| Jul 8, 2012
Why Does the World Exist?
An Existential Detective Story
Liveright: 310 pp., $27.95
"How old is the Universe?" Kurt Vonnegut asked in his 1973 novel "Breakfast of Champions." "It is one half-second...
| Nov 16, 2012
| 8:11 PM
We meet every six to eight weeks. More than half of our meetings are at local bars; the rest are at the host member's house.
We are Chicago-based,
99 percent on the North Side.
We do not read Oprah books! We are very proud of how diverse we are in...
| Nov 24, 2012
| 12:03 PM
There's a certain type of reader — often also a writer, with a leaf-fring'd MFA — who has it all figured out. The realist novel is a scam, a factory producing cardboard imitations of bourgeois life. This is the person at the party who mentions...
| Dec 1, 2012
My first dog was a golden retriever named Tisha. Tisha was quiet and friendly, a perfect golden for a 4-year-old boy; my mother swears that when we took her to the vet one last time, as the dog lay dying on the operating table, Tisha lifted her head at...
| Dec 4, 2012
| 4:21 PM
England's most feared literary prize was announced Tuesday night -- "awarded" wouldn't be the right word, because the winning author was not in attendance. That was Nancy Huston, who took the 2012 Bad Sex in Fiction Award for her novel "Infrared."
| Dec 7, 2012
| 12:12 PM
Shortly before he died, John Updike paid tribute to that great painter of portraits, John Singer Sargent. “We're drawn to artists who tell us that art is difficult to do, and takes a spiritual effort, because we are still puritan enough to respect a...
| Dec 7, 2012
| 12:13 PM
Every journalist's nightmare is the interview with the subject who responds to questions with one-sentence (or even one-word) answers. Fortunately, the writer Nathan Englander — who was in Chicago recently as the inaugural Crown Speaker Series...
| Jan 4, 2013
| 4:35 PM
For George Saunders, the lines between utopia and dystopia, between realism and science fiction, between humor and horror, have always been fine. Never is it more true, though, than in his new collection of short stories, “Tenth of December.”...
| Jan 10, 2013
| 8:58 PM
Evan S. Connell Jr., a literary iconoclast whose writings as a novelist, poet, essayist and historian won the admiration of critics and a cult-like following of discerning readers with books on subjects as eclectic as Midwestern provincialism, the...
| Jan 11, 2013
| 3:28 PM
In this moving memoir, Katrina Kenison beckons readers into her world and proves to be an insightful guide and companion through the vicissitudes of life.
After the death of a friend, and when her youngest son leaves their rural New Hampshire home to...
| Jan 18, 2013
| 2:25 PM
I've been spending my holiday teaching break trying to finish a manuscript for a young adult coming-of-age novel I'm working on, which has me thinking a lot about coming-of-age novels, which has me wondering if all good novels aren't coming-of-age novels....