| Jul 1, 2011
| 8:36 AM
Let the fireworks begin.
When talk turns to naming the Great American Novel — the upper-case designation is required by custom, if not by law — tempers tend to flare. Each time I approach the subject in a column, and display the shameless...
| Sep 23, 2011
| 11:53 AM
Our book club began in 1988. We meet monthly for dinner and discussion. We alternate meetings between Chicago and Oak Park.
The name of our club has changed a couple of times. Now we've settled on The Bonza! Bookclub (from "A Town Like Alice" by Nevil...
| Sep 23, 2011
| 2:22 PM
Our book club was founded by women from Lincoln Park Presbyterian Church more than 20 years ago. Today, about half of our 20 participants are from outside the congregation.
We make a point to host Chicago authors when we can. We enjoyed talking with Jian...
| Nov 11, 2011
| 1:34 PM
Do we need any more evidence than the last 20 years' worth of best-seller lists of the huge human longing — specifically, the huge American human longing — for entertaining and sustained fictional narrative? In other words, for popular novels?...
| Dec 15, 2011
| 3:15 PM
December is that special time when several holidays are shared. Use these titles to help your children learn, understand and appreciate the holidays of others.
"Bear's First Christmas," by Robert Kinerk (Ages birth to 5)
Under the stars, the bear...
| Feb 19, 2012
The shuttering of the Union Stock Yard and Transit Co. on July 30, 1971, didn't mark the end of Chicago's role as "hog butcher for the world." That came a year earlier, when "hog alley" closed, a victim of the stockyards' long descent from years of...
| Sep 8, 2009
Richard Poirier, a literary critic and writer who was one of the founders of the Library of America, a monumental effort to keep American literary classics in print and accessible to the reading public, died Aug. 15 at Roosevelt Hospital in New York. He...
| Sep 17, 2009
| 8:53 AM
Lately people have been asking me with excitement what apps I've got on my iPhone, and I shrug and change the subject. It's a phone, it plays music, it gives me directions, it lets me e-mail from as many accounts......
| Nov 3, 2009
| 4:33 PM
In "Read Me," Dwight Garner compiles a century of print ads for books, funny and formal, subtle and sensational. Garner is a longtime book critic at the New York Times, where he also has blogged at Paper Cuts. For his......
| Jan 25, 2009
Mary Austin and
the American West
Susan Goodman and Carl Dawson
University of California Press:
324 pp., $29.95
Few writers of her period overcame more obstacles than Mary Austin. Stuck in a disappointing marriage, Austin (1868-1934) spent the...
| Feb 1, 2009
The Ballad of Blind Tom,
America's Lost Musical Genius
Overlook: 272 pp., $24.95
The name Blind Tom means nothing today, but in Civil War-era America, he was one of the greatest music stars going. Sightless, African...
| Feb 15, 2009
A Jury of Her Peers
American Women Writers
From Anne Bradstreet to Annie Proulx
Alfred A. Knopf: 608 pp., $30
The title of this, the "first literary history of American women writers ever written," explains Elaine Showalter, comes...