| Dec 24, 2013
| 2:10 PM
I'm so grateful for everyone reading all year 'round that I wish I could show up at every single reader's doorstep this morning at 5 with a cup of hot chocolate, your daily paper and a big hug.
Unfortunately, that's not possible....
| Sep 12, 2013
| 5:14 PM
Leaves already are changing color north of Chicago, so it's time to plan your fall leaf-hunting getaway. We've come up with some of the most scenic autumn areas within roughly 180 miles of Chicago, so it can be a day trip, or you can make a weekend of it....
| Aug 25, 2013
Electric street lights arrived in Genoa, Nev., the state's oldest permanent settlement, around 1920, thanks to local women who organized a fundraising "candy dance." This summer the town's historic main drag is once again illuminated by replicas of the...
| Oct 18, 2013
| 10:50 AM
Scientists have long thought that bullfrogs generally can’t jump more than a meter. Turns out they were wrong -- which they learned only after leaving the lab and heading to California to witness a county fair contest inspired by one of Mark Twain&...
| Jan 17, 2014
Diane Johnson's sometimes delightful new memoir, "Flyover Lives," gets off to a start as rocky as an Illinois farm field uncleared of glacial debris.
First, the title: Though people who live on the East or West Coasts of the United States might refer to...
| Dec 20, 2013
| 10:47 AM
Wrapping paper is superfluous when it comes to books. Traditional books — physical books you can hold in your hands — are ideal packages already. The gift lies between covers: the meaning and feeling conveyed both by the book itself and by the...
| Jan 24, 2014
As the impact of the Internet and digital technology continues to treat publishing like an Etch-a-Sketch, seemingly redrawing its rules and parameters every other week, it's hard to know who is "winning" and who is "losing."
According to Colin Robinson,...
| Jan 17, 2014
Shortly after the 1975 release of E.L. Doctorow's novel "Ragtime," the novelist drew not only praise but fierce condemnation for inflecting historical figures and facts with the spin of fiction. As his critics then saw it, his genre-blurring book...
| Feb 21, 2014
After eight years of serving as writer and co-executive producer of NBC's "The Office," B.J. Novak — who also played Ryan Howard on the show alongside Steve Carell and John Krasinski — is flexing his creative muscles. In addition to acting...
| Sep 27, 2013
| 12:30 PM
It occurred to me after I wrote about holiday outfits for women a couple weeks ago that men don't have it so easy this season either.
Now, most of the time I think you boys make a big fuss about nothing. Your trends last for 10 years, where ours are...
| Oct 31, 2013
| 5:56 PM
DUBUQUE, Iowa — Mark Twain knew what he was talking about in a Tribune interview 127 years ago, discussing the virtues of the upper Mississippi River. The big river around Hannibal, Mo., where he grew up, is less interesting, less scenic, he said,...