John Reed: Radical Socialist

Reading about radical socialists is fun. I'm a fan of the early 20th century ones, the ones who fell for Russia when they thought it was all a grand rebellion and not just another violent coup. American journalist John Reed was enough of a supporter of Bolshevism he was buried at the Kremlin Wall. People who […]

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The Amish, Plain and Simple

As we move into Fall, our attention often turns to farms and their bounty. In Northwest Indiana and other rural communities, this can mean Amish farms. Of course, not all the Amish are farmers, and their numbers have grown exponentially in the past century, making them more visible. While there are plenty of novels featuring […]

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I'm not sure why, but a few weeks back, I got the Canadian national anthem stuck in my head, and it got me thinking. I never thought about it before, but Canada's a country. It's not just a punchline to a joke about friendly neighbors or a place where some celebrities come from. It's got […]

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That’s Swell, Orwell

Whenever people don't like the powers-that-be, which seems to be always, they start reading 1984 again, or maybe Animal Farm for fun, but for my money, George Orwell's best work is his nonfiction, where he offers cutting, observant remarks on authors, politics, his personal life and whatever strikes his fancy. My personal favorite is Homage to […]

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Let’s Go Crazy

Have you ever wanted to turn your back on everything and take off in such absurd directions that your actions become dangerous and offensive? No? Really? I guess I'm sorry, then. Everyone keeps telling me to stop talking like that, but there are just so many ways to ruin your life in fiction and reality, I'm amazed more […]

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John Lennon told us to give peace a chance. He was shot. Martin Luther King, Jr. promoted nonviolent protest. He was shot, too. So was Gandhi, and I'd rather not get into what they did to Jesus. What I'm saying is that peace is hard. If, like I did, you try to find books about […]

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Time Has Come Today

In a world of work schedules, TV schedules, phone reminders, personalized alarms and all the clocks harassing you every time you look at a wall, it's easy to forget how accustomed we are to time. We barely know what it is, but it means so much. Every now and then, it's nice to take the time to […]

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Share the Drama with Your Mama: Junior Adaptations of Adult Bestsellers

Have you ever been curious about what's on the other side of the library? The adult side? You don't have to wonder any longer. Now you can feed your curiosity with these junior adaptations of adult bestsellers. I have a feeling you've already heard of the first book on our list. Hidden Figures is the true story of […]

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Fun Feminist Essays: What to Read if You Like Amy Schumer and Lena Dunham

You've read Not That Kind of Girl by Lena Dunham and The Girl With the Lower Back Tattoo by Amy Schumer, so what next if you like your nonfiction feminist and funny? I have a few recent items that just might fit the bill. Most recent is Moranifesto by Caitlin Moran. In these essays, some from her newspaper […]

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