| Sep 23, 2012
"A poet," Louis Simpson once wrote, "should wish for enough unhappiness to keep him writing."
Simpson may not have wished for trouble, but he kept writing for 60 years — spare, powerful poems about war, infidelity, suburban alienation and other...
| Sep 26, 2012
| 7:24 AM
If you were building a Chris Ware, if you were constructing the most celebrated cartoonist of the past couple of decades, drawing up the plans for an Oak Park illustrator so routinely referred to as a genius that the accolade is more like fact than...
| Oct 12, 2012
| 9:27 AM
The prospect of interviewing Don DeLillo produces a certain anxiety. DeLillo, one of the most heralded American novelists of the past 40 years, has a reputation for being inaccessible, emotionally and otherwise. While by no means a recluse like J.D....
| Jun 22, 2012
| 4:26 PM
Sometimes Dave Eggers' accomplishments off the page can eclipse his literary talent. He has launched an energetic network of tutoring centers for young readers and writers —including Chicago's 826CHI — and established an innovative, socially...
| 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...