| Oct 24, 2014
It was 1975 and I was a college freshman when Patti Smith's first album, "Horses," arrived in a Milwaukee record store. I didn't know anything about her music, hadn't heard a note. But that album cover was enough to stop traffic. It intrigued, haunted...
| Oct 24, 2014
I can't find my stapler.
This is vexing, because I often have need of a stapler, and my stapler has been my stapler for a long time. If memory serves, I lifted it from my office in graduate school, which means it's been by my side for over 20 years....
| Oct 26, 2014
| 3:00 AM
For those of you inclined to send a message to Washington on Election Day, herewith a list of grievances that should get you plenty revved up:
Spending: A federal debt approaching $18 trillion. Interest on the debt cost taxpayers $221 billion last...
| Oct 22, 2014
| 5:31 AM
The word of the night at the Mark Twain House & Museum Tuesday was "wicked" and it had nothing to do with Halloween.
The evening was a VIP reception for "Wicked" book author Gregory Maguire and "Wicked" musical composer and lyricist Stephen Schwartz,...
| Oct 23, 2014
| 9:23 PM
At the risk of sounding like I'm "mansplaining": Female nonfiction writers are having a moment. How do I know this? The literary ether has whispered it for months: Lena Dunham ("Girls") recently Instagrammed a picture of Megan Stielstra's book of essays,...
| Oct 23, 2014
| 4:55 PM
Be afraid. Be very afraid.
This in essence is the message of "Citizenfour," Laura Poitras' highly anticipated documentary on Edward Snowden's decision to expose the National Security Agency's ravenous appetite for clandestinely collecting the personal...
| Oct 21, 2014
Emerson Spartz has read so many books — a book a day for much of his early adulthood — that authors have run out of new ideas for him.
Spartz dropped out of middle school at age 12 and developed his own course work, supplemented by his...
| Oct 17, 2014
| 9:57 AM
Nelson Algren used to write books in and about Chicago. Though his name and reputation have diminished over the last decades, he lingers in the shadows. The Tribune has presented yearly literary awards for short stories in his name since 1981, though some...
| Oct 16, 2014
| 6:30 PM
As I write this column, two health care workers in Dallas have come down with Ebola after treating Thomas Eric Duncan, who traveled from West Africa and died from the disease. By the time you read it, there will most likely be more cases.
| Oct 14, 2014
| 10:00 PM
To my surprise, before a May interview with William H. Macy about his big-screen directorial debut “Rudderless,” I was told the veteran actor and newbie filmmaker wouldn’t be able to talk much about the film’s plot. The movie,...
| Dec 11, 2014
| 10:46 AM
It's not Beyonce in front of blazing lights, but "Feminism Unfinished" (Liveright Publishing) should grab our attention.
The new book, subtitled "A Short, Surprising History of American Women's Movements," is co-authored by three academics —...