Two Books to Get You through Valentine’s Day

Leaf with a heart-shaped hole in it

Don't worry. I'm not going to suggest a Sex-and-the-City type novel or a 18th century romance for my top picks for February. Instead I thought I would take a realistic approach to the month of love. The lead character in Hilma Wolitzer's An Available Man isn't a 30-something single woman or a man who just can't […]

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What’s a B-Movie, Anyway?

Every year, nerds descend on Northwestern University in Chicago to watch B-movies for 24 hours. Like subjects of the show Mystery Science Theater 3000, they cope with watching terrible movies by wisecracking about on-screen events. But why are so many people willing to lose sleep and smell so bad? And what exactly *is* a B-movie, anyway? Ed Wood: A lot […]

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Love Songs for the Doomed

glowing outline of a heart

When I was in high school, this boy I knew made an amazing mix tape full of goth-y, brooding love songs for his then-girlfriend. I think she dumped him. I may have swooned and then asked for a copy of the mix tape for myself. He never did ask me out (HIS LOSS), but I […]

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Detroit to Birmingham by Way of 1963

Cornerstone of Sixteenth St. Baptist Church, erected 1909

When I came across the book The Watsons Go to Birmingham--1963 by Christopher Paul Curtis, the title struck me as odd. It was like something you would scribble on the back of a photograph or at the very least a rather complex title for a children’s book. However, this story of an African American family has stayed […]

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Most Popular Books of 2013

New Year's Day is well behind us now, and we've gathered statistics to compile our most popular books of 2013. The rankings reflect the most checkouts and hold requests during calendar year 2013, regardless of when the books were published. Chicago's own Gillian Flynn tops the adult fiction list with Gone Girl. The dark thriller about a […]

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GenreList: Reboot, Remake Review

This time on GenreList: Reboot or Remake? Every year, Hollywood seems to be revisiting old classics and revising them into new material, some inventing stories whole cloth. This week, I'm going over what you should expect when you pull a remake off the shelf.

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The End of the World As We Know It

There's no better way to spend a sleepless night than by contemplating the fall of civilization. I'm not the only person who thinks like this. There are swarms of people out there cataloging the decline of things, ranging from humanity to America to whatever catches your fancy. Here are a few of my favorites from recent years. The Great Degeneration is a […]

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1993 Bulls Win NBA Championship

The 1992-1993 Bulls regular season wasn't especially notable. Both Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen were fresh off their gold medal effort in the Summer Olympics in Barcelona. Both players were visibly tired, and the team got off to a slow start. But as the rule goes for all sports, it's not how you start but […]

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Cookbooks to Inspire You in the Kitchen

cheese breadsticks

Now that the holidays are over and we're in the long stretch of frigid and snowy winter doldrums, I'm spending considerable time in the kitchen trying out the new kitchen gadgets I got for Christmas and experimenting with different techniques, seasonal ingredients, and herbs, spices and aromatics. More often than not, I need a little inspiration before I […]

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Like Sand Through a Donut…

Maurice Katz is not a hero. He is not, not, not. At least, that's what he keeps telling himself throughout most of  When It's A Jar by Tom Holt. And yet he kills a dragon with a breadknife, is given an Excalibur-like letter opener, and has to rescue his one true love and a guy who […]

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