Oh No, It’s Arno Schmidt

Did you know that Germany had its own James Joyce? He was a lunatic of a writer who <royally> manipulated punctuation and lived in  a wor[l]d of punnified prolexecution. In honor of all things confusing, welcome to the works of Arno Schmidt. It's hard to tell where to start with this guy, but give Nobodaddy's Children a shot. […]

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Heart-Warming Tales of Asperger’s

Those with Asperger's Syndrome have unique challenges and gifts, but it's only recently that the greater world has been paying attention. For those curious about what it's like to relate to someone with Asperger's, there are plenty of nonfiction titles; but some of them can get a little dry, so one can also get a good idea […]

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Where Are Your Gods Now?

Nothing makes for drama like tales of old, mad gods. We can reread our mythology books as much as we want, but then again, it's much more fun to think up what these gods would do if they were around today. Bacchus is a graphic novel collection by Eddie Campbell, who worked on From Hell with Alan Moore. […]

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If It Weren’t for Shakespeare…Ten Book Titles That Quote Shakespeare

Cover of The Lunatic, the Lover, and the Poet by Myrlin A. Hermes. Portrait of Hamlet seen as a young renaissance artist/poet.

William Shakespeare had that certain type of genius. He could basically steal from disparate sources and make something brand new. He is said to have lifted from Holinshed's Chronicles of England, Scotland, and Ireland, The Danish History of Saxo Gramaticus' Gesta Danorum, Seneca, Plutarch, Giovanni Boccacio, Arthur Brooke (or Broke,) Thomas Kyd, and local folktales. But, it's as if he invented the […]

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That’s Not My Western

America loves a simple western. Maybe we'll cheer for a hero, or maybe we'll be gutsy revisionists and cheer for an antihero. Whatever the case, we get to have a grand old time watching strangers shoot each other. There are books out there, however, which take the American West and make it the mystery that called […]

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Get Ready for Winter

The winter solstice, or official start of the season, is December 21. Here are some resources for all ages to help make your winter great! For younger children, Denise Fleming's The First Day of Winter is a cute variation on "The 12 Days of Christmas," counting up common items you might experience on the first […]

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Tweeeeeeee!

Do you enjoy ukulele music, the films of Wes Anderson or stick figure drawings? Have you ever made your own terrarium or scoured garage sales for knickknacks which look like they were owned by your great-grandmother? Then congratulations, you belong to the world of twee. But before you feel too proud of yourself, you're not the only […]

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Civility Will Prevail: Matthew Quick’s Novels for Adults

Matthew Quick is best known for The Silver Linings Playbook, his first novel and one that has been turned into a movie, Silver Linings Playbook.  In these works, Pat Peoples is recently released from a mental institution where he was committed after an explosive argument with his estranged wife. He still loves her, she's moved on.  Peoples starts compulsively working out and […]

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Artists as Heroes in Fiction

Kavalier and Clay, the main characters in this year’s One Book, One Chicago selection, create larger-than-life comic book heroes like the Escapist. But in many of my favorite novels, creators themselves are the heroes, especially young artists struggling to find their way. Willa Cather once characterized them as the “hungry boys and girls who tramp […]

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Read Tomorrow’s African American Classics Today

Long before African American History Month was widely celebrated, my third-grade teacher brought African American history to life and into the classroom. I still remember him standing us in a circle and teaching us “Lift Every Voice and Sing," the Black National Anthem. (Thank you, Mr. Ruff!) I still celebrate African American History Month—these days […]

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