| Feb 28, 2014
I first encountered one of Mavis Gallant's short stories, "The Concert Party," in the 1989 edition of "The Best American Short Stories," that year's anthology edited by Margaret Atwood. At the time, I was a college freshman majoring in French. By the...
| Oct 15, 2013
| 3:04 PM
Eleanor Catton took the 2013 Man Booker Prize for "The Luminaries" at an awards ceremony in London on Tuesday night. At age 28, Catton is the youngest novelist ever to win the prestigious prize -- and her novel, at more than 800 pages, is the longest...
| Nov 27, 2013
| 10:43 AM
Printers Row Journal picks its top 10 books from 2013, plus 50 worth an honorable mention. This list was compiled by the editors of Printers Row from previous reviews.
This piece first ran in Printers Row Journal, delivered to...
| Nov 22, 2013
When it comes to recommending books, I'm often hesitant to reach for collections of short stories because when I talk to readers — even very dedicated and passionate readers — they often tell me that they'll read just about anything, "except...
| Nov 14, 2013
| 12:20 PM
It's not clear to me why anyone tries predicting anything, because no one is any good at it.
There is a tie at the top of the horrible prognosticators list between sports reporters and political pundits. Often, the greater the apparent expertise, the...
| Feb 28, 2014
If you are of a certain age and grew up in Chicago, there are three indelible figures of the local commercial pantheon: the Empire Carpet man, Earl Scheib and Evelyn Wood.
I remember Empire Carpet's phone number ("5-8-8-2-300-Empirrrre!"), but not the...
| Sep 29, 2013
The lowland at the heart of Jhumpa Lahiri’s new novel is a few acres of land behind two oblong ponds in a Calcutta neighborhood. After the monsoon, rain would fill the lowland “three or four feet deep.”
| Oct 16, 2013
| 5:21 AM
The 2013 National Book Award finalists were announced on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" Wednesday, and for the first time, the National Book Foundation has offered a free e-book series with samples of all the finalists' work available for download.
| Nov 10, 2013
These are my Top 5 Most Difficult Jobs: 5. Middle-school teacher; 4. Rahm Emanuel's relaxation consultant; 3. President of the United States; 2. Donald Trump's barber; 1. Comedian.
This piece first ran in Printers Row Journal,...
| Nov 3, 2013
Confession time, fellow readers, fellow bibliophiles, fellow bookaholics. Over the last month or so I've been reading my favorite book-centric publication (you're reading it) and holding back a rising tide of panic.
| Sep 29, 2013
When I was 11 years old, I met my first novelist.
Growing up with a mother who owns a bookstore (as I did) comes with some perks, one of which is that when she asks the author of one of her son's favorite books to visit his sixth-grade class, the author...
| Feb 18, 2014
| 9:29 AM
Writer Mavis Gallant has died at age 91, her Canadian publisher announced Tuesday. She was primarily known for writing short fiction -- almost all of her 100-plus stories appeared in the New Yorker -- but she also penned two novels and a collection of...