chicago transportation business by faster and […]

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Crime Run Amok in Bankok

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 Bangkok 8 by John Burdett In John Burdett’s Sonchai Jitpleecheep mysteries, the aforementioned Sonchai is a: a).  hard boiled police detective b).  son of a former prostitute c).  married to a former prostitute d).  a Buddhist monk in training e).  all of the above Bangkok 8 by John Burdett is the first in a series of […]

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Stay Classy: Graphic Novels Tackle Classic Literature

notepad with pen and wire-framed glasses

When it comes to the classics, I'll always give a long, old tome a chance. Sometimes, though, I'm lazy and don't want to bother with actually reading a brick wall of text. Graphic novels to the rescue! Now I can have all the snootiness of fancy books without nearly as much hassle. As a bonus, the adaptations […]

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